• Brilliant handling; strong performance; up-market interior; attractive styling
  • Kitsch grille; high price for a hot-hatch; a little too quiet

8 / 10

Mercedes-Benz A250 Sport Review
Mercedes-Benz A250 Sport Review
Mercedes-Benz A250 Sport Review
by James Stanford

Forget everything you’ve read about the Mercedes-Benz A-Class.

The first- and second-generation models were practical and relatively affordable, but they were not much fun to drive and looked like the kind of cars a new-age Noddy would drive.

A blast in the new Mercedes-Benz A250 Sport shows things have changed dramatically with the third-generation car.

The hot-hatch version of the new A-Class range clearly demonstrates Mercedes can build exhilarating cars that don’t have dirty great V8 engines lurking beneath the bonnet. We were beginning to wonder whether it could…

The A-Class range goes on sale on March 1 and kicks off with the 90kW 1.6-litre A180 petrol at $35,600. This is more than $5000 more than the last entry-level car, but comes with a heap more standard gear.

There is a lightly turbocharged 115kW 1.6-litre A200 petrol at $40,900, the same price Mercedes charges for the 100kW (and 300Nm) A200 CDI 1.8-litre diesel.

Hovering above these two is the current hero of the range, the Mercedes-Benz A250 Sport, which uses a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine that makes 155kW at 5500rpm and 350Nm at 1200-4000rpm. Hit 4000rpm and you unlock a short burst of 10 extra kilowatts thanks to a transient overboost function. It does the 0-100km/h sprint in 6.6 seconds, and thanks to stop-start technology, the A250 Sport has an official fuel consumption rating of 6.6 litres per 100km.

Mercedes-Benz A250 Sport Review
Mercedes-Benz A250 Sport Review
Mercedes-Benz A250 Sport Review
Mercedes-Benz A250 Sport Review

It will be the king of the line-up until a tarmac-ripping twin-turbo all-wheel-drive A-Class monster, the 250kW/400Nm A45 AMG, is unleashed this September.

The milder Mercedes-Benz A250 Sport doesn’t have AWD, instead sending all its power to the front wheels, without the services of a limited-slip differential.

As you might have guessed from the glowing intro, this is no bad thing. The A250 strikes a brilliant balance between delivering jollies and being comfortable and practical enough that you can easily drive it every day.

It is more like a low-sitting Ford Focus ST (with more kit and a fancier interior) than the wild Renault Megane RS265, which, for most of us, is too harsh and too loud for regular driving.

The A250 Sport is $49,900, which sounds like a fair chunk of money when you think of small performance cars like the Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ and the ancient but still damn fast Subaru WRX. It lines up with a rear-drive BMW 125i, but is a much sportier and better-specified machine.

However, as you might tell from the gargantuan badge on the nose, this is a Mercedes-Benz and that will be a big plus for many. It also has a premium interior, which is packed full of features that are often confined to the option lists.

While the Ford and Renault are manual only, the A250 Sport is automatic-only (even in Europe where manuals are still extremely popular). To be technically correct, it has an automated manual gearbox, a dual-clutch unit with seven gears.

Mercedes-Benz A250 Sport Review
Mercedes-Benz A250 Sport Review
Mercedes-Benz A250 Sport Review
Mercedes-Benz A250 Sport Review

A manual option would be great, but the dual-clutch unit is able to shift quickly in manual mode so you still get a sporty experience. It also shifts without fuss when left in automatic mode.

The direct-injection engine is strong enough for a front-driver, but is not wildly powerful. It has ample torque to pull the A250 Sport out of bends without hesitation, to the point it can easily cope with being left in higher gears.

There is enough power to go fast, but the A250 doesn’t accelerate with explosive force.

Some people might want more power but the current mix is good given this is a front-driver. You can accelerate hard without worrying about the experience being spoiled by torque steer. The stability control system will prevent most wheel spin, but it intervenes in a subtle way so it doesn’t come across as a kill-joy.

Mercedes employed AMG to work some of its magic on the A250 Sport and while it is not a full-blown AMG, the influence is evident.

Changes to the regular car include a more direct steering ratio, sports-tuned suspension, a louder exhaust, perforated front brakes discs and ECU changes for more focused engine and transmission performance.

The exhaust work, which includes removing the centre muffler and changing the rear muffler, means the Mercedes-Benz A250 Sport makes some noise, without being a raucous boy-racer.

