MERCEDES-BENZ has added the goodness of EQ power to its popular A-Class sedan and hatch, with the 250 specification now offering a best of both worlds type scenario, with the addition of the A 250e hybrid.
The new variant is able to complete journeys around town of up to 73km in all-electric mode, solely using the cleverly packaged electric motor (75kW/300Nm) and on-board battery (15.6 kWh capacity), which can also recoup additional energy during braking.
For city and urban motorists, this raises the tantalising prospect of largely emission-free motoring on a daily basis. Meanwhile, a highly efficient 1.3-litre 4-cylinder combustion engine (118kW/250Nm) comes into its own to complete longer road trips.
Combined, the output of the hybrid power train is a healthy 160kW and 450Nm. Switching seamlessly between EV and internal combustion methods creates exceptional fuel economy opportunities in the order of 1.6-litres/100km.
From the beginning, the architecture of the ground breaking Mercedes-Benz A-Class was engineered to accommodate a PHEV drive train. The result is clever integral packaging with minimal practical compromise.
The water-cooled lithium-ion, high voltage battery weighs just 150kg and requires only a small reduction to overall boot space. This is assisted by a 35-litre fuel tank, plus an innovative exhaust system housed in the transmission tunnel and a centrally positioned.
For the first time on a Mercedes-Benz vehicle, the combustion engine is started by the electric motor. The A 250e does not have a separate 12 volt starter.
The A 250e models are equipped with a standard Type 2 plug, and are capable of delivering charge via AC power at a rate of up to 3.7kW. To maximise the speed of charging at home or work, customers can choose a Mercedes-Benz Wallbox Home.
This can be installed on regular single-phase power (by a qualified electrician) to deliver up to 7.4kW, or up to 22kW on three-phase power for further future-proofing. Optionally, customers can purchase a DC Charging Package.
This introduces fast DC charging at 24kW via a Type 2 CCS plug. Using DC charging, it may be possible to charge from 10 per cent capacity to 80 per cent in as little as 25 minutes. In addition, the Charging Package upgrades the AC charging system to 7.4kW.
The A 250e drives power to the front wheels via an 8G-DCT Hybrid eight speed auto, becoming the second model in the A-Class range to receive an eight speed transmission. The combination adds up to highly efficient motoring and maximised all-electric range.
However, the impressive combined output of the electric and petrol powered motors, together with standard switchable driving modes, also ensures the A 250e hatch and sedan can live up to the promise of the sporty look and sophisticated feel.
Acceleration to 100km/h from rest takes 6.6 seconds for the A 250e hatch, and 6.7 seconds for the sedan. Drive programs ‘Electric’ and ‘Battery Level’ are available, with maximum e-performance experienced in Electric.
When selected, the combustion engine is only engaged if the driver extends the accelerator beyond the ‘kickdown’ point. In the Electric program the braking recuperation strength can be selected via paddles behind the steering wheel.
Comfort, ECO and Sport modes are also available. The driver is thus able to give priority to electric driving, place the emphasis on driving dynamics in combined drive mode, or give preference to combustion mode in order to save electric range, for example.
In hatch or sedan body shape, the Mercedes-Benz A 250e is both comprehensively equipped and well specified with standard safety features. Both variants feature 18-inch Aero alloy wheels.
They also come with the intuitive MBUX infotainment system with voice control and a fully digital widescreen cockpit, NTG6 navigation, ARTICO upholstery, smartphone integration including wireless charging and LED headlights.
A key comfort feature is pre-entry climate control before the vehicle is started, as the A 250e has an electric refrigerant compressor. This can be controlled via the Mercedes me Connect suite of services from a connected smart phone.
Standard safety equipment includes blind spot assist, active lane keep assist, traffic sign assist, nine airbags, PRE-SAFE accident anticipation system, and adaptive high beam assist.
The Mercedes-Benz A 250e hatch and sedan are on sale now, with pricing starting from $63,400 (plus on-roads) for the hatch, and $66,000 (plus on-roads) for the sedan.