Company Car Today

First Drive

First Drive: Mercedes A220d

Mercedes-Benz A220d AMG Line
The story: Mercedes-Benz becomes the first brand to offer RDE2-compliant diesel engines in the lower medium sector, giving company car drivers a four-band reduction in BIK tax before any of its rivals.
Category:Premium lower medium
Key rival:Audi A3 Sportback
Efficiency:55.6 mpg
On sale:Now

Mercedes-Benz has jumped to the front of the queue when it comes to sensible company car choices with the arrival of RDE2-compliant diesel engines in its A-Class, the 2019 Company Car Today CCT100 Car of the Year.

There are two engines that receive the four-band reduction in company car Benefit-in-Kind by hitting RDE2 compliance – the 150hp A200d, and the 190hp A220d driven here.

To get the maths out of the way first, the A220d will save a 40% BIK taxpayer £65 a month versus a BMW 120d M Sport, which adds up rather quickly. That advantage won’t last – in time Mercedes’ rivals will catch up with RDE2 compliance, although it’s not imminent.

These new engines also bring diesel very much back into play as a fuel choice for company car drivers, because knocking off those four BIK bands puts diesel back below the tax level of a petrol model, on top of the efficiency benefits. To compare 190hp petrol and diesel A-Class AMG Line models, the diesel costs £2050 more, but monthly tax bills will be £32 cheaper and the diesel is 16.1mph more efficient, so there are big fuel cost savings to be had. The four-band reduction also means company car tax bills will be just £2 more per month than the cheaper A180d model that only has 136hp.First Drive-August 2019-Mercedes A200d-Image 1

As experienced with the B220d mini-MPV sibling, the A-Class’s new diesel engine is dominated, at low speed at least, by a very sensitive throttle that can lead to more rapid take-offs than intended until the driver adjusts to the control required.

But once it’s going, it’s a potent and refined engine. The A220d is only available in top AMG Line specification, while the A200d comes with Sport or AMG Line, and both are linked to an eight-speed automatic transmission as standard.

The A-Class looks sharp, has a nice interior quality and, by dabbling to the tune of four figures in the options list, has a great large twin-screen infotainment system. The car does though feel compact on the inside, with a cosy cabin not exactly suited to four six-footers.


Paul Barker

The verdict

Punchy engine that offers decent performance and efficiency as well as lower company car tax than any rival.