Make: Mercedes Benz
Model: A Class
Engine / Transmission: 1.3 turbo petrol – 8 speed DCT (118 kW + 75 kW)
Manufacturer Claimed Fuel Economy: 1.6L/100km combined.
Price: From $72,313 drive away
In a Nutshell: A superb high quality sedan with seamless plug-in EV capability.
When looking at the Mercedes-Benz A250e it really is best to consider it in two parts; firstly, as a small, high-quality sedan and, secondly, as a fine example of a PHEV.
As a regular sedan, the $72k A250e sits in the middle of a comprehensive range. Kicking off with the $51k A180 and reaching all the way to the $81k A35. Forgo the sedan format and the A Class stretches even further to the $104k A45 uber-hatch.
Now, $70k is a lot to spend on a small sedan, but the A250e accounts for itself remarkably well- it’s a quality product with high class finishes everywhere you look. If you’re looking to save a few dollars, the A250e is available as a non-PHEV version – the creatively named A250. Coming in at a $13k saving over the “e”, the A250 loses the PHEV function, obviously, yet gains a bigger 2.0 litre engine, more sophisticated independent rear suspension, optional 4matic all-wheel-drive and a 200kg weight saving.
Still, no one is going to be pinching for pennies when looking at the A Class and the weight penalty and additional cost of the “e” is a no-brainer. Like all PHEVs, the A250e gives a reasonable amount of pure electric range (in this case, around 60km) before switching seamlessly to regular petrol power. It is during this period of electric running that the A250e demonstrates the torquey and silent simplicity of electric driving.
As you would expect at this price point, the A250e is well equipped with a full suite of advanced passive and active safety features. Interestingly, perhaps in an effort to save weight and increase range, the A250e does away with some power seat adjustment and, strangely, interior grab handles, as well as 4matic all-wheel drive, but everywhere that it counts (seat trim, dash surrounds, carpets) quality is sky high.
Mercedes Benz’s version of a personal assistant, MBUX’s Hey, Mercedes, is mostly intuitive although unlike systems that use obscure voice ques, such as Siri or Alexa, this system will respond every time someone in the car mentions “Mercedes”. During a stint as a review car, you would be surprised how often passengers or I would mention the M word, setting off a series of false alarms from the personal assistant. Of course, in normal use this would rarely be a problem.
The most impressive thing about Mercedes’ MBUX isn’t its huge twin screen display or its ability to be tailored to different moods, but the ability to operate multiple functions in multiple ways – touch screen, steering wheel or around the centre console. I tend to access the MBUX functions in what I am sure is a random and unpredictable way, but Mercedes don’t care – they simply give me the opportunity to access the functions in a range of different ways without judgement.
Not So Impressive:
Interestingly, some corners were cut with the sophistication of the rear suspension in the “e” in order to squeeze in the paraphernalia associated with EV, so in a back to back comparison the regular A250 may steer a little sweeter than the “e”, but in isolation you will never notice. However, the same can’t be said for the reduced grip and feedback offered by the low resistance tyres fitted to the “e” – it’s slight, but noticeable.
Further, there is no way that you can expect to recoup the additional expenditure required to park the “e” in your driveway over the regular A250, but to think in this way is to completely miss the point of this car. The electric driving experience is divine and having the additional range confidence provided by the PHEV platform, over, say, a pure electric Tesla Model 3, just seals the deal.
WHEN ON A TEST DRIVE:
Make sure you get a chance to have a good long test drive. I am confident that you will fall in love with the EV experience and consider the additional outlay well worth it.