snowgood

A class act?

In BMW on August 12, 2013 at 8:25 am

photo copy 3The first time I saw the new A Class was on the M20 motorway shortly after decanting from the channel tunnel.

A spectacularly weird black AMG version with BLIS door mirrors came whizzing up behind me, and I thought “Whatever’s that?”

The shape was so different to any other car I was quite surprised, as we jockeyed for position in the London bound carriageway.

When I was alongside, or just behind I could see a bright red light beneath the mirrors alerting the driver to vehicles in his blind spot.  Clever?  Certainly.  A welcome “extra”?  I’m not sure, unless of course you’re driving on the wrong side of the road like this LHD car in a  Right Hand Drive Britain.

Perhaps you can switch the system off?

Anyhow one things for sure, the gawky front end hasn’t grown on me.  Like so many Mercs this one has a clumsy style, which is a shame because I really rate the interior.

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It’s a long time since I owned a car without leather seats, but the honest truth is I’d rather have a velour or good cloth if only the manufacturers made them available.  The standard check fabric finish on this 180 oil burner were just fine.  The car I drove was purely to get a feel against the rival BMW I series, and in many ways it had the blue propellor licked for interior appeal.

I’m not convinced by the iPad style “floating screen”, but then this “boggo” spec came without the “Comand Sat-Nav” so I couldn’t avoid feeling short changed.

One thing that surprised me was how intuitive the little stalk was for selecting “Drive, Neutral, or Reverse”.  Very American, but actually neater than any conventional floor mounted lever or knob.  Mind you I have an inherent distrust of electronic hand brakes, and didn’t gel with the little dash mounted lever.

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So what’s it like to drive?

Noisy!  At less than 40 mph I was checking the electric windows, as the road noise was quite pronounced.  Then there was the agricultural DERV engine.  Quite why anyone is so keen to protect their wallet they think this unit makes sense is beyond me, what about protection against headaches?

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Being a hum drum version I can’t report any terrific sense of involvement from the helm. In fact I only went a few miles before deciding enough was enough.  I checked out boot space (good), rear comfort (good) and thought I’d take it back and try something else.

Something like the equivalent 1 series…..

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