Mercedes-Benz A250 Sport Review
Mercedes-Benz A250 Sport Review
Mercedes-Benz A250 Sport Review
Mercedes-Benz A250 Sport Review

It doesn’t have the rasping intake of the Megane RS, or the lumpy intake of the Focus ST, but has a subtle meatiness on acceleration. Mercedes didn’t copy the Volkswagen turbo ‘thrap’ sound that comes with gear changes when the driver is pushing hard and that’s a shame. Instead it made the most of the over-run sound that comes when the driver lifts off. It doesn’t match the artillery barrage of the SLS, but is something at least. Overall, it could be a bit more aurally exciting.

The new Mercedes-Benz A-Class platform, AMG’s tweaks (custom shocks and springs, thicker anti-roll bar and different front camber) and relatively low-riding body (compared with previous generations), mean the A250 is a gem in the twisty sections of our test route near Healesville, northeast of Melbourne.

This car is so well balanced that you can really carry lots of pace through the corners. It is composed even when being thrown around with handling that is benign but far from boring. The chassis is especially impressive and the A250 Sport changes direction better than any Mercedes has done before. It is the kind of handling you expect from another German luxury brand whose name rhymes with BMW.

There is very little body lean in the corners. The seats are not extreme buckets and yet they provide ample support for the driver in the kind of situations that can leave you hanging off the side of the seat in some other cars.

The A250 Sport, which sits on 18-inch AMG rims, has a ride quality that is about as firm as you could get without spoiling everyday ride quality. There is an underlying harshness that is felt over bumps and potholes, but it isn’t rock hard. It could be a little too firm for some, but there are plenty of other A-Classes to choose from.

Mercedes-Benz A250 Sport Review

The steering is fast-acting and therefore feels sporty. It’s possibly a little too light, but this is a Mercedes after all.

Mercedes says 50 per cent of its A-Class orders are for the A250 Sport and while some buyers will be lured by the promises of exciting driving, some are no doubt attracted by the extra features and up-market interior.

That’s understandable because the cabin does give an impression that this car should cost more than it does.

The chrome-styled air vents; the red highlights on the dash, air vents, and seat and steering wheel stitching; the premium sporty steering wheel; and the well laid-out centre stack all contribute to an interior that makes the driver feel like they are piloting something special.

There are some hard plastics on the lower parts of the dashboard and centre column, but the plastic surfaces generally look and feel good. Mercedes has included ambient lighting around the cabin and the Mercedes-Benz type on the doorsills glows (in all A-Class models).

The A250 Sport gets a carbonfibre-style trim section on the dashboard – sort of like what carbonfibre would look like without the shiny resin.

The standard sport seats are trimmed with the fake Mercedes Artico leather and a suede-like material. Real leather seats are optional. Actual leather, rather than vinyl, should be standard at this price point. That said, the standard trim looks and feels like leather anyway.

Mercedes does include bi-xenon headlights as standard, along with a panoramic sunroof.

Some things are missing though, such as keyless entry and start. The A250 Sport is a bit retro in that there is no Start button. The driver has to actually put the key into the ignition and turn it to start the engine. There will be some drivers who would prefer the convenience of the transponder key and the Start button, while others won’t mind.

Some absent-minded people will even appreciate not losing the key during the drive, which can happen when it is free to be placed anywhere in the cabin.

Like the other A-Class models, the Mercedes-Benz A250 Sport is a five-door hatch. It has enough rear headroom for tall adults to sit comfortably and an adequate boot.

The exterior is accentuated with an AMG body kit, lowered suspension, bigger wheels and red-accented brake calipers, but the front is dominated by the A250’s exclusive ‘diamond’ grille which carries over from the concept car.

This dazzling studded effect, which radiates from the badge, is a real standout and looks like nothing else on the road. It is either awfully kitsch or monumentally cool depending on your taste and this reviewer is certainly not a fan.

The exterior styling of the A-Class is busy. There are plenty of lines going on, but the sleek profile gives it an attractive and sporty appearance, even without the Sport treatment.

It comes across as a fun, sporty car, unlike the past two generations, which projected an image of practicality.

All-up, the Mercedes-Benz A250 Sport is a pleasant surprise that finally proves Mercedes can build an exciting small car.

It’s more expensive than some sporty models such as the Golf GTI and Focus ST, but comes with more standard gear and is as good as – if not better than – both going by our brief test (although a back-to-back duel is called for). While it may feel strange to say it, the A250 Sport is also more enjoyable to drive than the equivalent BMW 1 Series. Yes, it is that good.

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Mercedes-Benz A250 Sport Review
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  • Daniel

    I am really surprised that everyone thinks this looks so good. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a good looking car, but there are so many curves and creases and lines all over the place and a lot of them don’t really fit with each other and especially on a small car I think it’s going to look dated really quickly. But it is capable and seems to be good quality, so it would probably be a good ownership prospect. I just, personally, don’t quite get the hype.

