Lovely looking car, isn’t it? There’s something inherently classy about a well-designed saloon car that even the prettiest hatchback can’t get near. Looks are of course subjective, but in its transformation to a saloon, the A-Class now oozes style on the outside as well as the inside.
Dynamically, the A-Class Saloon is very similar to the hatchback. That’s not surprising: the two share the same wheelbase (although the overall length is up 130mm) and the weight increase is marginal. As with the hatchback, models higher up the range, such as this A250, use multi-link rear suspension, rather than the torsion beam setup of the entry-level variants.
While Mercedes may have tried to up the driver appeal of the CLA with a sportier tune, the more relaxed setup and manners of the hatchback are carried over to the A-Class Saloon. Think Volkswagen Golf-style dynamics, albeit with a slightly inferior ride quality, to best describe where this car is pitched. It’s a quiet and comfortable car to drive, the kind that concentrates more on having nice control weights than razor-sharp driver involvement.
Performance is impressive from the 2.0-litre engine. Brisk off the line and with plenty of torque in the mid-range to aid overtaking, it’s one of the car’s standout features. Real-world economy runs into the low 40mpgs, too, another plus point in an engine that’s not wanting for performance. Yet the problems with the seven-speed auto ‘box in this fourth-generation A-Class range persist. It’s too hesitant and lacking in intuition to really allow you to fully exploit the wide talents of the engine.
The interior is a carbon copy of the hatchback’s in the front, meaning the finest, plushest design in the class. Whether it’s also the finest usability in the class comes down to personal tastes, with the left of two large 10.25in screens of the AMG Line trim being operated by touch, gesture or voice. It can be an intimidating system at first, much like when you get a new phone or computer, but it doesn’t take too long for it to become intuitive.
The boot of the A-Class Saloon is 420 litres, some 45 litres more than that of the hatchback. It’s a big, wide, usable space, and there’s a further practicality boost with nice wide door openings for rear passengers.