Mercedes-Benz A 250

The German Younger Spirit

With the new A 250 Sport, Mercedes-Benz has entered an entirely new segment in the Middle East by setting a fresh benchmark in the luxury compact segment with a powerful, sporty and luxuriously designed and appointed hot hatch that will excite and enthrall the region's inspiration to go get the next big things.

Driving Impressions
Let us talk about the real story here. The first couple of generations of the A-Class were under the bench. Some would want the badge but couldn't afford the car, and if they made a statement, it was a cry for help. Things have changed. This is the 3rd generation of the car. Just look at this marvelous thing and you'll understand what I mean.

We were checked in the Creekside Hotel Jumeirah and as soon as I put away my bag, I couldn't resist the attractive A250. It was love at first sight when I saw the red Mercedes A250 that was appointed to me.

When getting inside, one cannot miss that the star in the interior is a big step up. But I was surprised about the plastic carbon fiber trim on the dashboard, one of the first things I noticed. The circular air vents with the red around them were pretty cool (giving an AMG feeling). The steering wheel is absolutely beautiful and standard on this model - again very AMG stylish.

Nonetheless, when it comes to the seats, one word describes them - wow - very sportive and looks nice on this model.

As you know with all Mercedes-Benz vehicles, safety is a priority with the ASP, traction control, the clever braking system and the radar-based COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST system, the pre-safe which tightens the seat belt whenever the car thinks it's going to crash and nine airbags. That is definitely some kind of record. Let's not forget about the warning system, too, which beeps whenever you get too close to the car in front of you.

From outside, markedly emotive AMG body styling design combines with agile handling and a powerful four cylinder, 2 liter turbocharged engine that produces a roaring 211 hp and 350 Nm of torque, thundering a market that demands success to 0-100 kph in just 6.6 seconds. GCC standard specifications come fully loaded compared to the international market, including a very sporty interior design with red stitching, design red seat belts, red framed SLS AMG style air vents, comfortable sport seats, aggressive exterior look with diamond grille, red brake calipers, 18" five spoke AMG light-alloy wheels in high sheen black finish and headlamps with red marker rings. GCC options in addition to the standard specification include Xenon lights, Active Parking Assist, and a Light Sight Package (interior ambient lighting). Additional safety options include Distronic Plus and Blind Spot Assist.

The new A 250 Sport features the ECO start/stop function as standard paired with the 7G-DCT dual clutch automatic transmission, which ideally combines comfort and sportiness. With turbo charging and direct injection, the A 250 Sport is considerably efficient with a consumption of 6.1 liters/100 km.

I got a chance to test its handling characteristics on an autocross track.

Body roll is minimal, and while the electric steering feels light, it is still sharp in its responses with the tires offering tons of grip. I found the button to turn off the stability control; it was in the dashboard settings so it went dramatically fun when pushed hard, which enriched the fun factor. What stood out was the amazingly strong brakes. One of the track exercises was to accelerate up to 100 kph and hit the brakes. I did it numerous times with my demo car, every time testing it on different settings such as with or without manual transmission using the paddle shifters.

The A 250 Sport is equipped with a unique suspension tune, which is not only lower than the rest of the A-Class range, but has unique spring and damper settings, a thicker front anti-roll bar and three degrees of camber on the front suspension. There's a downside to all this performance though. Ride comfort on less-than-perfect surfaces is pretty poor, and the ultra-firm suspension jiggles and fidgets over even the tiniest of undulations.

The ride quality is slightly on the firmer side, which can be felt on road imperfections, but smoothens out well on the highway. The car is easy to maneuver around the city thanks to its sub-compact size and visibility is good all around. The manually-adjustable bucket seats were comfortable enough and provided enough support during spirited driving. It gets paddle shifters behind the steering wheel and an engine stop-start function to save fuel.

To appeal to that younger demographic, the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class is offered only in A 250 Sport trim for now. It immediately gives off that “youthful" impression with its aggressive front fascia, featuring a large diamond-encrusted radiator grille bearing the brand logo and sporty bumpers.

Only one variant of the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class is currently being offered in GCC, so buyers will have to depart with around USD $37,000 for the A 250 Sport. That's cheaper than the BMW 125i and only slightly more expensive than the latest Volkswagen Golf GTI. For people looking for a bit more raging power, the A 45 AMG is coming later this year.

Verdict
The A 250 Sport makes the dream of Mercedes-Benz ownership a reality, initiating a lifelong relationship with its customers who don't have white hair yet!

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