BMW 125i 2018 review: snapshot
The BMW 125i sits high in the 1 Series line-up, above the 118i, 118d and 120i, but under the range-topping M140i, with a list price of $49,990.
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Unicorns. They exist. The thing is there aren’t many of them and if you want to find one you need to know where to look.
Now, I don’t normally give secrets away, but I’ll let you know where one is: it’s this 'early release' version of the Mercedes-Benz A 250 4Matic, and chances are you will never see one like this again.
See this A 250 4Matic is a sort of early release version of the car because it’s different to the model which will arrive later in 2019 – it’s also more affordable.
So, what’s the catch? We drove this special A 250 4matic at its launch recently to find out, if there was one.
|Mercedes-Benz A-Class 2019: A250 YELLOW NIGHT EDITION|
|Engine Type||2.0L turbo|
|Fuel Type||Premium Unleaded Petrol|
Let’s start here first, because the features and price are the only differences between this A 250 and the one which will eventually replace it.
This A 250 lists for $49,500, before on-road costs, and while Mercedes-Benz won’t tell us how much more its replacement will cost, we do know the previous fully-kitted up A 250 was $55,200. You can expect to pay the same, if not more, for the new one when it arrives later in 2019.
The catch is this current A 250 doesn’t come with the the upcoming one's high level of equipment. Instead it has the same standard features as the A 200. But the good news is, the A 200’s equipment list is impressive.
So, mirroring the A 200’s features, this A 250 comes standard with two 10.25-inch displays, sat nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a nine-speaker stereo with digital radio, wireless charging, climate control, single-colour ambient lighting, LED headlights, front and rear parking sensors, auto parking and 18-inch alloy wheels.
The A 250 like the A 200 also comes with the 'Hey Mercedes' MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) function which is Benz’s in-house take on Apple’s Hey Siri virtual assistant system. Thing is, the A 200 costs $2300 less than the A 250.
I know what you’re wondering. If this A 250 is more expensive more than the A 200 but has the same standard features, why does it cost more? The answer is the powertrain and chassis. And that’s what makes this A 250 good value. Skip to the next section on engines and I’ll explain.
The early release A 250 has the same standard features as the A 200, but costs more because it has a bigger, more powerful engine, all-wheel drive and a more sophisticated suspension.
The A 250 has a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine making 165kW/250Nm (the A 200 has a 120kW/225Nm 1.3-litre) which is enough to get it from 0-100km/h in 6.2 seconds (the A 200 takes 8.0 seconds). Helping the A 250 achieve that time is all-paw traction (the A 200 is front-wheel drive).
A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission shifts the gears.
The A 200 is good value with its extensive features list including those giant display screens, but after I drove it at its launch mid-way through 2018, I felt that if I could change anything it’d be to give it more grunt and a more comfortable and compliant ride. And that, in the shell of a nut, is the A 250 we have here.
This A 250 immediately felt more potent with its snarly exhaust note (that the 1.3-litre can’t deliver) and the get up and go to match. Winding roads beckoned, and well, I followed them.
While the A 200 comes standard with a torsion bar rear suspension, the A 250 has a multi-link set-up in the rear, and is far more of a driver’s car.
That multi-link rear suspension is excellent. Not only is the ride more comfortable, but handling is improved, too.
Our test car was fitted with adaptive dampers, which could be relaxed to be softer, or firmed up to make the A 250 even more adept in the corners.
This A 250 is a fourth-generation A-Class model with a new body, new platform and new technology.
In the same way the new Mercedes-Benz CLS seems to have become smoother and slipperier, this latest iteration of the A-Class also seems to have ironed out every crease.
Headlights and tail-lights have lost their roundness and gone sleeker, and the whole car has been stretched.
Take a look at the dimensions. At 4.4m end-to-end the new A 250 is 120mm longer than the previous model, while at almost 1.8m across it’s 16mm wider and at nearly 1.5m in height it’s 6mm taller.
Like the A 200, the A 250 comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, side skirts, twin exhaust and a ‘black diamond’ grille.
The 'Sports Package' adds the sparkly chrome studded grille, black 18-inch AMG rims, dark-tinted rear windows and an AMG body kit, while the cabin gets brushed stainless-steel pedals, red contrasting stainless steel stitched faux leather seats, plus shifting paddles.
The new A 250 is bigger in all ways compared to the previous model. That’s resulted in more boot space and larger interior dimensions.
Cargo capacity has increased by almost 30 litres to 370 litres (the BMW 1 Series’ boot is 360 litres and the Audi A3 Sportback’s is 380 litres). But don't bother looking for a spare wheel/tyre. An inflator/repair kit is your only option.
Room up front is good for me at 191cm tall, with plenty of space in the footwell for my legs and between the centre console and door for my elbows.
If I try to sit behind my driving position things getting a little tighter, with just enough space for my knees to clear the seat back, but plenty of headroom.
Storage is good with a large split-opening centre console bin, big door pockets and four cupholders (two up front and two in the rear).
For charging you’ll find a wireless charging pad up front and a USB port, plus a 12-volt outlet in the cargo area.
The Mercedes-Benz A 250 scored the maximum five-star ANCAP rating in August 2018. That date is important because these days pretty much everything seems to have scored the maximum five-star ANCAP rating, but something which scored full marks in 2015 may not get the same in 2018.
There are nine airbags (front, pelvis side and window bags for the driver and front passenger, side bags for those in the back and a knee bag for the pilot).
Advanced safety technology includes AEB, lane keeping assistance, blind spot warning with exit warning, traffic sign recognition and a reversing camera. Oh, and if you don’t like parking the A 250 will park itself.
There are three top-tethers and two ISOFIX locations for child restraints/seats across the rear seat.
3 years / unlimited km warranty
ANCAP Safety Rating
The A 250 is all-wheel drive and has a bigger engine, so it’s going to go through more fuel that the A 200 with its smaller engine and front-wheel drive only.
The difference isn’t huge though with the A 250 using 6.6L/100km of premium unleaded (according to Benz) if it’s driven on a combination of open and urban roads, while the A 200 is just under 1.0L/100km more efficient.
The A 250 is covered by Mercedes-Benz’s three-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty. Servicing is recommended every 12 months or 25,000km.
Mercedes-Benz offers capped-price servicing for the A 250 with the first visit costing $396, while you can expect to pay $792 at for the second and third services.
This early release version of the A 250 is for anybody who thinks the A 200’s features are sufficient but wished it had more grunt and was more fun to drive. Most carmakers will offer a more powerful engine in their model line-up, but it means stepping up to a higher grade which comes with features you may not want, while asking a lot more money.
With this early release you get a more powerful engine with sophisticated suspension that will give you better handling and a more comfortable ride, for just $2300 more than the price of an A 200.
It’s a bargain in Benz terms, and will make this A 250 a unicorn of the car world for sure.
|A180||1.6L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO||$39,637 – 53,900||2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class 2019 A180 Pricing and Specs|
|A250 4MATIC||2.0L, ULP, 7 SP AUTO||$55,500 – 55,900||2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class 2019 A250 4MATIC Pricing and Specs|
|A250 4MATIC AMG LINE||2.0L, ULP, 7 SP AUTO||$53,800 – 66,888||2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class 2019 A250 4MATIC AMG LINE Pricing and Specs|
|A250 4MATIC LIMITED EDITION||2.0L, ULP, 7 SP AUTO||$49,888 – 59,900||2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class 2019 A250 4MATIC LIMITED EDITION Pricing and Specs|
|Price and features||8|
|Engine & trans||8|