Mercedes A-Class vs Volkswagen Golf vs Audi A3

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Through the years the Mercedes A-Class has morphed from what was an modern rethink on the small MPV to a gawky also-ran, earlier than a complete redesign in 2012 turned it right into a completely aggressive premium household hatchback. Now Mercedes has had one other modern rethink with the fourth-generation A-Class.

The newest model takes its design inspiration from the agency’s new, high-end fashions such because the CLS, whereas the inside guarantees to supply a degree of tech and high quality just about unseen earlier than on this sector.

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However this space of the market is full of premium rivals which have confirmed their potential again and again. First up is the Volkswagen Golf, which has grow to be the benchmark on this class over a long time of evolution.

In its present Mk7.5 type it delivers house, economic system, high quality and an amazing degree of know-how. Mercedes does battle throughout the board with Audi, and on paper that model’s A3 Sportback is a package deal with which the A-Class is carefully aligned and should beat. Stable driving dynamics and funky tech imply the Audi offers a stern check.

Nevertheless, our winner should mix a protracted listing of attributes, whereas the monetary issue may even come into it. So let’s discover out which automotive is the strongest providing. 

Mercedes A-Class

Mannequin: Mercedes A 200 AMG Line
Value:  £28,700
Engine:  1.Three-litre 4cyl turbo, 161bhp 
Zero-60mph:  7.four seconds
Take a look at economic system:  41.2mpg/9.1mpl 
CO2:  123g/km 
Annual street tax:  £140

As is the way in which with the newest automotive in any class, there’s a number of new tech for this 2018 Mercedes A-Class. We’re testing the A 200 petrol in AMG Line trim, which begins at a reasonably dear £28,700 – however its rivals value related cash, too, so can it beat them?

The A-Class’s downsized engine boasts extra energy than its VW Group rivals, and on check it asserted its authority, taking the automotive from Zero-60mph in 7.four seconds, which was 4 tenths quicker than the Volkswagen and the Audi.

Nevertheless, the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox isn’t as snappy in handbook mode and holds on to ratios longer than its DSG opponents in auto, so regardless of its further energy the Mercedes was solely as quick because the Golf by way of the ratios from 30 to 70mph (6.eight seconds) and two tenths slower than the lighter Audi.

The facility benefit got here to the fore as soon as extra throughout our in-gear assessments, the place the A 200 simply shaded its opponents in many of the checks. Nevertheless, it was not by a such a margin that the A-Class had a discernable benefit on the street.

However the engine does really feel extra strained than the 1.5 turbo models in its rivals, which is partly as a result of drone it makes underneath load. The facility supply has a number of noticeable steps decrease down within the rev vary, too, and isn’t as clean as both the VW or Audi.

That can be true of the experience. It’s not probably the most forgiving at low velocity and regardless of that extra refined multi-link rear axle, the A-Class struggles to deal with quicker, harsher imperfections, jiggling the physique and, consequently, the occupants round inside.

Issues clean out at increased velocity and the Mercedes offers with rolling street surfaces nicely, however an enormous, jagged bump will nonetheless clatter up by way of the suspension.

There’s a very good diploma of composure, although, and whereas the automotive feels benign it does encourage sufficient confidence because of its stability.

Testers’ notes: All A-Lessons have lowered sports activities suspension, so if you happen to’re after extra experience consolation than dynamic dealing with, take into consideration the trim you select. Sport spec will get 17-inch wheels; this AMG Line has 18s. 

Volkswagen Golf

Mannequin: Volkswagen Golf 1.5 TSI EVO DSG R-Line 5dr
Value:  £26,980
Engine:  1.5-litre 4cyl turbo, 148bhp 
Zero-60mph:  7.eight seconds
Take a look at economic system:  38.6mpg/eight.5mpl 
CO2:  114g/km
Annual street tax:  £140

In each sense the Volkswagen Golf is the automotive the A-Class has to beat. It’s our present favorite household hatchback and blends premium attraction with practicality and know-how. At £26,980, this 1.5 TSI EVO DSG mannequin in R-Line trim is the most affordable right here.

The powertrain is a recognized amount, and at our check monitor it carried out nicely, with a clean swell of torque low down (250Nm to match the Mercedes, however produced decrease down from 1,500rpm) that delivered respectable acceleration.

As we’ve already seen, it wasn’t fairly as fast because the A 200, however this 1.5 TSI EVO Golf pulls nicely and is crucially smoother, so whereas it’d lack the previous few tenths in straight- line acceleration, it’s not so essential out on the street.

The transmission makes up for a slight lack of efficiency, too. With the powertrain shared with the A3, the VW and Audi’s dual-clutch containers are extra completed than the Mercedes’. They shift faster in handbook mode and are barely smoother in auto, too.

