2015 Mercedes-Benz A-Class Review


The A-Class is Mercedes’ five-door family hatchback and it’s a far more conventional machine in its third-generation guise than it had been previously. As it wears a prestigious badge on its bonnet, the A-Class is not one of the more affordable cars in the class, and it’s not huge on the inside either, but it comes with attractive interior design, some big-car luxuries, and decent engines. It also features appealing styling, improved by a mid-life facelift in 2015, with the popular AMG Line cars looking particularly good. Power comes from an exclusively four-cylinder line-up of petrol and diesel engines, with drive going to the front axle as standard, with an option to have 4Matic all-wheel drive on some models. Transmissions are a six-speed manual or a 7G-Tronic dual-clutch automatic, and there’s also a performance model in the form of the A 250 AMG. We'll deal with the fire-breathing AMG A 45 in a separate review.


Body Style: Hatchback Seats: 5  MRP from £20,715 - £36,200


Did you know? The A-Class was penned by British designer Mark Fetherston, who was also responsible for the gullwing-doored SLS supercar.

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

The Mercedes A-Class is not the class leader in the premium hatchback market – that accolade goes to the proficient Audi A3 – but it’s a very strong contender, nonetheless. Its strengths are its looks and of course its prestige status. The Merc’s failings are that it's not as fun to drive nor as comfortable as the older BMW 1 Series and Audi A3 - in fact ride comfort is the Merc's critical flaw, and while the interior looks great it doesn't feel as solidly screwed together as the BMW's and Audi's and the driving position isn't as comfortable. 

2017 Mercedes-Benz A Class

We Like

Elegant exterior

Dash design

Appealing A 250 AMG model

We Don't Like

Cramped rear seats

It’s expensive

Noisy 2.1-litre diesel

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

2017 Mercedes-Benz A Class

While the original two generations of A-Class were much vaunted for their maximised interior space and ‘sandwich chassis’ (a safety innovation that meant the engine and gearbox would slide underneath the passenger compartment in the event of an accident), their very construction meant they were strange, unattractive machines; upright and similar looking to small MPVs.

For the launch of the third generation in 2012, the company abandoned that premise, the A-Class turning into a handsome hatchback in the process. It’s certainly a striking looking hatch - especially with the unusual AMG grille - and we'd say is about the best looking of the premium family hatches. 


Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

2017 Mercedes-Benz A Class

The dashboard of the Mercedes A-Class isn’t extravagant, yet there are a few suitably classy touches, like the five round air vents with an aeronautical look, the number pad control panel on the console, and nicely-finished climate control switchgear. In the main, it’s made of top-grade materials too, although there are one or two plastics that leave something to be desired in a Mercedes-Benz, and there are some areas where it feels noticeably cheaper than the denser materials in a BMW 1 Series or Audi A3 Sportback.

The chief issues with the A-Class is the infotainment screen, which looks like an aftermarket afterthought perched on top of the dash, and the same niggle that pertains to nearly every modern Benz: the company’s idiosyncratic ergonomics. It's just not as easy to use the major control functions as it is in the obvious rivals, and it can be hard to find a comfortable driving position in the A-Class, as well, as the dash and steering wheel can feel a long way away from you when you're an appropriate distance from the pedals. 

Visibility to the rear is not great; you need to be aware of a fairly big blind spot to the rear three quarters. Forward visibility is good, though, and the seats themselves are supportive and comfortable. 


While space up front is fine, headroom in the rear is limited and access to the rear seats isn't as good as it is in an Audi A3 or VW Golf, either. The A-Class also doesn’t have the largest boot going, and the boot aperture narrows rather unhelpfully towards the load lip, which'll make loading bulky items tricky. It'll be fine if a weekly food shop is about the most taxing load-carrying you do. The rear-seat backrests fold 60:40 on all cars, increasing the boot space from 341- to 1,157 litres, which is useful. There are also plenty of storage cubbies dotted throughout the interior.


Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

2017 Mercedes-Benz A Class

No matter which A-Class specification you pick, you’ll benefit from a six-speaker sound system, Bluetooth, two USB ports, the Mercedes Me connected assistance package, and smartphone integration incorporating Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Surprisingly, DAB radio is an option on every A-Class, and it’s not inexpensive, either.

