For most of the last century, the concept of a compact, hatchback-sized Mercedes must have seemed ludicrous. This was a certified luxury brand with models to appease the rich and famous – or those who fancied themselves as one of the above – and people like that preferred their Mercedes cars to be big and bold. But from 1997, Mercedes turned that idea on its head with its then all-new A-Class, which promised to cram the brand’s class and quality into a compact package. And boy did it work. The A-Class is a Mercedes top-seller, and a cinch top-seller, too.
Today’s cinch Spotlight car illustrates why the A-Class, now in its fourth generation, is such a brilliant proposition. With hatchback dimensions, the A-Class is well-suited to town driving, easy to park and simple to operate no matter your experience level. But Mercedes build quality and toughness ensures it’s equally at home doing hundreds of miles in the outside lane of the motorway, among executive saloons and SUVs alike. Combine those traits, and the human behind the wheel feels like they’re in a car of greater stature. It’s a lovely feeling.
Mercedes isn’t the only one to have nailed this brief; BMW followed suit when it produced the 1 Series from 2004, offering higher-level BMW character in a package you can easily park in an old multistorey. The 1 Series is great. But Mercedes has maintained a unique position in the class when it comes to pizzazz, something emphasised by the car we’re focusing on here. With AMG Line trim, it wears 10-spoke, 18-inch alloys badged with that famous AMG lettering, while the bumpers are styled with a discreet, sporty look. Inside, you get a flat-bottomed steering wheel (because wannabe race car), red stitching and aviation-inspired chrome vents. It looks the part.
But, true to its name, this A-Class wears all of that jewellery while being powered by an eco-focused, sensible engine. You can, if you prefer, find A-Classes that will blow your socks off at every touch of the accelerator pedal – see the positively mad 421hp A45 S in cinch’s stock here. But this A200 AMG Line is intended to be relaxing, easy to drive and cheap on fuel. It is, with 163hp from a turbocharged 1.3-litre engine, punchy. But with a clever seven-speed automatic gearbox and soft, comfy seats, this car’s true intent is clear. It’s a Mercedes through and through, offering plushness above all else.
Dare we say it, this particular car, three years old and with only 27,486 miles on the clock, looks particularly fresh in its shade of silver. Like all of cinch’s cars, it’s undergone our thorough inspections by highly trained technicians, meaning this A200 AMG Line is ready and waiting to make its next custodian feel all smug. If you’ve seen our latest TV ad, you’ll know what that looks like. Best of all, with a price of £24,450 – and flexible finance deals to match – this step onto the Mercedes ladder needn’t cost the bank. Come to think of it, the same’s true for the 131 other A-Classes on the site…