In every family, the youngest of the sibling is always referred to as a 'brat'. It is a universal truth and something that is very close to my heart, because I have been referred to it so many times that I have lost count of the people who think I am that. It's amazing the amount of attention you demand because you are a 'brat' and sometimes you just feel that you deserve every bit of it but then again there are people who have a problem with that and they are called - relatives.
But I digress. The point that I am trying to make here is that the younger sibling is always the most beautiful and the most sought after and the most mischievous (pardon me if I sound narcissistic). My opinion is given a boost by Mercedes-Benz India as the youngest of the lot of cars - the A-Class, is all that and a lot more.
There is hardly anyone who is not smitten by the looks of Mercedes-Benz's hatchback. In its 3rd generation now, the A-Class has got everything going for it when it comes to looks. It's jaw-droppingly handsome and you might just forget everything in front of you (for a brief while) and stand and stare at the curves and the muscles this little hatch shows off.
The front-grille has that beautiful diamond-studded look (306 of them) and the head lamps are so well integrated into the body that the swept back looks and the LED day-time running lights add to the glamour of the entire car. So, when you sit inside the car, expect to get noticed. And even if you are in traffic snarls, you will notice a few windows rolling down and some portable devices with flash lights peeping out of it and capturing a snapshot of the A-Class. There have been pursuits as well with bikers but that's the life of a celebrity, I guess.
But does it help make a quick getaway when needed? Indeed it does. Though the badge at the rear says '180 CDI' the engine displacement is 2143cc and is a similar motor which we have seen on the C-Class, M-Class and E-Class in the 220 and 250 CDI forms. Since the A-Class is based on the MFA platform (Modular Front Architecture) it comes with a front-wheel drive setup and the engine produces 107bhp and a massive 250Nm torques.
The diesel variant which I drove was slightly heavier than its petrol cousin and sometimes you do feel this has an effect on the pace of the car. Yes, it's brisk but still not quick. But it is the 7-DCT double-clutch transmission that makes this a joy to drive. Even in horrid traffic conditions, it's a bliss and can actually pick itself up seamlessly from any gear. Even the transition from one gear to another is smooth.
You of course, have the option of choosing between Eco, Sports and Manual modes and if there is an urgent overtaking in the stride, just switch to Manual or Sports and the A-Class will respond.
Winding roads are what you need with this car. The stiff suspension, the speed and the amount of grip the 225/45 R17's extract is just phenomenal. Your confidence to blast through those bends quadruples and you just want to keep attacking the corners.
There is a flipside though, to having low profile 17-inch tyres and a stiff suspension setup. At low speeds, you do feel every bump that comes your way and it just knocks you around, but the ride is supremely better when you pick up speed and in a straight-line like say the highway or expressway it crosses that 3-digit figure with sheer ease and you won't feel a thing.
But again, once you are in the city, you have to watch out for those speed breakers which await to scrape the underbelly. You do have to be extremely careful especially if the car is loaded with people.
Inside, the A-Class is all class and luxury but the interiors are more worked around the needs of the driver rather than the passengers. The driver gets a fully-electrically adjustable seat while the passenger has to do these adjustments manually. Then there is the 5.8-inch COMAND screen above the air-con vents which does not distract at all, while a few cup holders and cubbyholes in and around the front prove to be helpful.
As part of the entertainment, it gets Bluetooth, USB and Aux-In and that's all sorted. It does not come with climate control though and you would expect it to get it but surprisingly, it doesn't!
Mercedes-Benz has priced the A-Class diesel at ₹ 21.93 lakhs and the petrol is a little more expensive but that is because it gets a few more features and a panoramic sunroof. This little brat is most definetly the most affordable Mercedes car in the country today and it has what it takes to charm its way into the hearts of the buyers.
So, emphasizing on my point again, the younger sibling is always the most loved, adored and given the long end of the rope. The A-Class screams youth and that is why it becomes a very tempting option.