Garmin Map Pilot preparation is fitted to all cars, but actual sat-nav functionality is reserved for the A 250 AMG or Sport Edition models. Base SE cars have a seven-inch screen for the infotainment, while all other models have a display enlarged to eight inches. The ultimate in-car connectivity is represented by the Comand Online option and an optional Harman Kardon sound system (rated at 450 watts, with 12 speakers, a nine-channel amp, DTS 5.1 surround sound, and Logic 7 technology) can be fitted if you don’t like the standard Audio 20 set-up. Ultimately, unless you go for the A250 or one of the pricey special edition trims, Mercedes asks more money than its rivals to get a car with factory-fit sat-nav and DAB radio. And even then, the rotary-switch or touchpad-controlled system is not as easy to use as that in the Audi A3 Sportback or BMW 1 Series. 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

2017 Mercedes-Benz A Class

The big introduction during the 2015 facelift was the adaptive damping option. It’s not standard on any regular A-Class, and indeed it’s not available at all on the SE and Sport models, but it’s an optional extra on the AMG Line, 250 AMG, and WhiteArt Editions. We’d definitely recommend having it fitted, because it has two settings – one geared towards comfort, the other towards handling – and these make more of the A-Class’ dynamic talents, delivering a sharper drive when you want it and a more supple ride for day-to-day driving. You need it, too, because the standard A-Class doesn't ride particularly well regardless of which model you choose. It's always quite choppy and unforgiving around town - ironically it's the mega-fast A45 AMG that's the comfiest A-Class as it gets completely different dampers.

The standard passive suspension set-ups change from model to model. The Sport, weirdly, has comfort suspension, while the AMG Line and its attendant WhiteArt Edition have lowered 'comfort' suspension (a 20mm drop at the front, 15mm rear). It’s only the 250 AMG that benefits from lowered sports suspension, but that does make its ride the firmest and least pleasant of all the A-Class models, a trait exacerbated by its 18-inch alloy wheels and low profile tyres.

The A-Class is not a very thrilling car to drive, but it is refined and the engines do, largely, make the most of that characteristic. For the petrol line-up, a Renault-Nissan-sourced 1.6-litre, turbocharged four-cylinder engine handles the bulk of the work. It comes with either 101bhp as the A 160 A-Class entry point, 120bhp as the A 180, or 154bhp as the A 200. All feature the six-speed manual as standard (which has a fairly notchy, springy shift), with the seven-speed 7G-DCT auto an option that improves performance and economy. All of the engines operate smoothly but the 200 auto’s 7.8-second 0-62mph time is more befitting of a premium machine like this.

Above that is the brand’s Volkswagen Golf GTI rival, the A 250 AMG, which has a 215bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It’s a cracking car, but it’s costly, and the BMW 1 Series with a comparable engine drives in a more involving manner.

For the diesels, there’s another Renault-derived engine, the 1.5-litre turbo unit, which is fitted to the A 180 d in 108bhp. Above that is a 2.1-litre powerplant, which comes with either 134- (A 200 d) or 175bhp (A 220 d). It’s a perfectly punchy engine, but it’s an old motor that is relatively noisy and rough, compared to prevailing class standards. The A 180 d and A 200 d are again manual as standard, with auto an option, while the A 220 d is automatic only.

On the A 220 d and the A 250 AMG, 4Matic all-wheel drive is offered, but to be honest, we don’t think it appreciably improves the driving experience of either car, so it will only be if you truly need maximum traction in poor conditions that you’d buy it.

Overall, the Merc's engines do a good-enough job but the main mid-range powerplants just aren't as smooth and enjoyable to drive as the engines in an Audi A3 Sportback and BMW 1 Series. The lack of a hybrid or plug-in hybrid is also an oversight given the popularity of the A3 e-tron.

Recommended engine: A 200 AMG Line 7G-DCT

0-62 MPH

7.8 seconds

Fuel economy

52.3 mpg




Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

2017 Mercedes-Benz A Class

With a five-star Euro NCAP rating already in the bag, the A-Class is a safe car. Standard equipment includes no fewer than seven airbags, the Attention Assist driver fatigue monitor, two ISOFIX seat mountings in the rear, Brake Assist with Hold function and Hill-Start Assist, and a tyre-pressure monitoring system. Options include Lane Tracking and Driving Assistance Packages; the former has Blind-Spot Assist and Lane-Keeping Assist, while the latter features these two items, along with Distronic radar cruise control and Mercedes’ Pre-Safe anticipatory safety system. There is no autonomous emergency braking as standard or optionally (although the optional Distronic Cruise Control will brake the car to keep a safe distance from the car ahead).


Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

2017 Mercedes-Benz A Class


No-cost, solid paints are Cirrus White or Jupiter Red, with the metallic options amounting to Elbaite Green, Cosmos Black, Polar Silver, Mountain Grey, Cavansite Blue, Canyon Beige, and Orient Bronze. There’s one further choice, which is the pricey, special order 'designo Magno Mountain Grey' paint, and it’s exclusive to the 250 AMG.

