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Published Date: 07/11/2017

Many people associate the Mercedes brand with large saloons, 4x4s and cabriolets, but the Stuttgart firm’s iconic three-pointed star badge adorns a couple of exceptional hatchbacks, too, in the form of the A-Class and B-Class. How do these more compact, practical and prestigious cars compare?

Beautiful lines

Mercedes’ ‘sensual clarity’ design philosophy has bestowed the athletic A-Class with sharp, striking lines, a dramatic swage crease, arrow-shape grille and a coupe-like rear that together radiate a youthful, modern and dynamic presence. Low to the ground and equipped with smart alloys, eye-catching LED lights and options like the mesmerising diamond radiator grille, the A-Class excites the soul.

The B-Class is the larger of these two desirable hatchbacks and portrays a slightly more mature image with elegance rather than sportiness brought to the fore. The latest interpretation of the practical car’s bumper, radiator louvres, air intakes and attractive tail-lamp clusters are thoroughly modern - bringing a real energy to the compact MPV hatchback crossover niche that the B-Class excels in.

Conclusion: The B-Class is beautiful and spacious with an excellent view of the road

Evocative interiors

With the seats upholstered in ARTICO leather as standard, a trio of attractive air vents sitting just below the elevated infotainment screen, plus plenty of other engaging design details, the A-Class oozes style on the inside. It’s also comfortable, equipped with the latest technology, safe, extremely well-built and spacious, with generous room for five adults plus 1,157 litres of luggage space when the rear seats are folded down.

Majoring on practicality, the beautifully appointed interior of the larger B-Class now comes with the Stowage package as standard, providing additional and highly useful luggage nets along with folding tables for rear passengers. Seats down, the well-proportioned boot provides upto 1,547 litres in load capacity and the rear bench can even slide for added convenience. Luxury is nevertheless evident throughout this car’s cabin, with rich leather and sophisticated controls.

Conclusion: For a sporty, driver-focussed feel, the A-Class is a great pick

Power, efficiency and enjoyment

The agile A-Class feels sporty on all types of road and customers opting for 4MATIC models will relish the additional all-weather grip.

  • All petrol and diesel engines for the A-Class are highly efficient and economical, CO2 emissions commencing from as low as 89g/km with the A180d SE, which delivers upto a stunning 72.4mpg combined.
  • The most powerful diesel is the A220d 4MATIC that produces 177bhp while averaging 58.9mpg and emissions of just 124g/km CO2.
  • The A-Class hatchback’s petrol powerplants span from the 102bhp A160 to the mighty A 45 4MATIC with 381bhp at the driver’s disposal, capable of reaching 62mph in just 4.2 seconds.
  • B-Class engines start with the 109bhp B180d that can average upto 70.6mpg
  • The B220d 4MATIC tops the diesel spectrum with 350Nm torque, making this frugal performer feisty with 0-62mph time of only 7.9 seconds.
  • Low-mileage drivers are often well suited to petrol engines and the Mercedes B-Class has an excellent pair on offer in the form of the B180 and B200, the latter peaking at 250Nm and reaching 62mph in under eight seconds.

Conclusion: The front-wheel drive A200d best blends performance and running costs

In numbers…

 

A-Class

B-Class

 

Min

Max

Min

Max

Power (HP)

102

280

109

177

Fuel (comb MPG)

38.7

80.7

35.3

70.6

Emissions (CO2, g/km)

89

171

104

132

Top Speed (mph)

118

155

118

137

0 – 60mph in…. (seconds)

4.2

11.3

7.9

11.6

Price

£20,715

£47,145

£22,895

£30,670


With more youthful styling that becomes decidedly aggressive in AMG Line trim and many of the plentiful special editions available, the more compact A-Class possesses greater immediate visual impact - but the larger B-Class is extremely stylish in its own right and can be customised to look sporty. The petrol and diesel engines available for both cars are strong, likeable and efficient performers, the Mercedes-AMG A 45 4MATIC quenching customers seeking performance.

 

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