Which is how I got to see it from the other side, that of owner and daily driver, rather than road test assessor. And it was extraordinary. Thanks to its sandwich construction which slides much of the bespoke powertrain under the cabin, Mercedes could use that space to create one of the most space efficient interiors of all time. I also had a Jaguar XJR on long term assessment and I remember very clearly trying to decant the contents of the A-Class boot and back seat into the enormous Jag and realising at an early stage it was an entirely futile task. Take the back seats out of the diminutive Benz and you’d need a small van to carry more.
Which is why I kept it for ten years. Then it was crashed into, not badly, but it was by then worth so little it would probably have cost more to repair than it was worth. But by lucky hap Mercedes-Benz was at the time building a small historic fleet of some of its more significant cars and the fact mine was the oldest A-Class in the country and had played a starring role in the car’s launch meant it was worth something to them. Not a lot, but more than throwing it away. And it meant it would live on which made me happy.
In fact the car was not merely repaired, but restored to the standard required by Mercedes of all its cars before they are shown and sampled by a new generation of motoring journalists. Which is how it spent the ten years after that. Most recently it was involved in the launch of the latest generation of A-Class on a compare and contrast basis.
But with the new car launched and no obvious need for it for the foreseeable future, Mercedes became minded to sell it on. By contrast, now that the children who were partly brought up on its back seat now have driving licences, it seemed a perfect opportunity to reacquaint them with an old friend. Which is why it’s now sitting outside my house.