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It may be front-wheel-drive, but the new A-Class sedan carries a very clear Mercedes’ family design signature. (Mercedes-Benz).

What we're driving: 2018 Mercedes-Benz A200 AMG Line

Mercedes-Benz is fond of saying it cascades at least some of the S-Class’ posh luxury and technology throughout its range. That’s just what it has done for the fourth-generation A-Class, the nameplate that sits at the bottom of the brand’s lineup. The new A-Class is heaped with cabin tech, in particular.

Built on Mercedes’ MFA2 front-wheel-drive platform, the A200 AMG Line version driven is well-connected, having the MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) touchscreen interface (and a touchpad), plus “Hey Mercedes” voice recognition.
Standard fit is a pair of 7-in screens (one for infotainment, the other with virtual instrumentation) but 10.25-in screens are optional. Augmented-reality navigation display is available with an overlay of real-time images of approaching junctions—very S-Class. It takes a while to get brain and fingers to control everything, but the graphic result makes it worth the trying.

Available as a sedan or hatchback (the U.S. gets only the sedan in A220 and A220 4Matic trim), the new A-Class is slightly larger overall than the outgoing generation, with more interior space adding newfound shoulder, elbow and headroom.

Ride and handling are improved, the A200 AMG Line model getting multi-link rear suspension, speed-sensitive power steering and Eco, Comfort, Sport and Individual dynamic drive settings.

Sampled in Europe, of particular interest is the very enthusiastic Mercedes-Renault developed turbocharged 1.3-L 4-cylinder, delivering 120 kW (161 hp). Its 7-speed twin-clutch transmission is a quick-shifter but sometimes hunts for the right ratio. Zero-to-62 mph happens in 8 s and the car’s 139-mph (224 -km/h) top speed make for a brisk, practical, and—with a combined fuel consumption of 5.5l/100 km (44 mpg)—frugal new premium compact car.

Continuing to follow a Mercedes’ trend, the A200 in AMG Line form has a “diamond” radiator grille with chrome pins and a single louvre. Wheels are distinctive 18-in alloys. LED headlights are excellent and safety technology includes active braking, lane-keeping assist and attention assists. So help is always on hand. Continue reading »