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2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 8.0

The 2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class has well-rounded performance, with a peppy engine and refined transmission. Its handling is surprisingly sporty, but the all-wheel-drive version’s ride quality can be a bit harsh.

  • "While the A220 is more than capable of keeping up with fast-moving traffic, the chassis is talkative and lively enough (especially with its sport options) that we couldn’t help but think what a future AMG version might be capable of." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "From behind the wheel, the A-class is agreeable, with our largest complaint being that you can’t really feel much of anything at all through the steering wheel. Handling is confident, and the performance tires provided plenty of grip, but the A-class doesn’t rip or snarl or demand to be driven harder, instead preferring to exude a chiller vibe; an anticipated AMG version will be the red-mist machine." -- Autoweek
  • "On the road, it's immediately clear the powertrain is more refined than the CLA's. Mercedes still used a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, but this unit's shifts are smooth, even in stop-and-go traffic. And although 188 hp isn't a lot these days, the 2.0-liter turbo-four has plenty of pep for everyday driving. The exhaust sounds better than expected, too." -- Motor Trend

Acceleration and Power

The Mercedes-Benz A-Class comes standard with a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder turbocharged engine that produces 188 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is also standard. Fuel economy estimates are not available.

The A-Class has sufficient power to get moving from a stop, with consistent throttle response as you accelerate. The transmission provides sharp and precise shifts.

  • "From a standstill, the A-Class accelerates with a brief hesitation, like when you engage the clutch with a manual transmission. After that, speeds increase rapidly enough that you don't feel the need to floor it to match highway traffic. It has more power than the typical driver wants and just enough for those who enjoy going fast." -- Edmunds
  • "The new 2.0-turbo engine is impressively smooth and linear in its response, eager to run to its 6,500-rpm redline and with full torque feeling like it arrives arrive low in the rev range. … The 7-speed dual-clutch transmission is up to the task, with quick, smooth shifts whether in automatic mode or using the wheel-mounted paddle shifters." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "We'll get the A-Class in front-wheel-drive A220 and all-wheel-drive A220 4Matic variants in the US, both powered by the same 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 engine with 188 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. That's a fair bit less than the 208 horsepower and 258 pound-feet made by the CLA250's 2.0-liter engine, but don't let that discourage you. The A220 is far peppier than its numbers might suggest." -- CNET

Handling and Braking

The A-Class comes standard with front-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive is optional. Steering is sharp and responsive, and the handling is sporty overall. The ride quality is a little bit of a mixed bag, with some reviewers thinking it depends on the drivetrain. FWD models have a smoother ride than AWD models.

  • "The 4Matic car is poorly damped, bouncing on its springs over every road imperfection – enough, probably, to induce carsickness in those prone to it. Contrast this with the typical European-style damping of the front-drive car, firmly absorbing most bumps with a bit of crash over larger ones. The optional 19-inch wheels are probably responsible for the crashiness, and other trims will offer smaller sizes. But we have no idea how to explain the discrepancy between the two ostensibly equivalent suspensions, which other drivers reported in their 4Matic cars. We hope Mercedes makes an adjustment here before the cars go on sale. As it stands, the front-driver has a vastly superior ride." -- Autoblog
  • "Mercedes also seems to have banished the CLA's harsh-riding suspension. All U.S.-market A-class models have a multilink rear suspension and struts up front; wheels range in size from 17 to 19 inches. Both preproduction cars we drove, a front-driver and an all-wheel-drive 4Matic model, were fitted with the 19-inchers and optional adaptive dampers. Each car delivered a comfortable and well-controlled ride, although the front-drive model was better damped, with a bit less impact harshness and subsequent body motion. Steering feel is good, with a natural heft to the wheel that translates into precise handling." -- Car and Driver
  • "On a curvy road, our A 220 4Matic exceeds expectations, encouraging lively cornering with very well-managed body roll and precise steering responses. … Even more impressive, the ride quality doesn't suffer because of the firm suspension. Unlike the early CLA models, this A-Class eagerly soaks up imperfect road surfaces and isn't fazed by bumps in a curve. Skipping the optional suspension would likely give the A 220 an even more comfortable ride." -- Edmunds

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