Joy of joys for those looking to get into a premium badge for as little money as possible, with very low running costs. Mercedes-Benz has just launched the most affordable variants they will ever offer for their A- and B-Class offerings in Europe.
For that kind of cash, you get the same K-series 1.5-liter DCi engine featured in any Dacia model, putting out 90PS (89hp). The motor also powers the Renault Clio, and even the larger Laguna gets it, though it gets the version with more boost and 109hp. In fact, Renault is swapping out the old 1.5 for a new, more modern and much more powerful 1.6-liter DCi, which has already made its debut under the bonnet of several Rhombus-badged cars where it has received high praise for being better than the old unit in literally every single way.
Powering the A- and B-Class, the 89hp unit does provide progress, but not of the swift kind, as the benchmark sprint to 100km/h (62mph) is reached in 13.8 seconds and 14 seconds flat respectively. Top speed is decent, at 180 km/h (112 mph) just try not to look when an A45 AMG shoots past much faster than your A160 could ever go.
However, what the A45 will never be able to do is match these diesel cars’ economy figures, which for the A160 CDI is 3.8 l/100 km (74.3 mpg UK), while the B160 does 4.0 l/100 km (70.6 mpg UK), and the main incentive for their purchase (and the badge, of course).
By Andrei Nedelea