Mercedes-Benz A 180

d AMG Line

Mercedes-Benz A 180 d AMG Line, front
Mercedes-Benz A 180 d AMG Line, profile
Mercedes-Benz A 180 d AMG Line, dynamic
Mercedes-Benz A 180 d AMG Line, rear
Mercedes-Benz A 180 d AMG Line, interior
Mercedes-Benz A 180 d AMG Line, interior, rear
Mercedes-Benz A 180 d AMG Line, controls
Mercedes-Benz A 180 d AMG Line, boot

AMID many success stories for a rejuvenated Mercedes-Benz during the last few years the transformation of the A-Class has to be one of the most notable.

Reinvented in 2012 as a sleek and stylish hatchback, it typified the new, youthful direction of the Stuttgart-based brand and quickly became its best seller here in the UK.

Some of that popularity is undoubtedly down the the fact that, with prices starting from £23,075, it's the cheapest route into brand ownership for those who simply must have the premium German badge on their bonnet.

With eight engines and four trim levels to choose from though, including the performance-focused Mercedes AMG A 35, there's also plenty of choice and, with it's clean, modern design, it's a bit of a looker too - especially in range-topping AMG Line form.

The most popular trim level in the UK, accounting for more than half of sales, this adds an eye-catching ‘diamond' grille, more aggressively styled front end and AMG side sills and rear apron, all of which create a dynamic, road-hugging stance.

All diesel versions come with a smooth DSG automatic transmission, either seven or eight-speed depending on the engine, while some petrol-powered cars can be had with a six-speed manual gearbox, again dependent on engine choice, otherwise it's the seven-speed automatic.

Mercedes' 4Matic all-wheel drive system is an option on A 220 AMG Line cars, powered by a 190ps petrol engine, and comes as standard on the 306ps A 35 hot-hatch version.

Our car had the entry level 1.5-litre A 180 d diesel unit under the bonnet, which offers decent fuel economy - a claimed 68.9 miles per gallon on average - alongside solid and steady performance - 0-62mph in 10.5 seconds and a top speed of 125mph.

It actually felt perkier than those figures might suggest though, thanks to some quick throttle response, both off the mark and when on the move, and the prompt shifts of the seven-speed automatic transmission.

The steering is quick and precise and grip is solid and reassuring, making for nimble handling and also inspiring confidence to push on through bends and, while urban traffic is handled with aplomb, the A-Class really is a relaxed cruiser, eating up motorway miles in an effortless and refined manner.

So it looks good and is enjoyable to drive, but the real highlight of this car is the cabin, which not only offers room for four adults to get comfortable in decent level of luxury for an entry-level model but absolutely bristles with technology.

The star of the show is the twin screen sitting behind a single glass panel that dominates the dashboard and is the focal point of the new MBUX - Mercedes Benz User Experience - infotainment system, which is debuted in this car.

One screen, in front of the driver, serves as the instrument panel with the second, a central touchscreen, giving access to entertainment, navigation and various vehicle settings. Functions can also be accessed via a touchpad on the centre console and mini touchpads on the steering wheel.

Both screens are seven-inches as standard but either one (via the £1,395 Executive package) or both (£2,395 Premium package) of them can be upgraded to 10.25 inches. It's not cheap but the effect is stunning.

If you do upgrade you'll also be able to add, for another £495, the ground-breaking virtual reality navigation system.

This uses the car's front camera to display video footage of the road ahead next to your map and superimposes directional instructions directly onto the image. No more wondering which exit from the roundabout that polite, faceless woman actually means.

FAST FACTS

Mercedes-Benz A 180 d AMG Line

Price: £28,540

Mechanical:116ps, 1,461cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 7-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed:125mph

0-62mph: 10.5 seconds

Combined MPG: 68.9

Insurance Group:18

C02 emissions: 111g/km

Bik rating: 27%

Warranty:3yrs/100,000 miles

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