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Test Drive : Mercedes A180 CDI AMG Sport

The Mercedes AMG Sport range promises ‘Driving Performance’ providing a unique driving experience and after taking it out for a spin I have to agree.

It’s exterior body profiling embraces your inner racer with distinctive racing infused bodywork and 18″ AMG alloy wheels in multi-spoke design, encasing front brake callipers emblazoned with the Mercedes-Benz lettering – the little details have not been forgotten, always a good start when looking for a model with that added premium feel. An additional premium aesthetic character was the privacy glass and at this point I wondered whether this premium feel would be compromised in the interior and with the drive.

Stepping inside and the black Artico leather/ DINAMIC microfibre upholstery detailing makes for not only a visually impressive display of masculinity but a level of luxurious comfort you come to expect with a Mercedes. Visually it’s signature black and chrome interior instills a sporty feel with a carbon-fibre look trim, as per the AMG persona, with contrast red stitching evident throughout from the 3-spoke multi-function sports steering wheel in leather through to the floor mats. The inner racer within you is embraced with the instrument cluster with silver dials and red needles, but would the sporty environment translate when the engine purred?

AMG's sport ethics are represented to the smallest of details in the A180 CDI AMG upholstery.
Red racing detailing on the black Artico leather and DINAMIC microfibre upholstery.

Firing up the ignition, you can sense the AMG roar with the twin-pipe exhaust with oval tailpipes making themselves known.  The pull-away from standstill was strong and secure with a sense of the power of the beast beneath you which was yet to be unleashed.  As I accelerated, the gears glided through the 6-speed manual gearbox  with the smooth transition that I’d hoped for.  With a top speed of 118mph and an acceleration of 0-62mph in 11.3 seconds, my experience,  despite not reaching it’s top speed, installs a sense of belief in me that the stability of the handling and comfort would remain all the way throughout.

Once I could bring myself to stop driving I took in the practicality of the model, is it travel friendly? Well the boot space is ample for those weekend travel bags whilst the leg room and headspace in the rear is comfortable for any passengers coming along for the ride. The light and sight package ensures the interior is sufficiently lit for both front and rear passengers, a particularly big tick in the box for passengers satisfaction, there’s nothing worse than a disgruntled passenger. The Audio 20 system provides a clear and concise audio experience, perfect to keep you entertained on the longer journeys and with a bluetooth interface for a hands-free function it’s practical for taking those calls on the road.

Combining it’s drive ability and aesthetics the A Class did not disappoint, however there were a few small details I felt have been missed within this premium model.  First up, no parking sensors. Now we can all park without them but when spending over £20,000 on a model marketed at the premium end of the hatchback market reversing sensors are a feature I would expect to be installed as opposed to an optional extra. Whilst on the exterior I am not convinced that the shape of the front apron is one that personally I would choose, the sharp point is too harsh but that can be easily forgotten when taking in the whole aesthetic appeal.

Taking on the likes of the Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series it certainly has cemented it’s place as a strong contender for the ‘must have’ premium hatchback that I would recommend.

Those all important numbers :

Cost – Recommended on-the-road price £24,000.00

Top Speed – 118mph

Acceleration – 0-62mph in 11.3 seconds.

Combined Fuel Consumption – 76.4mpg

Luxury Rating  – 8/10

Want to take it for a test drive? Book yourself in on the Mercedes Benz website.