The Mercedes A180 BE with AMG pack is an attractive and sporty looking hatch with sculptured lines and scallops along the sides.
The AMG seats, red stitching and carbon-fibre on the dash continue the theme of sportiness on the inside, and the materials are sturdy and give a premium feel. The checkered background on the speedometer and rev counter complete the sporty feeling.
Acceleration is swift but not dramatic and if you are driving responsibly it will return good fuel consumption figures.
Cornering ability on the 225/40 18-inch AMG rims is good, however, not at the level of a true sports car. This, after all, is meant to be a car used on a daily basis.
The ride may be considered harsh due to the stiff suspension but only over bumpy surfaces and for the most part the ride is as smooth as that of other less sporty models.
The cabin is well insulated from any engine noise, however, there is audible wind noise at high speed. The sound system is good and all the controls on the steering wheel are well placed.
Due to the sloping roof line, taller people often bump their heads when getting into the the back, but once inside there is adequate room for three adults to sit comfortably.
Boot space is adequate but smaller than it should be. Some may complain that access is restricted by the large tail lights, too.
Reliability of the A180 is excellent as with all Mercedes models and there have been no problems during my ownership so far.
Owning a reliable and quality hatch is usually dull and boring as car manufacturers tend to be cautious when it comes to styling.
But the Mercedes A180 BE offers an insight into what owning a premium car can be like with just the right hint of sportiness to keep the driver engaged.
It is not perfect, but pretty close to what a high quality hatch for daily use should be like.