ENTRY-LEVEL premium hatches don’t tend to move the MOTOR meter much. The new Mercedes-Benz A200 uses a torquey 1.3-litre turbo four to produce a useful 120kW/250Nm, but with a claimed 0-100km/h time of 8.0sec it’s no performance car.
However, option the $3190 AMG Exclusive Package and your A200 not only scores two-tone leather, dual-zone climate, ambient lighting and ventilated front seats, but the dampers become adaptive and the standard torsion-beam rear suspension is replaced by a multi-link setup.
This configuration will underpin the forthcoming A35 and A45, so this is our first opportunity to sample the chassis of two very hotly anticipated future models. The news is promising. Forget the handling side of the equation, the fancier suspension so transforms the standard A200’s fidgety, reactive ride that it’s a must-tick option (or could be made standard).
So equipped, the A200 becomes a calming, refined premium hatch that’s succesfully righted its predecessor’s wrongs –bigger boot, easier access, more space – while introducing a flash interior and next-gen technology. It’s a talented handler, too, with crisp steering, plenty of grip yet a pleasing amount of adjustability at the limit. Now it just needs, say, double the power… – Scott Newman
1.3 I4T; 120kW @ 5500rpm; 250Nm @ 1620rpm; FWD; 1300kg; $47,200