Mercedes A 200 CDI in the test

Hans-Dieter Seufert
Mercedes A 200 CDI in the test
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A ls' pulse of a new generation ' the new Mercedes A-Class is advertised, however, those who switch from the previous model will get their pulse racing for other reasons. The easy entry and the good overview - so far at least the number one and two reasons to buy - are history with the New. The narrow, semicircular upward tapering door cut-out compels passengers in particular to make a deep bow until all limbs have been sorted into the dark rear cave.

The W 176 leaves the pulse of veteran Mercedes A-Class drivers in view of the flat rear viewing slit may only skyrocket when maneuvering. Since the Beetle successor through the Golf, there has probably not been such a serious paradigm shift in this country.

Finally with the BMW 1 Series and Audi Measure A3

The pan was also controversial within Mercedes. Many in the Mercedes A-Class team of up to 3,000 people spoke out in favor of continuing the functional concept. After five different body variants with identical wheelbases were assembled and extensively assessed, the dynamic camp finally prevailed. Above all, they wanted to finally compete with the right opponents, or as project manager Eva Greiner puts it: 'I was annoyed that many of my college friends drive a BMW 1 Series or Audi A3.' With the B-Class, the Swabians also have a car for pragmatists on offer, which consists of around 80 percent identical technology parts.

Due to the lack of a sandwich base, the new Mercedes A-Class is 16 centimeters flatter and its long snout is provocatively self-confident in the wind . With a volume of 341 liters, the luggage compartment still remains within the usual range for its class, but since the massive taillights do not swivel upwards with the tailgate, it has to be loaded via a narrow cutout.

Mercedes did everything to ensure it the intended target group likes it at the front. Since the seat height of 174 millimeters has been lowered even more than the roof, there are subtle SLK feelings that are supported in the test car by an AMG package including sports seats, red contrasting stitching and galvanized plastic parts. However, if the expensive AMG look is too testosterone-heavy, the new Mercedes A-Class is also available in Style or Urban, which by the way sounds much livelier than thatprevious variants Classic or Elegance with their Black Forest wood decor. The interior is even more impressive, of course, with all-round high-quality materials and a clear design that combines the controls for air conditioning or infotainment into separate units. Details such as the removable rubber inserts in the door pockets, thanks to which minor drink accidents can be easily washed away, show that the sense of the practical has not been completely lost.

Multimedia plug in the depths of the center armrest

Somewhat more fussy people complain about multimedia plugs that want to be fished out of the depths of the center armrest or about assistance systems that can only be accessed via steering wheel remote control can be configured. It is also astonishing that the controlling department was able to implement a banal clamping bar instead of a befitting bonnet lift. Otherwise, the standard equipment of the Mercedes A-Class with air conditioning, multifunction steering wheel, CD radio including USB port and a radar-based collision warning system is anything but poor.

The infotainment system built into the Mercedes A 200 CDI test car shows, however, that target group rejuvenation has not yet been fully completed. The Comand system can do some online functions, but only if a cell phone is coupled with the rare Bluetooth protocol DUN (Dial Up Network). After all, resourceful hobbyists programmed an Android app so that news or weather portals could be accessed using the Samsung Galaxy S3 test phone. However, Apple owners are still looking in the tube, because a “Drive-Kit Plus” for the iPhone will not be available until the beginning of 2013, which will conjure up its contents on the on-board monitor. If you shy away from ordering the Comand system, which costs around 3,200 euros, you should at least use the “Audio 20” monitor radio, which can optionally be retrofitted with a relatively inexpensive Becker navigation system.

Mercedes A 200 CDI bustles motivated and economical

From the information highway but now finally on to the road and engine. As a Mercedes A 200 CDI with 136 hp, the A-Class does not quite keep what the AMG look promises at the traffic light. But the new 1.8-liter variant of Daimler's diesel all-rounder OM 651 convinces after a short cold start with good manners and even power delivery just above idling. In addition, the four-cylinder scurries motivated to just under the 5,000 mark. And that without becoming a drinker. Thanks to the start-stop system, which gently switches the direct injection engine off and on again without jerking, test and minimum fuel consumption remain within limits at 6.0 and 4.1 L /100 km, respectively.

To the One of the highlights of the new Mercedes A-Class is undoubtedly the electromechanical steering, which avoids unnecessary agility posing, but the front-wheel drive car is seamless and there when necessaryrelaxed and easily controllable throws around the corner. When understeer sets in, a light swipe of the accelerator pedal is usually enough to get the Baby-Benz back on track with its four-link rear axle, which is largely made of aluminum. As much as veteran A-Class drivers have to get used to the new body - once you drive the Mercedes A 200 CDI, you can get rid of it after a few meters.

And what does the stopwatch say? In view of the heavy front-heavy weight distribution, the driving dynamics cluster should hang pretty high. In fact, the first prototypes are said to have weakened on this point. However, three million test kilometers and thousands of hours in the driving simulator brought the breakthrough: With 64.5 km /h in the slalom and 130.7 things in the ISO course, the Mercedes A 200 CDI waggles exactly at the level of the Bavarian handling professionals.

A-Class with suspension comfort of a BMW 1 Series - unfortunately

The Mercedes A 200 CDI shares that with them rough suspension comfort. In combination with the 18-inch wheels, the AMG sports suspension reports almost continuously on the road conditions. For comparison, a model with standard suspension that has been driven for comparison is more flexible, but provides short bumps or transverse ribs with a crisp. By the way, you won't find any adjustable dampers, at Mercedes you do the setup yourself instead of letting the customer try it out at the switch. However, anyone who had hoped for the brand-typical floating feeling of a C- or E-Class in the compact segment will be disappointed.

The intended target group should hardly be bothered by this. After all, Mercedes is already reporting 40,000 prospective buyers for the new A-Class who ordered the compact sports car in the first four weeks of sales. The risk of the new concept has evidently paid off, which is why final assembly at the Rastatt plant will switch to three-shift operation from October. Which in turn should lead to a significantly reduced pulse for those responsible for Mercedes.

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