CATS Motors, the exclusive distributor of Mercedes-Benz vehicles in the Philippines, held the "Mercedes-Benz Driving Experience" last weekend at the Subic Bay International Airport. The event also served as a teaser for the launch of the all-new A-Class in June. As fate would have it, an A250 Sport was also on hand for us to drive fast but briefly.
According to CATS Motors, the Mercedes-Benz Driving Experience is an exclusive program for customers of the German carmaker, which aims "to equip them with the necessary skills to avoid accidents and manage difficult driving situations as they happen." To do this, professional driving instructors from the Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy staged exercises that highlighted the numerous technologies and safety systems of the carmaker. One such exercise was the Time Attack Challenge, and this was where we got to drive the A250 Sport.
Launched globally at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, the all-new A-Class boasts Mercedes-Benz's Pre-Safe system, which was first seen in the S-Class in 2002 and is the first of its kind to be introduced in the premium compact segment. For the A250 Sport, the Time Attack Challenge involved taking it through a tight, makeshift course, not only to demonstrate the Pre-Safe system's Brake Assist feature but to also show off the AMG-engineered high-performance suspension.
True enough, the A250 Sport managed to keep up with the C-Class and the SLK-Class, its 2.0-liter, 208hp engine making short work of the course even as its exhaust note made it sound like a mini SLS AMG.
Our first crack at the course saw us complete it at around 24 seconds, no doubt the car's understeer through the tight left turn after the first gate costing us dearly. Our second run, however, saw us shaving two seconds off our time as we slowly got to know the nuances of the A250 Sport's steering and suspension setup.
Too bad we only had two runs. We're definitely looking forward to driving it again, and hopefully at a more relaxed, friendlier pace.