    • Gasman

      The fourth picture from the top – arghhh.. It’s not classy at all. But I feel the new MB designs are going downhill c.f. the conservative of old. Plus no manual transmissions for supposedly a driver’s/sports car. The only good aspect about this car is the 3 pointed star on the key-ring.

    • Igomi Watabi

      The CLA looks quite interesting from what I’ve seen of it, but the styling of this hatch is utterly rancid!

    • Largondo

      The base/lower-spec models look alright without the OTT body kits.

    • 451

      because it has a MB badge…if it had a KIA badge the 43 comments would be very different.

    • Ben

      I agree Daniel. I think the BMW 1 series hatch looks way better than this ugly thing. What were they thinking with front wheel drive too? I dunno, looks too much like a B Class for me, nothing new at all.

  • Blair Waldorf

    The styling has really, really grown on me, but the red details and grille ruin it.

    • Ben

      +1. Red detailing and “diamond” grille REALLY destroys this car.

  • KH

    ‘more enjoyable to drive than the 1-series’

    MB is getting down to some serious business, and it shows how important the hot hatch segment is these days

    • Robbo

      Who says a 1-series is interesting?  I’ve driven previous and current variants, find it a nothing car, an excuse to have the ‘BeMyWife’ badge for a price that’ll rob your account for purchase, depreciation and service costs.  There are better choices.  But, saying that, I’m basing it on how us Aussies feel for the price we pay, versus Europe where it’s really the Corolla of hatches for the price, where the comp all makes more sense.

  • Kampfer

    Wasn’t a big fan on look before until I saw one in person (on a truck) few days ago. It look much better in person. Hummm… this or the next Golf R…?

    • Anthony

      What’s wrong with the current Golf R?

  • Michkipmid

    Maybe this is a minor issue but what are the running costs of these cars. They perform well but what if something goes wrong .Can you get an extended full exhaust to grille warranty. 
    I would love to own a C250 CDI with the fantastic 2.2 litre twin turbo diesel but my wife is concerned about the lack of available information regarding running and repair costs. 
    Looks handing and comfort are not the only consideration when purchasing a vehicle

    • AJ

       Hi..we have been driving the c-class in our family since it first came out here in ’94 (I think!)..never had any issues with any of our cars. Our latest one is the new C250 CDI..love it! Have had it for about 8 months now..already driven 14,000 km, drives beautifully. Drove it from Geelong to Port Augusta on one tank of diesel just last week.

    • JaCe88

      C250 CDI is a standard fare MB car so it follows the standard A/B routine. If you’re really worried, try to get the corporate pack to get 3 years scheduled servicing built into the price.

      EDIT: For clarification, I own a MY11 C250 CDI (and bought it before it won COTY after driving it and finding it remarkable in this segment)

  • momo

    MB won’t admit it, but its a shameless copy of the VW GTI, down to the red stitching on the steering. Also, I can’t understand why they couldn’t fully integrate the Nav screen into the dashboard, looks like an aftermarket add-on. I’m going to wait for the CLA 250, at least it comes across as more original (and has the same technical foundations as this one, which is a good thing).

  • Tex

    I must be one of the sole few that likes the styling of the vehicle – especially compared with the 125i. Standard features such as pleather and panoramic roof make the price even more appealing too – a Golf GTI with roof, leather, DSG, 5 doors and bi-xenons isn’t cheaper.

    Good on MB for making such a compelling arguement – they deserve to sell loads of these.

    • Jay

       Absolutely agree. Styling looks modern, crisp and a different take on what MB has done previously, and I’m willing to embrace that.
      There are some Golf GTI’s which come close to the A250’s price when fully optioned up; hot hatch buyers rejoice.

  • Sam

    Great  review.  Great car by the looks of it too.  For the record, if you were going to buy one of these to keep for ages, the fake leather seats are the best option (IMHO).  Real leather is nice but doesn’t age very well and damages easily.  Mercedes fake leather (MB-Tex) on the other hand will still look like new after 30 years of use if it is looked after.    

  • Ivn

    It’s definitely better looking than the current 1 series. But the Sirocco R is still at the top in the looks department.

    • Ben

      Better looking? I beg to differ!

  • Andrew

    Does it have different comfort modes – comfort, sport, normal, etc?
    Other reviews have criticised the overly firm ride……

  • Devil666

    Seen a new A class in the sheet metal at Dubai Airport. It’s longer than I was expecting. Looks like a great package and I’m very surprised Mercedes has gone down a Lexus-ish route of including so many standard features (illuminated door sills, panorama sunroof, DSG, pleather, Bi-xenons, and I believe even sat nav!). Fantastic!

