It might be considerably crass to recommend the one purpose Mercedes has added a trio of plug-in hybrid variations to its small automobile vary is to assist it meet upcoming and ever-stringent emissions laws.
But mass-market vehicles like the brand new A-Class PHEV will considerably cut back the corporate’s general CO2 score, permitting it to keep away from some pretty vital fines. Automobiles like these even have the potential to usher sizeable tax advantages to these contemplating shopping for one when order books open subsequent month.
Mercedes has crushed its rivals to the punch. No different automobile on this class – other than the now defunct Volkswagen Golf GTE – gives a useable all-electric vary, not to mention one in all greater than 40 miles on a single cost. BMW will add a PHEV model to the brand new 1 Sequence vary within the close to future, however we’ll have to attend till the A3 is changed earlier than Audi gives its government hatch with a plug.
Primarily based on the A 200, the brand new Mercedes A 250 e will get that automobile’s turbocharged 1.Three-litre petrol engine, mated to a 15.6kWh battery and a 75kW electrical motor. Whole system output jumps from 158bhp to a not-insignificant 215bhp.
Mercedes claims a WLTP-rated vary of 42 miles – equating to a staggering 201.7mpg. That latter determine is considerably meaningless, nonetheless, as with frequent prices you can fairly run this automobile for months with out filling it up with gasoline even as soon as. The actual fact it emits solely 33g/km of CO2 shall be extra related to enterprise customers, who will save a fortune in firm automobile tax; for the 2019/20 tax 12 months, it sits within the very lowest BiK bracket.
The A 250 e will cost from 10-100 per cent full in 1hr45minutes utilizing a 7.4kW Wallbox. Mercedes says these with entry to DC charging (not within the UK for now) can high up from 10-80 per cent in simply 25 minutes. Both approach, it’ll be straightforward to recharge in a single day or on the workplace, for instance.
Early plug-in hybrids had been delicate to even mild throttle inputs, with something greater than a slight prod inflicting the engine to kick in and the revs to soar. The identical can’t be stated of the A 250 e; transfer away from junctions and also you’ll be amazed at how far you possibly can push earlier than waking the petrol unit. The moment torque means it feels fairly fast, too, hitting 62mph in a sizzling hatch-rivalling 6.6 seconds.
The high-voltage battery provides round 150kg to the A-Class hatch, however you solely discover this when actually throwing the automobile round. In fact, A 250 e consumers are more likely to spend most of their time in stop-start commuter visitors, or working up and down the motorway – the place the advantages of the hatchback’s silent working far outweigh the added bulk.
It’s quiet on the transfer, and may run on electrical energy proper as much as 87mph. That is notably pleasing, as a result of Merc’s Renault-sourced 1.Three-litre isn’t famed for its refinement. It sounds notably thrashy beneath onerous acceleration, which inspires you to prioritise electrical propulsion.
There are 4 drive modes: Electrical, Consolation, Sport or Particular person. The primary is self-explanatory, whereas Consolation goals to intelligently mix use of the engine and electrical motor. Sport retains the engine fired, whereas Particular person lets you tune sure facets of the automobile to your tastes.
In Electrical, you should use the steering wheel paddles to regulate the extent of brake regeneration. There are 5 settings, but it surely’s an intuitive system and straightforward to utilise on the fly; you possibly can successfully sluggish the automobile by flicking the left paddles, shaving your pace progressively earlier than bringing you to a halt. Frustratingly, when in Consolation this identical course of controls the gearbox, inflicting the engine to fireplace when driving on electrical energy.
The steering is correct, however the trip is a blended bag. It’s by no means sharp or jarring, but it surely isn’t as subtle as some rivals. Weight performs a component right here, however even the outgoing VW Golf feels extra composed round city. Early indications recommend all UK A 250 e fashions will are available AMG Line spec, inevitably issuing larger wheels and barely stiffer suspension.
These specs shall be revealed quickly, however utilizing the usual A 200 AMG Line as a information ought to guarantee all vehicles get 18-inch wheels, a diamond-style radiator grille, privateness glass and sports activities seats. LED lights, two-zone local weather management and keyless go also needs to be included, whereas varied possibility packages will deliver issues just like the bigger inside screens, augmented actuality sat-nav and a panoramic roof.
If the anticipated £32,500 listing value is to be believed, it seems just like the PHEV will command a premium of round £Three,500 over an equal A 200. Nevertheless, use it as meant (and match the quoted 201.7mpg) and you can save 1000’s on gasoline alone.