Jaco Van Der Merwe
Head of Motoring
5 minute read
10 Dec 2020
7:30 am

Mercedes A-Class: From bread bin to pocket rocket

Jaco Van Der Merwe

It’s hard to imagine the AMG 45 S is related to the A160 of yesteryear.

Serious street credit

In the late 1990s Mercedes-Benz’s first-time venture into the subcompact segment hit South African showrooms in huge anticipation. The new gateway into the German premium brand was an odd-looking machine by Mercedes’ design standard. It looked like a bread bin, some would declare, an observation still fairly accurate some two decades on. The entry-level model into the newly-created A-Class had a A160 badge on the back and was powered by a 1.6-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine sending 75kW/150Nm to the front wheels. It got to 100 km/h from a standstill in 11.6 sec and had a top speed of 186...