Is the 1st Gen A-Class the worst car in the history of the world?

Hear me out, I might have cracked the case.

5w ago

15.9K

I see you looking at the ceiling, saying to yourself "Not again, not a post about the worst car in the world", I know it might be the 50th one you read this week alone, but hear me out.

The other day I had a conversation with a buddy of mine and the Mercedes A-Class came on the table. Even if we consider the last two generations to be fairly decent cars, with their over-the-top performance and fairly high price-tag for a hatchback, it is hard to forget that its beginnings were... crap.

Hard to believe the A45 AMG traces its roots back from the original block of cheese on wheel.

Hard to believe the A45 AMG traces its roots back from the original block of cheese on wheel.

If we go by the empiric, Clarkson and May way to define the worst car of the history of the world, and I quote: "made by a manufacturer that should have known better", it is difficult to argue that the A-Class doesn't bring the crown home.

Mercedes has a reputation of high-end, advanced technology and innovative thinking put in their cars. The S-Class is the daddy of any luxury saloon, the original 300 SL was the symbol of motoring magnificence for a whole generation, the G-Wagon is an icon in its class and the list goes on and on and on about iconic Mercedes models. And I'm not even touching on AMG models. Take any category of cars, there's a Mercedes for it.

With cars like this in your family tree, you should not allow yourself to make miserable cars.

With cars like this in your family tree, you should not allow yourself to make miserable cars.

Any category? Not exactly. Despite working on such project since the late 80's, up until 1997 Mercedes did not have a city car to offer and this was an issue. Audi released the A3 back in 1996 and it was an instant success. Mercedes had to make a move. Unfortunately, this was during the era were Mercedes had lost its spark, the C-Class C203 being the embodiment of Mercedes gloomy days.

The A-Class came on the market without bringing anything exciting on the table, aside from having a Mercedes badge. It was 1,100kg of sad looks and cheap materials. It was slow too, but not enough to prevent it from tipping over. Its only advantage was that you were sharing the same car-key as somebody driving around in an SL 65 AMG.

Usually, this means the car stability is not that good.

Usually, this means the car stability is not that good.

I understand the struggle for a premium carmaker to start making city cars, which have to be reasonably priced, so you can't expect E-Class materials on an entry-level car. The problem with the A-Class really was that, aside from desperately wanting a Mercedes badge, you were better off in a Polo. Audi might have screwed up with the A2, but at least it was innovative, with its fully aluminium body and the 1-Series was rear-wheel drive.

I ask you, DriveTribers, to think long and hard about that one, because it might very well be the worst car in the history of the world, and I am actually surprised nobody pointed that car out before - an article on DT called it the worst car Mercedes ever made, but it has to be extended as the worst car ever made, period.

What are your thoughts, let me know below.

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Comments (28)

  • The A class certainly cheapened the brand more so than the 1 series did for BMW. The launch coincided with Mercedes abandonment of solid build quality too.

      1 month ago
    • There is nothing wrong with 1 Series. I like them very much because there reliable, light, built in Germany and RWD. Sorry, were RWD. I own two of them, 120i and M135i both with 6-speed manual transmission.

      I purchased them brand new, 120i is...

      Read more
        1 month ago
  • Yep, we had an A Class the year they first came out. I was so proud and excited, and it did run at 80 like a limo. But our first trip the air con failed. Pretty soon the electrics started playing up. Then the rear springs crumbled. Servicing cost the same as a wedding. I remember saying in a very loud voice in the dealership “this is the worst car I’ve ever owned, and I’ve owned an Allegro!”

      1 month ago
    • Please tell me you sold it before depreciation made it worth less than a set of tires.

        1 month ago
    • Sadly not. Threw more money at it. Eventually the wiring loom had to be replaced because it ran behind the engine mounts and every time the engine rocked it shorted. So we traded it for a Multipla that was 1000 times better.

        1 month ago
  • Whilst I didn’t like it, it’s paved the way for today’s A-class which is a very good car.

    Every manufacturer has made errors, hindsight is a fabulous thing.

      1 month ago
    • I do agree that the current A-Class is a great premium hatchback, I even think that i'd have one over a current A3 or 1-series !

        1 month ago
    • Great minds!

        1 month ago
  • I thought that the Lexus SC430 was the worst car in the history of the world - at least according to Jeremy and James. But indeed the old A-Class ist one of the ugliest cars ever made.

      1 month ago
  • It's up there for sure. mercedes really should have known better. Oh well, at least it's cool now

      1 month ago

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