Trim Levels

There are four key trim levels, which are SE, Sport, AMG Line, and then the 250 AMG as a standalone model. After that, the AMG Line and the A 250 can both be specified as WhiteArt Editions. And, further, three equipment bundles – Executive, Premium, and Premium Plus – can be added to most of the range, with Mercedes effectively listing 12 different specs.

SE begins with 16-inch alloys, cruise control, push-button start, a reversing camera, a multifunction steering wheel, and air conditioning. Sport enlarges the alloys to 17s, brings in Dynamic Select drive modes, automatic wipers, a plusher steering wheel, and climate control.

AMG Line is all about the look inside and out, and it’s a popular trim. With a body kit and 18-inch wheels are perforated brakes with Mercedes-Benz-branded callipers, Sports Direct Steer, sports seats, carbon fibre-look trim, and an AMG-look steering wheel.

The WhiteArt Edition ramps up the style factor, with a Night Package, body graphics, black 18-inch wheels, striped seats to echo the exterior look, plus toys like LED lights, Parking Pilot, ambient lighting, Garmin satnav, and heated front seats. The A 250 AMG has pretty much the same list, minus the eye-catching styling, but then the A 250 AMG WhiteArt Edition brings back the decals, the Night Package, and 19-inch alloys in black.

All A-Classes come with a man-made material called Artico covering the seats. This looks like leather, but isn’t, although it doesn’t feel cheap. Despite this, proper cow hide is an option on higher models.

Size and Dimensions

The A-Class is not a huge car and shouldn’t present any real problems in terms of parking or driving through narrow streets.




2,022mm (including door mirrors)



Max towing weight without brake

From 685kg (1.6-litre manual petrols) - 750kg (A 220 d 4Matic/A 250 AMG)


Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

2017 Mercedes-Benz A Class

Strong residual values promised by that Mercedes badge, Benefit-in-Kind rates of anything between 20 and 30 per cent, and A-Classes sitting in the 13-29 insurance group bracket make the Merc very competitive in terms of running costs, even before you look at the fuel economy figures. No front-wheel-drive diesel returns anything less than 65mpg combined (even the 4Matic 220 d does 59mpg) and the petrol cars all return in excess of 41mpg – and yes, that includes the 250 AMG. These figures are achieved because the turbocharged engines are designed for frugality, the A-Class’ lean body is aerodynamically excellent, and all models have an Eco Start/Stop function to stop the idling engine in stationary traffic. 

Reliability and servicing

A mixed bag on the reliability, as some owners report repeated trips to the dealerships to get niggling faults fixed. Nevertheless, Mercedes does have a good reputation for making sturdy cars and a three-year, unlimited mileage warranty offers good cover. The A-Class has the 'Assist' service indicator system, which means the car signals when it needs to go into the dealership to be looked at – rather than adhering to a fixed-interval service schedule.

Petrol models

No fixed servicing schedule – Assyst variable maintenance plan.

Diesel models

No fixed servicing schedule – Assyst variable maintenance plan.


Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

2017 Mercedes-Benz A Class

Compared to the ‘core’ bulk of C-segment hatchbacks – cars like the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra, Peugeot 308, Seat Leon, and more – the A-Class is comparatively dear. It even manages to make a Volkswagen Golf look like a bit of a bargain. But the Mercedes is priced to compete with premium models like the Audi A3, BMW 1 Series, and Lexus CT, and it’s broadly on a par with such rivals, until you start factoring in equipment when it tends to start to look expensive. 

Monthly finance deals are also very good - better even than the Audi A3. A relatively small deposit of around £3000 will see you into one of the lower powered petrol or diesel cars for around £200-£250 per month on a PCP contract hire or lease deal

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing


Company Car Buyer

With emissions of just 89g/km, the A 180 d SE manual is the clear choice for the business user.

Car Enthusiast

No doubt about it, the A 250 AMG is the most vibrant steer of the A-Class family – and you can have it with a six-speed manual gearbox, too.

Luxury Seeker

An A 200 Sport 7G-DCT with the optional adaptive dampers will offer the best ride quality and refinement of the A-Class range.


Audi A3

The current class leader, because it does so many things extremely well – shame it’s not a bit more interesting to drive, though.

BMW 1 Series

Has the A-Class and the A3 covered for driver thrills, but it’s getting on a bit now and it has some packaging compromises.

Infiniti Q30

Infiniti is Nissan’s luxury arm and the Q30 its premium hatch. Look at its interior closely… and you’ll realise it’s a re-bodied A-Class.

Lexus CT

Lexus continues to doggedly stick with CVT-equipped hybrids – leaving the unusual CT with a very narrow and unappealing range.

Volvo V40

Not a bad car and has lovely, comfy seats, but the V40 – like the BMW – is due for replacement in the near future; wait for the next car.


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