Mercedes-Benz A-Class thrills in Urban Hunting to Malacca

By THOMAS HUONG | 28 February 2020

Mercedes-Benz Malaysia recently continued to drive its Urban Hunting initiative with a fun-filled drive from Kuala Lumpur to the historic city of Malacca in a fleet of A-Class compact cars including the new powerful, performance-oriented Mercedes-AMG A 35 4MATIC sedan.

The Urban Hunting initiative seeks inspiring experiences and new challenges in an urban jungle setting and a dynamic lifestyle, inspired by the Mercedes-Benz family of premium compact cars.

Carsifu joined a bunch of lifestyle and motoring writers for this drive, and after some food at Breakfast Thieves in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur - we flagged off in a loose convoy of A 200 and A 250 hatchbacks and sedans.

We took the A 35 4MATIC four-door sedan for the 68km drive to our lunch stop in Uptown Avenue, Seremban 2 and the entry-level car to the AMG model range which costs RM348,888 packed is a blistering performer with its 306hp/400Nm 2.0-litre twin-scroll turbocharged engine and AMG Speedshift DCT 7G dual-clutch transmission.

Drive (46) (Custom)

The 420-litre boot had ample space for our overnight luggage, and we were ensconced comfortably in the black Artico leather seats with Dinamica microfibre.

There is a sporty look to the interior with red stitching on the seats, as well as red seat belts and a red racing stripe on the steering wheel.

Running on Pirelli P Zero ultra high performance 235/35 tyres on 19-inch AMG 5-twin-spoke light-alloy wheels, the A 35 4MATIC sedan provides lightning quick acceleration with a 0 to 100kph sprint in 4.8 seconds.

There are five drive modes - "Slippery", "Comfort", "Sport", "Sport +" and "Individual" - and we used a mix of Comfort and Sport modes for most of our drive to Seremban 2.

Mercedes-AMG A 35 4MATIC sedan (4)

It has a Adaptive Damping System suspension, and the car corners crisply and steers accurately, with marvelous body control.

Still, it sometimes feels a bit distant and doesn't quite deliver maniacal, adrenaline-pumping action unless you really want to drive in a thrill-seeking manner.

We think the the A 35 4MATIC sedan is actually quite a suitable daily driver with a refined yet overly muscled powertrain.

The dashboard is dominated by the circular chromed air vents, and the futuristic-looking Widescreen Cockpit which combines the digital instrument display and the media display.

Mercedes-AMG A 35 4MATIC sedan (10)

After lunch at Bros Cafe in Seremban 2, we switched to the A 250 AMG Line hatchback (priced at RM263,888) for a 90km drive to a hotel located a stone's throw away from the famed tourist spot of Jonker Street in Malacca.

The A 250 hatchback has a powerful 224hp/350Nm 2.0-litre engine mated to a sporty 7G-DCT dual clutch automatic transmission, and we found plenty of grunt as we sped along the North-South Highway to Malacca.

Both the A 200 and A 250 also have high-resolution Widescreen Cockpit with touchscreen control, and the MBUX infotainment system with a touchpad on the centre console and touch control buttons on the steering wheel.

To liven things up, our co-driver tried getting some humour from the infotainment system MBUX – Mercedes-Benz User Experience - by saying "Hey Mercedes, tell me a joke" and the car responded with "Sorry, my engineers were German".

Mercedes-Benz A 250 AMG Line (3)

You get a lowered comfort suspension and four drive modes - “Eco”, “Comfort”, “Sport” and “Individual” - on both the A 200 and A 250.

Rolling on Bridgestone Turanza T005 premium touring tyres sized 225/45 R18, we were in Sport mode most of the time, and the A 250 hatchback was a lively performer all the way to the narrow roads in the vicinity of Jonker Street.

There were ominous rain clouds but thankfully, we experienced only a light shower upon arrival in Jonker Street.

The tourist crowds were not in full force as it was a week day, and dinner was a sumptuous affair at Hard Rock Cafe Malacca just a few hundred metres from the hotel.

The next day, we departed back to Kuala Lumpur after lunch, which was tasty fusion Nyonya fare like Pongteh Chicken, Sambal Salmon and Squid Petai at Chop Tiang Bee cafe off Jonker Street.

Mercedes-Benz A 200 Progressive Line (7)

This time, our ride was the A 200 Progressive Line sedan (priced at RM229,888) which has a 1.33-litre turbocharged engine producing 163hp/250Nm and is also mated to a 7G-DCT dual-clutch automatic transmission.

