As with all Mercedes-Benz models, it’s pretty easy for the price to creep up on you. I have already reviewed the entry level variant of the new A-Class range, the A180, where it earned four stars. I’d really like to give the A250 Sport four and a half but, at some $53K by the time on-road costs are added, it’s $15K dearer than the A180. The A250 Sport has an overtly sporty character. It even sounds hot, thanks largely to the removal of one of the mufflers (no kidding!) But only in Australia.
According to Daimler Australia’s executives, this sporty variant was designed with AMG input throughout the engineering process. Any new A-Class has a charismatic presence, but this one is a real looker on its standout 18-inch AMG bi-colour alloys and riding closer to the ground. It even has three degrees of negative camber in the front suspension.
Every new A-Class looks as rakish and low-slung as the original late ‘90s model looked vanlike and unsporty. But the A250 Sport is pure sports hatch. This is a classic ‘2-box’ design and yet there is almost none of the station wagon about its demeanour. From any angle the premium A (until the presumably manic A45 AMG arrives) spells hot hatch. The cabin, too, is more overt with numerous red highlights. I like the red seatbelts though. Even the carbonfibre look trim is tastefully done.
The Daimler dudes like to rabbit on about ‘man-made leather’, as though the term weren’t oxymoronic. But the seats look good and offer brilliant support. I was surprised how much room is on offer for rear passengers and four won’t be a crowd in the latest A-Class, or five at the proverbial pinch. Every A-Class gets a long list of standard features including the 7-speed Dual Clutch Transmission (DSG, if you like) with paddleshifters, an electric parking brake, 6-disc audio, a collision prevention system and nine airbags. The A250 Sport adds lots more including throttle blipping on downchanges, sports exhaust (without the other variants’ central silencer), more direct steering, bi-Xenons, privacy glass, an alarm and sports pedals.
Performance & Economy
Maximum power is 155 kW @ 5500 rpm with 350 Nm of torque from 1200 through to 4000 rpm. Performance is strong for the class with zero to 100 km/h taking 6.6 seconds. Even though this is slower than a 1999 Subaru Impreza WRX, it’s quicker than most hot Euro hatches in this price range. Fuel economy is rated at 6.6 litres per 100 kilometres.
Ride & Handling
This is one of the most poised front-wheel drive cars I have ever driven. Let me start by acknowledging that the A180 handles really well and loves a hard drive on a mountain pass. But the A250 Sport feels almost track-ready with its amazing grip and responsiveness to all inputs. And yet the ride is never forbiddingly hard. I can feel the expert hands of the AMG engineers all over this car. A quicker steering ratio and more weight at the appealing flat-bottom AMG rim are key to the A250 Sport’s driver appeal. This is one of those cars that drives almost exactly the way its appearance suggests it should. It’s a cracker. .
The A250 Sport takes the A-Class driving experience to a higher level, justifying the basic design of the car. Don’t miss an opportunity to drive this one before signing up for one of the less expensive ones. I number it among the best half dozen cars I have tested in as many months. If it were three or four grand cheaper, this hot little Mercedes would score four and a half stars!
This Mercedes Benz A250 Sport car review is proudly supported and written by John Wright from CarLoans.com.au.