Mercedes-Benz A180d

AMG Line

Mercedes-Benz A-Class, front
Mercedes-Benz A-Class, front
Mercedes-Benz A-Class, front
Mercedes-Benz A-Class, side
Mercedes-Benz A-Class, rear
Mercedes-Benz A-Class, interior
Mercedes-Benz A-Class, interior
Mercedes-Benz A-Class, interior
Mercedes-Benz A-Class, interior

THE German reputation for not having a sense of humour has, it seems, been built into their cars.

When using the voice control system on a new Mercedes-Benz A-Class I asked the car to tell me a joke I got the reply "sorry my engineers were German."

And while not quite what I expected it served to show just how sophisticated the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) on the latest A-Class is.

To access it you simply say "Hey Mercedes" and then ask a question or give instructions for an onboard function.

A question about the temperature in New York that day gave me an instant reply but I could just have easily asked the MBUX to open the panoramic sunshine roof, navigate to a particular destination or simply change the radio station.

And while all this might sound gimmicky the point is you can do it all without having to take your eyes off the road and that has to be a good thing.

As well as being packed with impressive new hi-tech advances the new, fourth generation A-Class has changed physically while still retaining its familiar styling.

It's wider and longer to ensure passengers have more headroom and shoulder room while the boot area can now cope with an extra 29 litres of luggage, with a generous 370 litres available with all the seats in use and a hefty 1,2101 litres with the rear seat backs folded down.

The model driven here, the A180d AMG Line, was powered by a 1.5-litre, 116bhp diesel engine jointly developed with Renault to give responsive performance while still averaging a whisker under 70 miles per gallon.

And the nice thing about it is the refined manner in which it delivers the power, ensuring that the well soundproofed cabin is stress free.

This might be the German luxury car maker's smallest model but the latest incarnation is just as quiet as most of its largest siblings.

The engine is mated to a super smooth seven-speed automatic gearbox which can also be used manually via paddles behind the steering wheel.

And you can drive in any one of three modes featured in the Dynamic Select system - eco, comfort and sport - or even key in your own individual settings.

Three trim levels are available for the A180d: SE, Sport and AMG Line, with the latter being the most eye catching thanks to its AMG front apron and side skirts and 18-inch AMG alloy wheels. It also comes with impressive LED high performance headlights.

On the road the A180d is hard to fault. It has a nice solid feel to it while at the same time is light and easy to handle with superb road holding.

A pin sharp reversing camera ensures that it's easy to park and sensibly the lens is hidden behind a retractable cover which only opens as you select reverse so it doesn't get blurred by rain or dirt.

This car benefited from the addition of a £495 augmented navigation package which made the satellite navigation system idiot proof.

It meant that as I approached a junction or roundabout the forward-facing camera would show it on the navigation screen with a large blue arrow superimposed over the turning I needed to take.

FAST FACTS

Mercedes-Benz A180d AMG Line

Price: £28,280

Mechanical: 116bhp, 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: 30%

Warranty: 3yrs/100,000 miles

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