Mercedes-Benz A250 Engineered by AMG 4Matic
If you’re looking to buy a Golf GTI, the motoring press would tell you to look towards the Ford Focus ST and Vauxhall Astra VXR as competitors for your money – both cars are cheaper, and both are faster. But are they competitors, really? When you think about it, a Volkswagen Golf is so far ahead than those two cars on badge appeal, refinement, and residuals that they can’t really touch the appeal of a GTI – it’s all-round abilities make it an impeccable family hot hatch.
For a long time, there have been no German competitors to the Golf GTI. That has now changed. In 2013, Mercedes-Benz launched their new A-Class and with it the A250 Engineered by AMG. This car sits second to top in the A-Class range, behind only the super expensive and ludicrously fast A45 AMG.
The A250 Engineered by AMG is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine that produces 208 bhp and 258 lb /ft of torque between 1200 and 4000 rpm. It boasts a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission complete with flappy paddles and combined with its all-wheel-drive, it will sprint from 0 – 62 mph in 6.5 seconds and go on to a top speed of 149 mph.
Fast? You bet. Put your foot down in the A250 and it surges forward with all the gusto you’d expect a hot family hatch to. It is actually a lot quicker than you expect, and especially so above 2000 rpm when the engine is safely developing its maximum torque. The engine is extremely flexible and offers good pull in any gear. The only problem is the gearbox; it just isn’t as sharp as it needs to be, and it dumbs down what is a peach of a power plant. The 7-speed auto might keep CO2 emissions below 150 g/km, but it’s so hopelessly slow that to drive the VW alternative feels like a god-send.
And then there’s the ride. It’s harsh. No matter how smooth a road is and no matter how slowly you go over speed bumps the A250 Engineered by AMG shakes from the inside it gets down-right annoying after a while. We have Mercedes to thank for this – the Engineered by AMG has a different suspension set up to the Sport, something which was done to create a firmer ride and a better twisty road experience.
Still, at least this A-Class looks fantastic. It benefits from larger 18-inch alloy wheels, a unique pin-type grill that’s nothing short of stunning and lots of little AMG badges.
The biggest issue with the A-Class A250 Engineered by AMG is not any of the above, though. Simply, it is currently close to £3000 more than a 5-door Golf GTI. When the Volkswagen Golf R is released sometime next year with 296 bhp and more road presence than even an A45, the A250 Engineered by AMG will cost only £1000 less than it. So, when you take into account this cars performance, and what the future beholds, this Mercedes-Benz simply isn’t a good deal.
So it looks great, it goes well, but you’d have to really, really love the A250’s pin-type grill to buy one.