Over the last few years, car buyers have been opting for SUVs because these are unique; in a world full of sedans and hatchback cars, SUVs stand out. Perhaps now the tables have been turned, at least in the luxury car segment—there are so many entry-level SUVs around that a sedan is what will stand out, like this new A-Class Limousine. We drive it on the highways, city roads and even rural roads.
Perhaps Mercedes-Benz has a reason to launch an entry-level sedan, because 53% of the vehicles it sold in India in 2020 were a sedan. The A-Class Limousine (which replaces the CLA sedan) is the longest car in its segment (at 4,549 mm) and has a wheelbase of 2,729 mm.
Like the CLA, the A-Class Limousine is also an eye candy. It’s compact, looks like it won’t get dated even 10 years down the line (the CLA still looks contemporary), and has a coupe-like sloping roof.
The huge interactive screen on the dashboard is a joy to operate. The air vents look like jet engine turbines. The inside door handle is like a piece of art. There is no entry-level model; the A-Class Limousine will be available only as a fully loaded variant.
Legroom and headroom on all four seats is good. However, because there is a huge central tunnel on the floor between the seats, at the rear only two adults can sit comfortably, not three.
There are two engine options. The 1332cc petrol (161bhp; 250Nm) and the 1950cc diesel (148bhp; 320Nm). The petrol gets the 7-speed DCT gearbox and the diesel the 8-speed DCT. The claimed 0-100 km/h acceleration times are 8.3 seconds (petrol) and 8.2 seconds (diesel). Both are available only as two-wheel-drive.
The petrol variant has a super quiet cabin, and the engine is responsive even to a slight touch of the accelerator pedal. While its acceleration time is a millisecond slower than the diesel, it feels faster.
The diesel variant has that noticeable sound inside the cabin when idling; as the car picks up speed that sound almost disappears.
Both the variants handle very well on well-paved highways, and especially on sharp turns the car maintains its line; the tyres just don’t seem to lose grip. The steering feedback (mechanical signals the front tyres send to the steering wheel) is so accurate that you will feel all bumps and dips on the road, and even a pebble under the tyre, through the steering wheel. On bad roads or loose gravel, however, the ride turns rough.
Mercedes-Benz India will launch the A-Class Limousine on March 25, and if it is able to price it in the `35 lakh range, it can well turn out to be a ‘volume’ car for the company in 2021.
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