New A-class is less than a year old and everybody’s expecting the hot AMG version, but this super efficient version comes first. It comes as a surprise. Few people had expected it (there wasn’t a green-labeled A-class in the previous generation) and even fewer thought it would be this good. This compact is the most fuel-efficient car Mercedes has ever built in regular production. But there’s no secret high technology in it. Just a modern diesel. Aerodynamics have been tweaked a bit, with a Cd down to .26 from .27. Transmission is a manual with 6 long gears, and that was enough to get a 65 mpg combined rating. Better than a Toyota Prius!
Admittedly, performance is modest. Engine makes only 109-hp and torque should be about 190-lb/ft (Mercedes hasn’t released the exact value, yet). But great fuel consumption is rarely associated with fast driving. Let’s guess this Mercedes A180 CDI BlueEfficiency is as fast as a Prius, which has never got any sports car enthusiast’s pulse racing. But to the vast number of people who are just looking for a car that looks good while being very cheap to run, this Mercedes will be hard to beat. At least in Europe where diesel is so popular. Price should be only marginally higher than the base A-class, with deliveries beginning before the end of winter.