There is a refined feel to the car, and ample performance from this small displacement engine, which happily hustled the A 200 smoothly as we drove on rain-soaked and partially flooded B roads before reaching the North-South Highway.

It was drenched affair all the way back to Kuala Lumpur, with very heavy rain and low visibility, and the A 200 proved to be a comfortable cocoon as our co-driver slept soundly through the journey.

Mercedes-Benz A 200 Progressive Line 

Engine: 1,332cc 4 in-line, 4 valves per cylinder, turbocharged
Maximum power: 163hp at 5,500rpm
Maximum torque: 250Nm at 1,620rpm – 4,000rpm
Transmission: 7G-DCT dual clutch automatic
Features: Lowered comfort suspension, Direct-Steer system, 18-inch light-alloy wheels, LED headlamps, automatic climate control, powered front seats, reverse camera, Active Parking Assist, Active Brake Assist, Cruise control, PRE-SAFE, MBUX multimedia system, Touchpad, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto
Price (without insurance): RM227,888 (hatchback) and RM229,888 (sedan)

Mercedes-Benz A 250 AMG Line 

Engine: 1,991cc 4 in-line, 4 valves per cylinder, turbocharged
Maximum power: 224hp at 5,500rpm
Maximum torque: 350Nm at 1,800 to 4,000rpm
Transmission: 7G-DCT dual clutch automatic
Features: Similar to A 200 except for AMG Line exterior, trim differences
Price (without insurance): RM263,888 (hatchback) and RM267,888 (sedan)

Mercedes-AMG A 35 4MATIC sedan 

Engine: 1,991cc four-cylinder, twin-scroll turbocharger
Maximum power: 306hp at 5,800rpm
Maximum torque: 400Nm at 3,000rpm – 4,000rpm
Transmission: AMG Speedshift DCT 7G dual-clutch automatic
Features: 19-inch AMG light-alloy wheels, ARTICO man-made leather with DINAMICA microfibre, AMG DYNAMICS handling control system, all-wheel drive, AMG RIDE CONTROL suspension, adaptive adjustable damping system, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Pre-Safe system, active brake assist, active lane-keeping assist, active parking assist with Parktronic, adaptive brake lights, blind spot assist, Tirefit - a tyre repair kit.
Price (without insurance): RM348,888

Mercedes me connect to improve ownership experience

The Mercedes me connect (MMC) app is available via Apple App Store as well as the Google Play Store in 2020 onwards, starting with the recently launched facelifted GLC range.

With MMC, customers can access connected services to easily manage their cars via their mobile devices.

Mercedes Benz Malaysia vice president of sales and marketing Michael Jopp talks briefly to Carsifu about MMC, and how it improves the ownership experience for Mercedes-Benz owners.

Michael Jopp

Carsifu: What are the highlights of MMC? 

Jopp: MMC is the next evolution of mobility. There are three areas to highlight. First, customers have convenience when it comes to maintenance. They get warned earlier about wear and tear parts before the end of the service life. The dealer also gets a pre-warning for an upcoming service requirement, which means the dealer can offer to schedule an upcoming service and propose special offers. The second area is the remote features like Remote Start and Pre-Entry Climate Control - no more entering hot cabins. Or you give the car to your kids and with Speedfencing, you get a notification if a certain maximum speed is exceeded. The third area is more convenience when it comes to navigation. In 2020, our cars will offer live traffic functionality with real-time traffic data. Also, while at home or the office, you can send your target destination to your car and the car will already have it in your navigation when you start driving. It will also offer predictive navigation based on the previous routes you have taken - for example, it will suggest the shortest way from home to office. Another area is regarding safety. In case you are in an accident, an automatic call is made to a call centre. They will also call and if you don't respond after three calls, they will send an ambulance.

How soon will MMC be enabled on your fleet?  

Jopp: It is now available on the new GLC range, and we are presently phasing it in for our whole portfolio. By middle of next year, all of our new cars will be MMC enabled. All customers need to do is register on the app, and the dealer connects the customer account with the car.

For now, Mercedes-Benz Malaysia (MBM) is giving a three-year free subscription to remote services on MMC - what happens after that? 

Jopp: We are still working on that. I can't tell you anything yet. Globally, these three years have expired in some countries. We are exploring the customers' willingness to pay for certain services. Some services will always remain for free. Yes, there are markets where customers are paying subcriptions for some of the features.

What are the most most frequently used services on the MMC? 

Jopp: The remote door lock/unlock feature and Navigation.

Mercedes-Benz A 200 Progressive Line

Mercedes-Benz A 250 AMG Line

Mercedes-AMG A 35 4MATIC sedan