Looking to get Mercedes-Benz's coveted three-pointed-star badge in your life on the cheap? The new A-class sedan is your ticket, replacing the CLA-class as the least expensive new Benz you can buy today. We've driven the A-class and found it to be a convincing offering in the entry-luxury class, what with its sharp handling and rich interior trimmings-but that was a fully loaded model, and the A-class starts to look like less of a value when its sticker crests $50,000.
How cheap can the A-class be, really, if you dress it up to best mimic a real Mercedes? The A-class at its $33,495 base price is not quite well equipped enough to make a case for itself as a true premium piece, so we started adding options to see how much our properly spec'd A220 would cost.
MODEL WE'D PICK:
- A220 (base price: $33,495)
Currently, the A-class is only available in the United States as the A220. This model uses a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. We skipped the $2000 4Matic all-wheel-drive option not only to save cost, but also because we suspect the lighter front-wheel-drive car could be quicker than the 4Matic model, which achieved an already impressive 6.1-second dash from zero to 60 mph in our hands.
OPTIONS WE'D CHOOSE:
- Premium package ($1550)
- AMG Line package ($2600)
- Titanium Gray/Black leather upholstery ($1450)
- Burmester sound system ($850)
- Heated front seats ($580)
- Blind-spot monitoring ($550)
- 19-inch 14-spoke wheels ($500)
- 64-color LED ambient lighting ($310)
We want our A-class to have visual presence befitting a baby Benz, so we went for the no-cost Jupiter Red paint and chose the AMG Line package that adds a body kit, a classy-looking grille, and bits of sportier interior trim. We thought that the gray and black interior leather complemented the red exterior nicely; red and black leather is available, too, but the red-on-red look felt a bit too loud for this car. The Premium package brings on plenty of useful tech, including large display screens for the infotainment screen and instrument cluster, and convenience features such as proximity-key entry. Other stand-alone options we added range from the practical (blind-spot monitoring) to the just plain fun (multicolor ambient lighting).
This all adds up to a nicely equipped baby Benz that, while far from fully loaded, offers plenty of luxury bang for your buck. Our A-class rings up at $41,885, conveniently just below the starting price of the one-size-up C-class.
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