Because of our automotive’s £850 Dynamic Chassis Management adaptive dampers, the Golf’s damping is as pliant and plush as ever, even on £500 non-compulsory 18-inch alloys. The bigger wheels imply it thumps over potholes just a little extra, however the damping continues to be extra forgiving at low velocity than within the A-Class.

At increased speeds on nation roads these bigger wheels and lower-profile tyres assist, as a result of the Golf delivers all of the agility you would realistically need from a household hatch. However this doesn’t compromise experience high quality or refinement, both. There’s a very good degree of grip to match the Mercedes, whereas the steering is equally lifeless, however barely extra exact.

Together with the experience, it’s just a little extra refined, too. The engine doesn’t sound significantly nice, but it surely doesn’t have the A-Class’s strained be aware, both, whereas wind and street noise are nicely suppressed.

Testers’ notes: Whereas the inside isn’t as trendy because the A-Class’s, the Golf’s ergonomics are sound and every thing is constructed from high-quality supplies that simply match the Mercedes’. 

Audi A3

Mannequin: Audi A3 Sportback 1.5 TFSI S tronic S line
Value:  £28,835
Engine:  1.5-litre 4cyl turbo, 148bhp 
Zero-60mph:  7.eight seconds
Take a look at economic system:  39.0mpg/eight.6mpl 
CO2:  114g/km
Annual street tax:  £140

With an analogous mechanical make-up to the VW, the Audi A3 is one other premium hatch. It appeared earlier than the Mk7 Golf, showcasing some intelligent tech. It’s had some revisions over its six-year life, too, however is it nonetheless aggressive on this class? To search out out, we check a £28,835 1.5 TFSI S tronic in S line trim.

In contrast to the Golf, our A3 didn’t have adaptive dampers, and on £325 18-inch alloys the experience feels crashier than the VW’s. It suffers from an analogous drawback because the Mercedes at decrease speeds, however doesn’t really feel fairly as busy over damaged roads or fidget as a lot on the town. When you get out on to extra open, flowing roads the A3’s chassis set-up makes extra sense, as a result of it’s direct and responsive with loads of stability.

As a result of MQB underpinnings the steering feels much like the VW’s. Nevertheless it doesn’t have a dynamic edge over the Golf and might’t match it for consolation.

The A3’s 1.5 TFSI unit did ship efficiency to match the VW, although, with the low-down torque morphing right into a eager high finish that, for an everyday engine, encourages you to take advantage of the efficiency. It’s matched by a DSG field that delivers clean and fast modifications in handbook mode, whereas in auto it’s largely unobtrusive, with solely the jerky clutch engagement when manoeuvring (an issue the Golf suffers from, too) taking the shine off an in any other case candy engine and gearbox mixture.

Testers’ notes: It’s a disgrace that it’s important to spec the £1,395 Know-how Pack on S line trim to get the Digital Cockpit. It’s not obtainable as a standalone function, as it’s with the Golf. 

Verdict 

First place: Volkswagen Golf

The Golf asserts its authority once more because of its all-round potential. It’s probably the most reasonably priced and comfy selection, but additionally the sweetest to drive, whereas it’ll be cost-effective to run, too. Think about nice commonplace infotainment, extra practicality and loads of high quality, matched by a very good degree of usability, and the VW continues to be the undisputed king of the household hatchback sector.

Second place: Mercedes A-Class

Mercedes’ newest A-Class has taken an enormous leap ahead. It feels extra upmarket because of its superior however non-compulsory infotainment, but whereas the packaging is improved, it’s nonetheless not as sensible because the Golf. It doesn’t drive as nicely, both, primarily on account of an absence of consolation over the VW, and whereas it’s barely faster, it’ll be pricier to purchase and dearer to run than the Golf.  

Third place: Audi A3

Whereas it makes use of related to the Golf, the A3 trails just a little on execution, and 6 years after launch it’s beginning to lag behind one of the best within the class. It’s quick, enjoyable to drive and composed, whereas it gives comparatively sturdy usability. Regardless of spectacular economic system and beautiful high quality, the Audi is the priciest automotive right here, however doesn’t really feel as superior in commonplace type inside. 

Different choices on this class…

BMW 1 Sequence

Mannequin: BMW 120i M Sport Auto 5dr
Value: £29,320
Engine: 2.Zero-litre 4cyl, 181bhp

BMW’s 1 Sequence is among the extra dynamic premium hatchbacks on provide. It has the measure of the A-Class for enjoyment behind the wheel, however even after a facelift, it doesn’t really feel as trendy because the Mercedes.

Infiniti Q30

Mannequin: Infiniti Q30 1.6t Luxe Tech DCT
Value: £30,610
Engine: 1.6-litre 4cyl, 154bhp

The Infiniti Q30 relies on the previous-generation A-Class, however strains up as a premium hatch to rival this crop. But the cabin is cramped, the 1.6 engine feels strained and it’s dear, even in contrast with these fashions.

