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I was driving along the surprisingly empty roads of Gurgaon one morning when I saw this young kid enjoying the breeze through his family car’s sunroof. I pulled up next to their car at a traffic signal and the expression on his face as he screamed ‘Mercedes!’ was enough to tell me that the brand’s strategy to attract the younger lot had worked. He literally kicked his father, or someone I assume was his father, to show him the A-Class while projecting a megawatt smile. His day was clearly off to a good start.

The A-Class is definitely a head turner, especially in the new Elbaite Green. Trivia time: elbaite was discovered in 1913 on the island of Elba in Italy. It is perhaps the most multi-coloured mineral as it is found in almost every colour of the spectrum. This colour really makes the A-Class stand out in the sea of drab whites and silvers 
on the road, and is guaranteed to get you some admiring looks.

Mercedes A Class (1)

In tune with ze German philosophy, the facelift is more to get customers to buy a newer model and not because the A-Class really needed one. There are redesigned bumpers, a new LED headlamp cluster and ‘Mercedes Benz’ written on headlamps and tail-lamps, a detail which I think is overdoing it a bit. If someone has to read these to know it’s a Merc, I guess a visit to an ophthalmologist is 
long overdue.Up front, the diamond grille has been stripped of its bling and is all black now, which looks quite nice. At the rear, the A-Class also adopts the new Mercedes nomenclature and does away with the ‘CDI’ to be replaced The engine doing duty under the hood is still the 2.1-litre four-cylinder diesel that pumps 136 bhp at 3600-4400 rpm and 30.59

The engine doing duty under the hood is still the 2.1-litre four-cylinder diesel that pumps 136 bhp at 3600-4400 rpm and 30.59 kgm at 1400-3000 rpm. Not even close to being a hot hatch, but it has enough for your daily city driving. However, don’t despair as the A-Class now gets Dynamic Select, definitely the biggest change over the previous A-Class. This plain-looking button lets you choose between Comfort, Eco, Sport and Individual driving modes. Put it in Sport all the time and you may forget this is the same engine.

Mercedes A Class (4)
Keeping in the spirit of the Sport mode, there are paddle shifters which make you realise how good the 7-speed DCT gearbox is. If you have passengers you don’t like, the stiff suspension in Sport mode is enough to ensure they never ride with you again. For people you like, you could choose Comfort mode and let the dampers soak in the bumps effectively.

On the inside, the sports seats in ARTICO fabric with green inserts are quite cool. The other cool change is the panoramic sunroof that is standard now. Most other elements stay the same except for a new instrument cluster, a slightly bigger infotainment screen and an updated COMAND system with support for Mercedes apps. The new steering wheel is nice to hold but has 12 buttons. Yeah, 12!

Mercedes A Class (3)

At Rs 25.95 lakh, the facelifted A 200d is the least expensive ticket to your entry into the three-pointed star’s diesel family. For the price, it may not be the most powerful or the most practical option, but it has the looks and features you want in a luxury car going for it. If you need more convincing, just look at the gorgeous Elbaite Green and you’ll be sold.

Mercedes-Benz A 200d

Displacement: 2143cc, i-4, turbodiesel
Max power: 136 bhp@3600-4400 rpm
Max torque: 30.5 kgm@2200-5000 rpm
Transmission: 7-speed DCT

Front: Spring strut, wishbone with coil springs and gas pressure struts
Rear: Wishbone, control arms with coil springs and gas pressure struts

(F/R): Internally ventilated disc/ ventilated disc

L/W/H (mm): 4299/1780/1433
Wheelbase: 2699mm
Ground clearance: 160mm
Kerb weight: 2000 kg
Tank capacity: 50 litres

(F/R): 205/55 R16

0-100 kph: 8.8 secs (claimed)
Top speed: 210 kph (claimed)

PRICE: Rs 25.95 Lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)