  • jeree

    I am really suprised by the standard kit on this. Amazing stuff really.

    We were pretty much sold on the 1 series, but this is going to change things. I had heard the ride was terrible and the 7 speed box was awful in the UK reviews, but this review seems to think it’s brilliant.

    Anyone know when it’s released?

    • Jay

       March 1st

    • Anthony

      If you were sold on the 1 series why didn’t you buy it? Sounds like deep down you think it’s a waste of money.

      • Jerry

        Not really. The 1 series 125i still creams this for performance (0-100 in 6.2 and rear wheel drive) but has far less features so I think it levels out somewhat.

  • Able

    I was very impressed by the new A-Class at the Sydney Motorshow last year; the cabin is very high quality and even the base A180 didn’t feel particularly lacking in equipment. 

    • Zaccy16

      i agree, this looks fantastic, sls inspired interior for $50,000, great handling and a MB badge, what more do people want? this is what the a class should have been, another car that has around the 150 kw mark but is a whole 1.5 seconds quicker than the proceed

  • Julia_Gillards_No_1_Fan

    Boring… Bring the AMG with more resolved styling/body kit. This looks like a few glued on details, eg the red plastic and interior stitching. Cheap in my opinion. Bit like a Golf GTi. I would expect MG to differentiate…

  • Jober As A Sudge

    Not a fan of the “St.Andrew’s Cross spider” style vents inside

    • Anthony

      Which car’s vents do you like?

  • Mark

    I like it except for the bonnet. Why isn’t the bonnet full length? I don’t like the extra gap between panels where the bonnet meets the front bumper. Same can be said for the new CLA.

  • TJ

    I love the styling of this car, i’ve found out that on-road the A250 is going to be $57k brand new though.  Hardly worth it for something that is supposed to be a GTI competitor, even if it does come with some extra kit.

    • Michael.

       try pricing a GTI up with the same options (xenons, roof, DSG, etc)…. it’s lineball in pricing.

  • Maple Leaf

    I sat in this car at one of MB dealers while waiting for my Merc getting serviced. Its just brilliant. Definitely getting the diesel.

    • Anthony

      Which Mercedes model are you going to trade in?

  • Cwangv

    Love every MB review!

  • Anthony

    I’ve driven the C250 petrol. Massive turbo lag. It’s a girl’s car and so is this.

    • Tuannoc

      I’ve driven a c250 and it’s a luxury rocket. Dont mistake it for a wrx or 200sx

    • Guest56

      I’ve driven it too and it was great.
      Maybe you were driven another car, maybe Hyundai ?
      Check the badges next time and write it down so you don’t forget.

      • Jerry

        Haha. He probably can only afford nissans and subarus.

  • Zaccy16

    love the side profile and overall quality feel, should sell very well the a class

  • Peter

    I’m very keen on this for the missus, but the reviews dont say what the rear seating is like.  Does anyone know whether it is a 4 or 5 seater, and what the rear legroom is like?

  • jav

    GTI wannabee ffs why don’t Mercedes have their own character?

  • devilg11

    60k? That’s a bargain. If a standard A45 AMG comes with similar level of equippments as a standard A250 sport has, M135i, 1M and RS3 will be stormed without mercy!

  • Bob

    Whats interesting is that this review says this is a great car. Funny, After looking through a MB dealer recently they said this car was coming. So we researched and looked all over the net for reviews and words to read. Amazingly, we found lots. We reviewed and watched over 27 opinion pieces on this car – only 1 said this car was worth buying, and it was the 250 we looked to review. So, who has it right, Car Advice + 1, or 26 others.

    • qikturbo

      You’re right in your observations.I think Australian journalists tend to become a little over excited when they review something from Mercedes.Overseas reviews were not entirely happy with the 250.Some commented about the the gear shifts being sluggish.The hatch space was relatively small compared to it’s rivals and the ride was so-so.
      I’m not saying it’s not a good car,all the reviews I did read liked the interior and the dash.
      But I feel that the A250 sport will be,in the performance stakes at least,shown wanting.A ST Focus will most likely have better performance and the A250 will definately not beat a Megane RS 265.

      • Matt

        the A250 and A250 sport are not the same car, Australian market held out for the A250 sport and are not getting the A250, you cant confuse the reviews of the A250 and A250 sport.
        the A250 sport has been tweaked by AMG; faster gear changes and ECU changes , lower harder ride, exhaust tweaked as well, front camber has also been changed.
        Its a lot more focused than a standard A250

  • brabus a

    great car, already ordered an A180 for my wife!. German build quality is stunning for the price. A45 will be a rocket 0-100 in 4.5 seconds…
    dont worry about the overseas reviews, the Australian cars have a MUCH higher standard equipment list and are even tuned differently to our roads.   Any Golf is absolute rubbish compared to this.

