The Clarkson review: Mercedes-Benz A 250 AMG (2012) | Sunday Times Driving

12 Aug 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on The Clarkson review: Mercedes-Benz A 250 AMG (2012) | Sunday Times Driving
Mercedes-Benz A-Class

The Clarkson review: Mercedes-Benz A 250 AMG

When my dad announced that become engaged to a girl the next village, his parents mortified. “What’s the matter the girls from our village?” cried.

Psychologists don’t this limited-horizon thinking Almera syndrome”. But they The Almera was just some White goods you bought by the or the foot.

It did nothing badly, but it did well, either. It was for people who saw no to eat fancy food or to holiday Britain. It was a bucket of beige, a for those frightened of the exotic.

Of it was not alone. There was also the Corolla. A fridge with wipers. A car for people who daren’t at the sunset lest they aroused. Chicken korma

Happily today in Britain the Almera and the Corolla are gone, with the ghosts of Terry and in a cemetery on a bypass, under a grey sky, beneath a that no one will ever We’ve moved on. We all want Rover Evoques these Or mini MPVs or maybe a coupé.

The meat-and-potato hatchback is ….

it isn’t. It’s lower it used to be and more sleek. replete with styling to arouse the curiosity. It’s no the girl from down the It’s an internet bride, a with scarlet laces.

The Escort has become the Focus, all rear suspension and tricksy The Vauxhall Astra has stepped out of its and slipped into a pair of panties. Even the new Volkswagen looks as if it knows where Modern is.

And now we get to the Mercedes A-class, the frumpy-dumpy hatch to have force-fed a diet of vodka and Red The original had two floors, one a few inches the other. With straight Merc’s engineers explained in the event of a crash, the engine slide into the gap and thus not turn the occupants into

And I don’t doubt this was

So why does the new car not have such a If it was such a bonzer idea, why it? Could it, I wonder — a bit rhetorically — something to do with the fact the real reason the original had two is that it had been conceived as an car and needed somewhere to store the

Happily Mercedes has now realised cars have no future as a result, one floor is enough. It has realised that it can’t sell a packing case wheels any more. Today we in a skinny latte world and coffee won’t do.

A hatchback, has to have some zing.

So the new has all sorts of styling creases the flanks, a titchy rear and a massive bulbous nose the grille from what to be a truck stuck on the front. It now like the sort of car they have used on the moon in Space 1999.


And I tested the 250 AMG version, which has wheels as well. I want to you it looked a bit silly, a bit garish, a bit But I can’t because, actually, it tremendous.

Many others thought so.

Inside, it’s too, chiefly because it like a much bigger However, there were a of issues. I have new shoes. are Dr Martens and I like them much but they were too for the gap between the wheelarch and the brake

This meant that time I pressed the accelerator, I down.

And there’s more. you push the driver’s seat back, your shoulder is to the B-pillar. This means you drive with your arm on the window ledge.

I’m surprised by how that was.

There was surprise as well. This is an car, and that is the same as a warning on the menu at your Indian restaurant. You expect, if you your foot sideways to the throttle, to have your moved round to the side of head so you end up looking like a

But no.

The turbocharged 2-litre engine up nicely enough and the rev counter towards the red zone but the speedo what your peripheral has been suggesting: you aren’t up speed at anything like the you were expecting.

A quick at the technical specifications reveals the There’s no shortage of power but of it is used to move the excess This is a heavy car.

You that weight in the corners, No AMG Mercedes is built to generate 6g on — you need a BMW for that  — but this one inert and out of its depth. So it’s not fast in a straight line.

And not that exciting in the corners. And the isn’t much cop,

Perhaps the AMG badge is to blame. it’s writing cheques the car even designed to cash. beneath it all, it’s to be a quiet and unruffled cruiser. On a road, that’s certainly the

But introduce even the slightest and you’d better be sitting on a at the time because the ride in car is terrible.

I’m told that on wheels, with normal the new A-class is pretty good. But in the AMG it is — and I’m choosing my words carefully — effing unpleasant. Fast in the recent past have got close to the line in terms of stiffness.

This one crosses it.

But above the ride in the big bag of mistakes is the tank. It may be large enough if the under the bonnet is a diesel, but it’s a turbo nutter bastard, you can’t even get London to Sheffield and back filling up. God knows what it be like when the 350bhp version arrives next

That won’t be able to get 0 to 62mph without spluttering to a

The standard car, I don’t for a moment, is all right. It’s getting rave notices all quarters. But this hot one? No. surprisingly poor in too many

And it’s not like you’re of alternatives. If you want a prestigious Audi will sell you a A3 that won’t break back or cause you to spend your life putting in the tank. But my recommendation is that you the badge and buy an Astra. I drove the VXR and while it may have only doors, I was extremely surprised by how it was.

And how comfortable.

Strange, it? The Astra. It used to be a byword for we thought we’d left

But after a bit of a makeover, the girl your own village is better the generously breasted temptress Stuttgart.

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