Mercedes-Benz A 180 (2023) review
Exterior updates, more tech and hybrid drive for entry-level Mercedes hatch.
Shane O' Donoghue
Shane O' Donoghue

Published on June 15, 2023

Mercedes has given the whole A-Class line-up an update, with the revisions expected to see the A-Class through to the end of production. Mercedes says it won't be replaced, as the company concentrates on its more expensive models so if you fancy a premium C-segment hatchback with the Mercedes badge on the bonnet, you better hurry up. Here we test the entry-level petrol model.

In the metal

Visually, you'll probably only be able to tell the updated A-Class from the pre-facelift version if you lined them up side by side. There are new LED headlights and the taillights are full LED items, too, while adaptive main beam units are now standard across the range. Choose a higher-spec version with the Premium Plus package and adaptive Multibeam LEDs are designed to create a high-definition light that illuminates the road without dazzling oncoming drivers.

Elsewhere, there are new wheel designs on offer, but the rest of the exterior is largely unchanged. Look closely and you may notice that the radiator grille now has little stars in it instead of pins.

Under the skin, all petrol versions of the A-Class now feature mild-hybrid technology. This comes in the form of a 48-volt electrical system with a belt-driven motor-generator that provides a 14hp boost to assist the petrol engine. In the instance of the A 180, that's a 136hp 1.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder, while the A 200 features the same engine tuned to make 163hp. All versions of the A-Class come with an automatic twin-clutch gearbox, a seven-speed unit in the petrol cars, and an eight-speed unit in the plug-in hybrid and diesel versions.

Inside, there are tech upgrades across the board, and the A-Class benefits from technology that has already been seen on larger models in the Mercedes line-up. There are twin 10.25-inch displays for all models in the range now, with comprehensive digital dials lined up next to the latest version of the excellent MBUX infotainment system. This features tech such as 3D navigation on models fitted with the Premium package, which projects turn arrows on a live feed from a forward-facing camera to help guide you. There's also a comprehensive head-up display as part of the Premium Plus package, a pack that also adds memory seats, a 360-degree parking camera system and a panoramic sunroof, among other highlights.

There's new upholstery in the A-Class, as well, with recycled materials now playing their part. As standard, the seats feature a centre section that is made from 100 per cent recycled material, while the sports seats in AMG Line versions have 65 per cent recycled materials in their construction. Either way, there's no downgrade in quality here, because the A-Class is still a premium piece of kit.

Build quality is first rate, and the materials all have the premium quality we've come to expect from Mercedes. The centre console has had a redesign and no longer features the touchpad that was previously used. Instead, the new steering wheel (a flat-bottomed item in AMG Line models) is used to control the touchscreen, which is handy for some drivers because the screen is set back a little too far to be easy to reach. The touch-sensitive controls on the steering wheel take a little getting used to - you need to gently thumb the small squares on the spokes to control the assorted functions - but once you're used to them, it becomes second nature to use them instead of trying to reach for the screen. And if that's too fiddly for you, there's always the "Hey Mercedes" voice control function, which is claimed to be able to tune into accents so that voice commands are more easily understood. We found it quite capable of understanding the Irish accent.

One thing that hasn't changed with the most recent updates is the amount of interior space on offer in the A-Class. The revised centre console doesn't quite have enough space to store a modern smartphone, but elsewhere the storage space is good, with decent door bins, though room inside is really only going to be comfortable for four adults. Boot space remains unchanged, too, with officially more space in the back of the saloon than there is in the hatchback - though the latter fights back with better versatility. There's 355 litres in five-seat mode, compared with 405 litres in the saloon, and there's 1,195 litres with the seats folded, compared with 1,210 litres for the four-door, although of course the hatchback's space is more easily accessible and that figure only includes the space under the luggage tray.

Driving it

While the A 180 AMG Line features a sportier look that's inspired by the high-performance AMG models, it shouldn't be thought of as a hot hatch. Things get off to a promising start though with the car's direct steering, which makes it feel darty and quite satisfying to drive. However, the A 180's relative lack of power won't endear it to keener drivers. A 0-100km/h time of 9.2 seconds is reasonable, but you could hardly call the A 180 fast. Gaining enjoyment from the car is largely about maintaining momentum, and if you can achieve that, then the chassis can be engaging.

There are Eco, Comfort and Sport driving modes, with the former dulling the throttle response and the latter sharpening it - although not by a significant margin - and we found the mid-range Comfort setting to be the best compromise. Here is where the A-Class excels, because when you take things easy, it's a very quiet car to ride in. The suspension does a decent job of ironing out lumps and bumps, while the engine only ever makes its presence felt if you're hard on the accelerator, and even then, it's not especially intrusive, it just sounds harsh when revved.

The mild-hybrid technology is subtle in its effectiveness, but it does help smooth out the torque curve when accelerating, and the A 180's stop-start system is keen to activate as you come to a halt. It's quick to come back into life, though, so you're not left standing by the system when entering a roundabout, for example. One area we'd like to see improvements in is the brakes. There's not much feedback from the pedal, although there's no issue with the stopping power on offer.

What you get for your money

The A-Class is the entry point to Mercedes ownership. For €54,695 you get the A 180 hatchback in Progressive Plus trim, which comes quite well equipped, with the twin 10.25-inch screens, 17-inch alloy wheels, 64-colour LED cabin lighting, keyless entry and starting, LED headlights, wireless phone charging, reversing camera and smartphone connectivity.

However, you'll want to step up to the AMG Line Plus at €57,447 for a more upmarket experience. There are 18-inch alloys, a subtly sportier body kit and sports seats in synthetic leather and microfibre trim. On top of that, the Premium and Premium Plus packages throw in all of the latest tech. However, they're pricey at €3,490 and €8,523 increases, respectively, and you can't specify individual options beyond these packages.


The Mercedes A 180 isn't the sportiest performer, despite what the racy looks of AMG Line trim might lead you to believe. Instead, it's best to bask in its comfort and refinement, especially around town, where the new mild-hybrid system masks the car's lack of power quite well. And of course there's the tech on board, with the high-resolution screens and user-friendly functions likely to gain favour with buyers looking for a premium model in a compact package.


Tech Specs

Model testedMercedes A 180 AMG Line Plus hatchback
Irish pricingA-Class from €54,695; €57,447 as tested
Powertrainmild-hybrid petrol engine - turbocharged, 1.3-litre, four-cylinder
Transmissionautomatic gearbox - seven-speed, dual-clutch, front-wheel drive
Body stylefive-door, five-seat hatchback
CO2 emissions131-135g/km
Irish motor tax€210 per year
Fuel consumption5.8-6.3 litres/100km (47.9-44.8mpg)
Top speed215km/h
0-100km/h9.2 seconds
Max power136hp
Max torque230Nm
Boot space 355 litres all seats in use, 1,195 litres rear seats folded
Rivals to the A 180 (2023)