Entry-level models from automobile manufacturers generally tend to be pared down versions of upper echelon offerings and can often be lacking in overall appeal. Not so with the 2019 Mercedes-Benz A220 4MATIC sedan in AMG trim, which moves in to take the place of the Mercedes CLA, which was formerly the starting point for those aspiring to join the Mercedes clan. It serves up considerably more than the average entry-level luxury vehicle.
The new A220 4MATIC sedan is definitely worthy of sporting the iconic 3-pointed star emblem. In a word, it is “properly” a Mercedes-Benz through and through. It would not even be out of context to place it in the realm of ranking the A220 sedan as a “Baby S-Class” in terms of its technological content. It is truly and surprisingly a most proper Mercedes.
Essentially, it is a sleek and sporty mobile device, especially in the AMG Line package, which provides added the $2,600 AMG Line package, which for $2,600 adds unique bodywork, a lowered suspension, a chrome-finish diamond-block grille, and perforated front brake discs. Toss in the 19-inch AMG black 14-spoke 19-inch wheels for another $500 and the aggressive persona is completed, giving the A-Class a younger image and closing the gap between a C-Class and more particularly the CLA, in a more desirable manner.
Beneath the bodywork, the new A-Class, which has grown up considerably, is based on an evolved version of the transverse engine architecture of the existing CLA “four-door coupe”. It is some three inches shorter than the CLA, which was, in reality, was actually always a sedan and never a coupe. True Coupes have only two doors.
Despite the reduction in length, the four-door, five-passenger sedan’s headroom and legroom are substantially better in both rows and the rear seat becomes not only usable but also genuinely comfortable for two adults.
The new A220 comes with but one powertrain here on our shores – a front mounted 2.0-liter, DOHC, 16-valve inline turbocharged four cylinder engine with Gasoline Direct Injection that churns out 188 horsepower in a range from 5,500-6,100 rpm along with 221 lb.-ft. of torque from 1,600 to 4,000 rpm. Motive force is geared to either the rear wheels or optionally to Mercedes’ 4MATIC, all-wheel drive system via a 7G DCT seven-speed dual clutch automatic transmission with a manual shifting mode and paddle shifters. The engine is a detune version of the European A250 with 20 more horses and 37 lb.-ft of torque.
U.S. Market cars feature struts forward and a multilink rear suspension aft delivering a smoother ride.
COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE
Convenience features and comfort through advanced state-of-the-art technology are where the new A220 shine. The A-Class cabin is one of the most pleasant places in which to spend your time in a recent production vehicle. The design of the dashboard and the large greenhouse provide an airier feeling. Switchgear would feel right at home in a more upscale Benz, with dual displays positioned atop the center console.
Twin 7-inch screens – one for the driver’s instrumentation and one for the infotainment and HVAC come as standard fare, with twin 10.25-inch upgrades provided as part of the $2,100 Premium Package. A 64-color ambient lighting system is available adding a nice warm, inviting touch.
The A-Class is the first to bring Mercedes’ new MBUX infotainment system to market, with the biggest change being the “Hey Mercedes” smart assistant – a sort of an automotive Alexa. Navigation instructions may be accessed in several ways, and Like Alexa, one can ask general knowledge questions. “Hey Mercedes” ties into the car’s HVAC and other systems as well, like adjusting the temperature by voice.
A screen accessible Multimode selector provides a choice of four modes: Individual for manual shifting; Sport; Comfort; and Eco – the latter three alter throttle response, shift points and steering effort.
The driving experience delivered by the 2019 Mercedes-Benz A220 4MATIC AMG equipped sedan is far greater than one would expect from any entry-level vehicle from any manufacturer. It is so nice, that it could well impact C-Class popularity and sales.
Turbo lag is virtually non-existent, with outstanding throttle response and the DCT transmission moves up and down through the gears smoothly in both auto and manual modes.
The ride quality is smooth and compliant, yet exhibits superb on-road stability, and the steering provides a spot-on feel with instant responsiveness.
Seats are both supportive and comfortable in this exceedingly attractive sedan.
The 2019 Mercedes-Benz A220 4MATIC AMG equipped sedan is likely the best entry-level luxury sport vehicle available in its class. With its elitist good looks and good driving feel, it’s definitely a winner. Load it up with all the available options and it tops the $50,000 price point. If you’re the sporty type and want more zip, you may want to wait for the hotter 2020 A35
SPECIFICATIONS: 2019 Mercedes-Benz A220 4MATIC Sedan
Base Price: $34,500.
Price as Tested: $50,485.
Engine Type and Size: 2.0-liter, DOHC, 16-valve inline turbocharged four cylinder with Direct Injection
Horsepower (bhp): 188 @ 5,500-6,100 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 221 @ 1,600-4,000 rpm
Transmission: 7G DCT seven-speed dual clutch automatic with manual shifting mode and paddle shifters.
Drive Train: Longitudinally mounted front engine / 4MATIC all-wheel drive.
Suspension: Four-wheel independent
Front -MacPherson strut/wishbone
Rear – Multilink
Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel discs (vented front) with ABS, ESC, and Active Brake Assist.
Tires: Pirelli P-Zero 225/40 R19 93W mounted on 14-spoke AMG black-painted alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 107.4 inches
Length Overall: 179.1 inches
Width: 78.4 inches
Height: 56.9 inches
Curb Weight: 3,395 lbs.
Turning Circle: 36.1 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 13.5 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 13.0 mpg-city / 17 mpg hwy
Drag Coefficient: 0.27
0 – 60 mph: 7.1 seconds – Top speed=130 mph
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Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.