Figures

Volkswagen Golf 1.5 TSI Evo DSG R-Line 5dr Mercedes A 200 AMG Line Audi A3 Sportback 1.5 TFSI S tronic S line
On the street value/whole as examined £26,980/£34,370 £28,700/£31,710 £28,835/£30,335
Residual worth (after 3yrs/36,000) £10,301/38.2% £11,999/41.eight% £11,926/41.four%
Depreciation £16,679 £16,701 £16,909
Annual tax legal responsibility std/increased charge £1,231/£2,462 £1,424/£2,848 £1,316/£2,363
Annual gasoline value (12okay/20okay miles) £1,829/£Three,Zero48 £1,713/£2,856 £1,810/£Three,Zero17
Insurance coverage group/quote/VED 19/£353/£140 TBC/£676/£140 26/£476/£140
Price of 1st/2nd/third service £16.50pm (2yrs) £28 monthly £170/£338/£170
Size/wheelbase four,258/2,620mm four,531/2,729mm four,313/2,637mm
Top/width 1,429/1,799mm 1,440/1,796mm 1,426/1,785mm
Engine 4cyl in-line/1,498cc 4cyl in-line/1,332cc 4cyl in-line/1,498cc
Peak energy/revs  148/5,000 bhp/rpm 161/5,500 bhp/rpm 148/5,000 bhp/rpm
Peak torque/revs  250/1,500 Nm/rpm 250/1,620 Nm/rpm 250/1,500 Nm/rpm
Transmission  7-speed DSG/fwd 7-speed DCT/fwd 7-speed DSG/fwd
Gas tank capability/spare wheel 50 litres/house saver 43 litres/restore equipment 50 litres/house saver
Boot capability (seats up/down) 380/1,270 litres 370/1,210 litres 380/1,220 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight 1,317/568/1,500kg 1,375/510/1,600kg 1,240/560/1,700kg
Turning circle 10.9 metres 11.Zero metres 10.9 metres
Primary guarantee (miles)/restoration 3yrs (60,000)/3yrs 3yrs (60,000)/3yrs 3yrs (60,000)/3yrs
Driver Energy producer/supplier pos. fifth/20th* 20th/12th* 18th/15th*
NCAP: Grownup/baby/ped./help/stars 94/89/65/71/5 (2012) N/A 95/87/74/86/5 (2012)
Zero-60/30-70mph 7.eight/6.eight secs 7.four/6.eight secs 7.eight/6.6 secs
30-50mph in third/4th Three.2/four.2 secs Three.1/four.four secs Three.2/four.1 secs
50-70mph in fifth/sixth/seventh 6.four/eight.5/11.Zero secs 5.9/eight.Zero/10.5 secs 6.Three/eight.Zero/10.four secs
High velocity/rpm at 70mph  134mph/2,000rpm 139mph/2,000rpm 136mph/2,000rpm
Braking 70-Zero/60-Zero/30-0mph  48.Three/38.Zero/11.5m 49.Zero/37.7/11.1m 42.9/33.Zero/9.8m
Noise exterior/idle/30/70mph 70/44/63/72dB 71/43/62/71dB 70/44/63/72dB
Auto Specific econ. (mpg/mpl)/vary 38.6/eight.5/425 miles 41.2/9.1/390 miles 39.Zero/eight.6/429 miles
Govt city/extra-urban/mixed  45.6/65.7/56.5mpg 41.5/62.eight/53.3mpg 45.6/65.7/56.5mpg
Govt city/extra-urban/mixed  10.Zero/14.5/12.4mpl 9.1/13.eight/11.7mpl 10.Zero/14.5/12.4mpl
Precise/claimed CO2/tax bracket 169/114g/km/23% 158/123g/km/25% 167/114g/km/23%
Airbags/Isofix/park sensors/digital camera Seven/sure/sure/£265 9/y/£1,395*/y Six/sure/sure/£375
Auto field/lane preserve/blindspot/AEB Sure/£550*/£550*/sure Sure/sure/no/sure Y/£1,550*/£500/£475
Local weather ctrl/cruise/leather-based/warmth seats £425/adpt/£1,900/£400 Sure/y/Artico/£1,395* Sure/sure/£1,220/£300
Met paint/LEDs/keyless go/pwr tailgate £575/£995/£375/no £595/y/£2,395*/no £550/sure/£400/no
Nav/digi sprint/DAB/related companies Sure/£495/sure/sure Sure/sure/sure/sure Sure/£1,395*/sure/sure
Wi-fi cost/CarPlay/Android Auto No/sure/sure £495*/£495*/£495* £1,395*/sure/sure