  • Devilg11

    In oversea market, there are A250 BE, A250 AMG Sport and A250 Sport engineered by AMG. They are 3 different cars thus don’t mix some reviews with others. Especially on A250 Sport engineered by AMG which this review addressed, has totally different settings on engine response, transmission, suspension even exhaust note. Get in a Merc dealer and try getting 1 for test drive. You will be definitely amazed everything the A250 Sport brings you.

  • Gorry

    I took it for a test drive last week from MB dealer at  Mascot. It has a beautiful interior although the salesman wasn’t sure what was the standard and what is an optional equipment on this demonstrator vehicle.
    It is a little bit slow for my taste. I have expected a much more performance from 155 KW and 350 Nm of torque. My Golf GTi feels much faster from the standstill. I am not sure is this due to A250 being too heavy, 1445 kg or is it due to transmission. even BMW 118i with only 125 KW feels faster than A250.

  • Mokkybear

    Feel can be deceptive I think, Gorry – especially in a car that has a luxury feel. 0-100 time is the same as a GTi. Reports are that it outdoes the GTi in every respect around Nurburgring, so it’s no slough. but it’s not an out and out sports car. For that you’ll need to go for the (much more expensive) A45 in September.

    I pulled the trigger on one this week. :-)

    • stacog

      Concur with Mokkybear, I’ve also bought the A250 fully optioned up & its the best sports car I’ve ever driven & best looking car by a mile!! It turns heads everywhere I go. Love all the technology – blind spot detection, lane guidance, auto parallel parking, adaptive cruise absolutely amazing – forget Golf GTI’s or GTD’s they’re not in the same league – MB you’ve won me over!!

      • ree

        I agree it looks amazing! …just curious how many kms would you get out of a full tank?? im tossing up between the diesel or the 250 & I think this will be the deciding factor, thanks stacog!

  • Billj1000

    I agree with you stacog, have ordered the A250 Sport with all options. This is a dream car and although it is replacing my wife’s Audi A3, I hope to drive it from time to time. I have an E350, nearly 6 years old, and the goodies on the A250 are not on my E350 even though it cost over double the price 6 years ago. To all the knockers out there, it would not matter what this car had going for it, you would still be complaining and critical of it – I think it’s an anti Mercedes thing. If you like the Golf R or GTI or BMW 1 so much – just go and get yourself one and leave us MB aficionados to appreciate this great new hatch.

    Not everyone agrees on what is cool or in good taste, however, the popularity of the grill in the concept model was enough to prompt Mercedes to include it in their premium model. So whilst the reviewer thinks it is Kitsch, many people had already decided it was not. It was the single factor that got my attention when I first saw some spy pics of the concept model and have followed its path to release ever since.

  • ree

    ive driven the diesel and it’s such a nice car to drive! it looks verrrrrryy nice in person, I think the bmw 1 series are a waste of space-ugly to me inside and out-no comparison whatsoever, plus I think bmws are cars for yuppies….not much chop to me not a fan, the looks of this car inside and out are spot on the only thing I dont really like is the red on the air vents, im yet to drive the 250 but I want to know how many kms on avg people are getting out of a tank to compare with the diesel before I decide which way to go

Mercedes-Benz A250 Specs

Car Details
Body Type
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
Engine Size
Max. Torque
350Nm @  1200rpm
Max. Power
155kW @  5500rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
Bore & Stroke
Compression Ratio
Valve Gear
Drivetrain Specifications
Drive Type
Final Drive Ratio
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
Fuel Tank Capacity
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
6.6L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Ground Clearance
Towing Capacity
Brake:1500  Unbrake:720
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
Turning Circle
Front Rim Size
Rear Rim Size
Front Tyres
235/40 R18
Rear Tyres
235/40 R18
Wheel Base
Front Track
Rear Track
Front Brakes
Rear Brakes
Standard Features
Automatic Air Con / Climate Control
Control & Handling
18 Inch Alloy Wheels, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Electronic Stability Program, Hill Holder
Cruise Control, Leather Steering Wheel, Multi Function Steering Wheel, Mobile Phone Connectivity, Parking Distance Control
CD with 6 CD Stacker
Body Kit
Carbon Fibre Trim, Cloth Trim
Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Head Airbags
Alarm System/Remote Anti Theft, Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Optional Features
Satellite Navigation
Metallic Paint
Service Interval
12 months /  25,000 kms
36 months /  999,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
Country of Origin