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The Mercedes-AMG A35 is the newest member of the AMG family, and it offers performance and delight in a subtle yet capable manner.

25 Aug 2020


Loud, boisterous, outrageous. That's what you normally think of when you think of an AMG.

Can you have an AMG that's none of those things? Well, now you sort of can - this new Mercedes-AMG A35 Saloon might just do the trick. 

Wait, whatever for? 

The A35 is a handsome yet understated-looking performance car
An AMG has plenty of appeal, and that's before we even get to performance. For starters, AMG cars tend to look really good. This A35 is no different. Blessed with an already sleek A-Class Saloon silhouette and sharpened by AMG styling bits, the A35 is an understated yet handsome car. And, it's quite a bit more handsome than its direct competitors (the Audi S3 and the BMW M235i).

The interior is pretty Mercedes-Benz fare - sleek, shiny surfaces, plenty of lighting options, and generally it feels high-class. Our test car came with a smaller 7.0-inch single-dial digital instrument cluster screen, but customer cars will all get the twin 10.25-inch screens as standard.

The cabin is a typically eye-catching and delightful Mercedes-Benz affair
One complaint that we have is with the seats - the standard sports seats aren't the most comfortable, nor the most supportive. The $11,000 AMG Performance Advanced Seat Package is one way to resolve this issue. 

Talk to me about performance...

The A35 might be considered by some to be the 'baby' AMG, but honestly with 302bhp and 400Nm of torque, it's got power that's far from childish. In fact, we think the more explosive A45 arguably has too much power. This 2.0-litre powerplant feels just right - enough poke for exuberant driving, but not too much to scare or intimidate the driver.

The infotainment system can be controlled using the touchpad, or the touch buttons on the steering wheel
Hoof the right pedal and acceleration is urgent and aggressive, accompanied by a sweet sound. Zero to 100km/h takes just 4.8 seconds, so the A35 has requisite straight-line pace that lets you puff out your chest at traffic lights.

The gearbox is quite sporty even in the comfort setting, and always willing to downshift to hunt out more power. The car is quite turbo-reliant, so the gearbox tends to hunt for higher revs in a lower gear, even with just a tad more throttle. This is great for vigorous driving, but there are times, especially at lower speeds and revs, when we wish the car would just hold its current gear and just use the torque to continue to pull the car forward instead of dropping one cog.

The 2.0-litre engine outputs a healthy 302bhp and 400Nm of torque
The A35 handles with sharpness and confidence. The brakes are excellent. There's copious amounts of grip thanks to the all-wheel drive system, and it's pretty much impossible to overcome unless you are deliberately trying to upset the car (and you have to try pretty damn hard). It would be nice to have more steering feel to match the car's agility, but it's still a pretty rewarding car to drive - the A35 is generally more precise and less hooligan-ish than you'd typically expect from an AMG.

But, and there is one big but, there is one issue with this car as specified - the standard suspension leaves something to be desired. The car has the AMG suspension with specific spring/damping elements, but whatever specific thing Mercedes did to the spring/damping just isn't very good. It's overzealously stiff, and that compromises the ride significantly.

Hard driving is accompanied by a crisp and potent soundtrack
Yes, it's great for when you are driving aggressively over smooth tarmac, with the car very capably shuffling power around and putting it down onto the road. But go over any kind of low speed hump and the car crashes harshly over it, especially over the rear axle (the rear suspension is noticeably stiffer than the front). There's just too little give in the suspension, and we did experience the suspension bottoming out on some harsher bumps.

The optional AMG Ride Control adaptive suspension is a $4,100 option. That is a must-have. 

So, it's a good AMG? 

The A35 handles with delightful agility and accuracy
Let's be clear of one thing - the A35 is a fantastic little car with lots to like. It's not quite full-blown AMG madness, and in our minds that's a good thing - the bigger V6 and V8 models have that absolutely covered. And, the car's one notable flaw can be easily resolved.

This is a different kind of performance. The A35 is athletic and muscular without making a show of it. It's fast without being intimidating. It's accessible without being obnoxious. And that kind of subtlety has its own kind of appeal. It's a car you can use every day and live with without ever having to worry too much about being judged or side-eyed (you're not going to be causing a ruckus every time you drive home late at night).

Just make sure to pick up the optional adaptive suspension.

Want a good listen of that engine ? Well, now you can with our video review here!



Car Information

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Promotion
There's a promotion for Mercedes-Benz A-Class Saloon

Price

: $237,888

Engine Type

:

4-cylinder in-line Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

1991cc

Horsepower

:

225kW (302 bhp)

Torque

:

400 Nm

Transmission

:

7G-DCT (A) AMG SPEEDSHIFT

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

4.8sec

Top Speed

:

250km/h

Fuel consumption

:

unknown

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mercedes  amg  amg a35  a35  a-class  amg a35 saloon  a35 saloon  mercedes-amg