Cars/ First-drive/ Mercedes-Benz A-Class Limousine | First Drive Review | BBC TopGear India

Mercedes-Benz A-Class Limousine | First Drive Review | BBC TopGear India




Sharpening a luxury brand’s calibre down to an affordable entry-level sedan is a challenging assignment, and that too without any noticeable compromise, but the 2021 Mercedes-Benz A-class Limousine rises in style and gives robust competition to its more extravagant siblings. The car was earlier scheduled for launch in the second half of 2020 but got postponed due to the COVID-19 phenomenon, and now launched on the 25th March 2021. Recently, we were given a taste of it in goa, where we spent 6 hours with it along the highways, twists and turns. For the first time, we tested the Air conditioning to keep the temperatures cool when outside mercury was hovering around 40 degrees in the Centigrade speedometer.

The A220 comes with a full assortment of standard accessories. It gets 17-inch wheels that connect the car to the pavement, automatic LED headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, panoramic sunroof and eight-way power-adjustable front seats. It also gets simulated leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, and an optional gesture control feature for the MBUX infotainment system. The target audience is millennial generation buyers, who are more interested in the brand name, specific features, and a mid-range price; that’s why Goa’s media drive makes sense. But what tilts the balance in its favour is the eight-year service warranty, first in the segment and making owning a luxury car a comfortable, peace-of-mind experience.

The car is available in three variants; the A200 petrol variant will extract power from a 1.3-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine that generates 161hp and 250 Nm of peak torque, while the diesel variant will extract a 2.0-litre four-cylinder oil burner with 147hp and 320 Nm of torque. The top-most expensive version will give you a more powerful 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine that gathers 302hp of horsepower and 400 Nm of torque. The performance sedan can manage to reach 0-100 kmph in 4.8 seconds and give you a top speed of 225 kmph. Yes, it’s an entry-level sedan, but it can be a brilliant choice. The A-class Limousine interiors are on point, looks striking, drives planted with decent legroom for the rear seat passenger. On the downside, it’s not a stretched limousine that you are expecting. The rear seat passenger is comparable to a segment above the BMW 3 Series Gran limousine and Volvo SC60. It handles itself on the road very well, but not as fluid in corners like the BMW 2 series. The ample boot space will pick you and drop you at the airport with your extended stays travel bags. The car has over 43 smart features, including Mercedes me-connect, live traffic information, Alexa, and Google Voice integration. It’s a brilliant package for its price tag.

From anywhere you see, it looks striking with an attractive glossy roofline. Still, it isn’t entirely curved like the CLA’s, which helps the A-class Limousine to offer significantly extra room and comfort for rear passengers than its four-door coupé stablemates. The front seats deliver best-in-class comfort that makes this car even great for those who do long commutes. A standard folding back seat with a 40/20/40 split allows you to carry more luggage about boot space. Also, the car holds one unique feature called a memory seat for the driver and front passenger, which permits you to maintain your comfortable position for future drives. Being a young car, it will be driven by a few in the family and being a “limo”, it will also be chauffeur-driven, so each time you are ready to pilot the car, with the memory button, you will get back to your driving position. As I said, it’s a smart car.

MBUX, the new Mercedes-Benz User Experience, includes artificial intelligence into the A-Class Limousine. It learns more and more every day and, most importantly of all, gets to know its driver thoroughly by helping to recognise your favourite songs and the route to work. Through the Mobile app, you can geofence your car into a certain radius.

The A-Class limo is a brilliant car, and with its 8-year service warranty and price of around 40-42 lakhs can also eat into E – Class sales. Point made. Nothing really to pick on this, it’s not a stretched limo, but you can stretch your legs sitting in the rear seats and hop on to the driver’s seat and have fun there as well.

TopGear Magazine May 2024