The latest Mercedes A-Class has always been a bit of a disappointment, with its uncomfortable ride largely to blame. However, Mercedes has now decided to try to tackle this problem by offering a new lowered comfort suspension set-up.
Combining the slightly softer feel of SE- and Sport-spec cars with a lowered ride height, it is standard on AMG Sport models and replaces the sports suspension that was previously fitted.
The aim is to offer greater comfort on these models, without sacrificing their aggressive, low-slung appearance. Buyers will also hope it cures the nasty body shimmy that SE and Sport cars suffer from on patched-up roads.
What's the 2013 Mercedes A-Class AMG Sport like to drive?
The new set-up feels a little more forgiving over expansion joints and high-speed bumps than the previous AMG Sport suspension.
However, the A-Class still doesn't ride anywhere near as well as most of its rivals; you're jostled around over any surface that isn't perfectly smooth, while urban potholes thump through the cabin with enough force to cause genuine discomfort.
In some ways the AMG Sport set-up was better, because it kept body roll tightly controlled, allowing you to make the most of the A-Class's good grip and well-weighted steering. By contrast, the new lowered comfort cars suffer from a bit too much sway through corners.
Mercedes would have been better off giving the A-Class the same suspension as the closely related CLA saloon, because this does at least offer a comfortable ride in Sport spec.
We tried the A200 CDI model, which uses a 1.8-litre diesel engine that offers decent pace and flexibility. The trouble is, this engine also sounds coarse and rattly, while road noise adds to the general racket at motorway speeds.
What's the 2013 Mercedes A-Class AMG Sport like inside?
There are no changes here, so the dashboard is smartly styled, with heater vents similar to those in the SLS supercar.
However, the materials aren't as classy as those in an Audi A3, and the screen at the top of the dashboard looks too much like an aftermarket portable navigation system.
You operate most of the A-Class's infotainment functions by scrolling through menus on this screen something that can be a little distracting to do while driving due to the complicated menus.
However, interior space is more impressive; four six-footers will be comfortable and a fifth can squeeze in for short journeys. You just have to be careful not to bump your head when getting into the back due to the curve of the rear side windows.
The boot is also a decent size, but it's quite shallow, and the narrow opening can make it tricky to load larger items.
Should I buy one?
The new lowered comfort suspension gives the AMG Sport models a slightly more forgiving ride, but the A-Class remains a deeply flawed car.
Its three main rivals the Audi A3, BMW 1 Series and VW Golf all strike a better balance between comfort and control, plus they're more practical, much more refined and at least as cheap to run. In short, they're all better buys.
What Car? says
Specification A200 CDI AMG Sport
Engine size 1.8-litre diesel
Price from 24,765
Torque 221lb ft
0-62mph 9.3 seconds
Top speed 130mph
Fuel economy 62.8mpg
CO2 emissions 118g/km