First drive: 2013 Mercedes-Benz A-Class in the UAE

First drive: 2013 Mercedes-Benz A-Class in the UAE

2013 Mercedes-Benz A-Class 12
After its dramatic birth back in the late 1990s as a 5-door Smart Car-alternative that went up on two wheels at the sight of a moose, the Mercedes-Benz A-Class went on to become rather popular in Europe, even though it was nothing more than a city runabout that shared the same badge as an S-Class. Of course, it never caught on in the UAE, where people prefer their luxury cars to look like, well, cars. But more than a decade later, the A-Class changes its ethos completely and comes back as a proper hatchback, apparently in search of buyers who don’t have white hair.

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, sporty bumpers, big 18-inch AMG alloy rims, painted red brake calipers, and red accents on the front lip. On the side, you get body-lines that slope upwards, while the rear has a small lip spoiler and dual chrome exhaust tips.

2013 Mercedes-Benz A-Class 10

Inside, the A 250 gets a lot of goodies as standard, such as power windows, electric mirrors, multimedia screen, navigation, CD/MP3 stereo, USB port, Bluetooth, cruise control and other features. There is enough soft-touch material around the dashboard and doors, but hard plastics in the centre console area. The red accents on the exterior carries over inside as well, with the a/c vents featuring red rings around it, red speedometer needles, red stitching on the upholstery and red seat-belts. 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.

The A 250 Sport comes with a turbocharged 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine, good for 211 hp and 350 Nm of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels via a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. It can do the 0-100 kph run in a claimed 6.6 seconds, but it does not feel particularly fast, as acceleration is too smooth off the line and the exhaust note is as loud as you’d expect in a sporty car. Keep pressing that accelerator pedal and you can theoretically reach speeds of above 240 kph.

2013 Mercedes-Benz A-Class 7

The car is easy to manoeuvre around the city thanks to its sub-compact size, and visibility is good all around. Wind noise starts to creep up at speeds above 100 kph, while road noise and engine noise are minimal. The ride quality is slightly on the firmer side, which can be felt on road imperfections, but smoothens out well on the highway.

We 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 tyres offering tons of grip. We could not find a button to turn off the stability control, so it kept the drama in check when pushed hard, which slightly mellowed the fun factor. What stood out were the strong brakes. One of the track exercises was to accelerate up to 100 kph and hit the brakes. We did that numerous times with our test car, each time halting to a stop very quickly and in a straight line.

2013 Mercedes-Benz A-Class 9

Only one engine variant of the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class is currently being offered here, so buyers will have to depart with around Dhs 136,000 for the base 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 oomph, the A 45 AMG is coming later this year, with a price-tag to match.

Keep track of the latest prices and updates in the Mercedes-Benz A-Class buyer guide.

What do you think?



  1. My face when I saw the back of the car 🙁

  2. what about the seden car ? will they bring it here ?

  3. That price should have potential VW Golf GTI buyers head to the nearest Mercedes-Benz dealer.

    I think overall it has a love it or hate it sort of an exterior design. I do like the interior trim with the red steaks, carbon-fiber dash finish and the sculpted bucket seats..

    I like it…. its ‘A’ in my books

    • Ok.. after having seen the A250 recently in the flesh.. I found no spare wheel, not even a space saver which for me is kind of a let down. Fine the flat run tyre will do the job to get you to the nearest tyre repair shop within 80kms vicinity but if the tyre is damaged beyond repair these are darn expensive to replace.

    • Contacted the showroom manager and they are expecting only the full optioned trim of the A250 Sport as their first batch. The car will be priced at AED 154,000 and includes the following colors: Jupiter Red, Monolith Grey Metallic, Universal Blue, Canyon Beige Metallic, Calcite white and Night Black. Yes, it will be equipped with a lot of ‘assit programmes’ and will include a spare tyre.

      Not entirely sure if AED 154K is well worth the price for a hatchback, even if its from Mercedes.

  4. Which is better overall, this of the Focus ST?

    • Different segments really, although I don’t really see what the Merc offers more other than nicer cabin trim and safety features.

  5. I’ve been to Garagash yesterday. The one you are driving will be around 156 k dirhams -_-” .
    I personally prefere the vw scirocco 2.0 TSI which costs around 140 k. Save 16 000 dirhams , 10 hp, and around 70 Nm tourque when u get the tourbo charged vw.

  6. This A class has got a Nissan?renault engine in it.

    Although I love both Merc & Nissan, but who would wana spend this kind of money on a small Nissan

  7. Gargash told me today that the launch for the A250 is 11th April, until then they wont have it in the showroom. A200 will come later, and A45 much later (price expected to be >200k).

    Their management are still undecided about whether to sell the CLA.. as it “may conflict with C Class sales” .. what?! Big mistake if they dont bring the CLA in my view.

  8. Went and looked at the vehicle in the flesh at Gargash and it is handsome. The interior is spoilt by the screen which definitely looks like it was stuck on as an afterthought. They are asking AED 150K which in my book is too expensive.

  9. It looks gorgeous inside and out, and you would expect a mercedes to cost a bit more than a fully loaded VW equivalent (a GTI in this case, a top spec 2012 was 140k), but indeed that screen looks just terrible and it doesnt look like it has a rear view cam (which the GTI does). But the major turn off for me was the complete lack of luggage space due to the spare wheel sitting in the trunk rather than under it. Poor design MB.

  10. I am so gona not buy this new let people who have money to burn buy new and a year later it will available for less than 80k and this is the worth of a hatch back and even then I am going to get kicked 🙂 same goes for the Harris sized sedan cla it’s a brand cache so people will buy in doves and put their three point keys on their tab.e top to impress poor friends or the girls sitting across 🙂 it’s a feel good car and for mera to have something in portfolio that will give good gas milage due to the cafe 2015 and 2025 requirement which will see fleet act of about 35 mpg across the board :$

  11. A class starts at 136,000 AED , the one with the AMG sport editions plus package is aound AED 150,000

    A fully loaded one would be around AED 165,000.

    For the sportines and the new features AED 150,000 would be the best option .

    In love with the car .

    Much better than the VW once you drive it

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