The standard cars on comfort suspension have oddly weighted steering and poor body control. You’ll have little idea of what the front wheels are doing, and when you turn in to a corner the whole car leans over, which is not a pleasant experience.
This standard A-Class feels like a bigger and heavier car than some of its rivals such as the Audi A3, which is lighter on its feet. The Mercedes has good traction in corners, but the uneven control and pedal weights rob you of some confidence.
The 250 AMG version corners flatter and grips better, but the steering is still not as precise as, say, an Audi A3 Sportback.
If you opt for the adaptive dampers, these do make a big difference. They afford the A-Class much better body control, which makes it a more enjoyable car to drive along twisty roads.
Even on standard dampers the four-wheel drive versions, including the A 220 d and A 250, are the best-handling variants, although they are also pricey to run. With the heavily reworked AMG A 45 4Matic version the handling takes a huge leap forward. The steering is well weighted, and the car has excellent balance and body control.