(File pix) The sleek design of the new sedan, with a Cd of just 0.25.

MERCEDES-BENZ’ diversified lineup of car models is impressive, to say the least.

Take for example, the A-Class sedan you see on these pages. Sharing the same bones as the A-Class hatchback, but elongated witha420-litre boot, the sedan, or limousine as Mercedes calls it, is well designed in line with the Sensual Purity philosophy. With a Cd of just 0.25, the slick bodywork has made the car even more aerodynamic than its hatchback sibling.

Now, the fact that these two model variants exist is already indicative of a diversified product range. But take into consideration this: Mercedes-Benz also has a new CLA model that shares the same underpinnings of the A-Class sedan. This CLA takes the cue from the flowing lines of the bigger CLS and packages it in a more compact form for a more youthful market.

We don’t have news on when this new CLS will be available for the Malaysian market, but we’ve had a taste of the new A-Class sedan.

With a list price starting from RM229,888 for the lower end A200 Progressive Line variant, it is the most affordable sedan in the Mercedes-Benz lineup. For those who want a little more, a more expensive and powerful variant can be found in the form of the A250 AMG Line which is available from RM267,888.

On the outside, the new A-Class sedan is equipped with a Progressive Line exterior with 18-inch 5-twin spoke light alloy wheels completing the ensemble. Standard on the A-Class sedan are LED high performance headlamps with Adaptive Highbeam Assist.

While the wheelbase is the same as the hatchback, the sedan has grown by an additional 130mm at the rear, which adds 50 litres to overall cargo space. At 4,549mm long and 1,796mm wide, the sedan has also undergone a six millimetre increase in height and is now 1,446mm tall.

Underneath the hood of the A200 Progressive Line is a 1.33 litre engine generating 163 hp and 250 Nm of torque while theA250 AMG Line is powered by a 2.0 litre engine with a more spirited 224hp and 350Nm of torque.

The 1.33-litre engine is an interesting mill that has found its way into the engine bay via a collaboration with Renault.

Equipped with cylinder deactivation on the second and third cylinders, the direct-injection, single turbo engine boasts exceptional fuel economy while delivering adequate power for the little sedan.

Transferring power to the wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, the century is achieved in a respectable 8.1 seconds, while top speed is a surprising 230kph, all the while delivering a combined fuel consumption of 5.4 litres per 100km.

The A250, with an updated M260 under the bonnet on the other hand, delivers 224hp and 350Nm of torque.

This car reaches 100kph in just 6.3 seconds, continuing to accelerate all the way to 250kph, although it sips a bit more fuel at 6.3 litres per 100km.


(File pix) The 1.33 litre engine generates 163hp and 250Nm of torque.

THE DRIVE

Step inside, and you will realise that the sedan is spacious. There is adequate headroom for a nearly-six-foot driver, rear headroom is adequate at 944mm, while the boot has a capacity of 420- litres and has an opening with a width of 950mm and a diagonal of 462mm between lock and lower edge of the rear window for easy loading and unloading.

Despite its low position on the Mercedes sedan hierarchy, the interior of the A-Class sedan is a pleasant place to be in. With twin 10.25-inch instrument and infotainment displays, it is equipped with the new Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) with touchscreen.

The twin screens define the interior of the A-Class, a pièce de résistance that occupies centrestage in the cockpit. The sideshow is the 64-colour ambient lighting system with 10 colour theme, which transforms the interior with a touch of luxury. The A- Class sedan comes with Artico leather and black open-pore linden wood trim. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also available in the car.

Behind the wheel, the A-Class is a sharp, responsive little sedan with enough power to entertain. Steering is precise and direct, and it is a treat to drive thanks to its agile handling.

Much has been said about the torsion beam which suspends the rear end on the A200, but driving it reveals few clues of any shortcoming. The A-Class has good body control and feels secure going through fast corners. It may not be the quietest sedan on coarse road surfaces though, and some degree of noise enters the cabin in such conditions.

On the safety front, the A-Class is equipped with Active Brake Assist and Pre Safe, the Mercedes-Benz safety suite that tightens the front seat belts and head restraints and even close windows and the sunroof in the event of an impending accident.

The A-Class, even in this iteration comes with a tyre pressure monitoring system and run flat tyres. Other standard features include reversing camera, active parking assist with Parktronic, cruise control and Keyless-Go.


(File pix) Inside the A-Class sedan.

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