AMG’s entry level middle man A 35 Sedan offers a very good compromise
The Mercedes-AMG A 35 4Matic is near identical to its CLA 35 sibling. But it isn’t and it’s that choice that sets it apart. The middle man of AMG’s new entry 35 range, the sedan sits below CLA and above its A hatch siblings. The 35s were developed alongside their 45 S kin to expand the AMG portfolio to a broader audience that wants it all. But who may find the wilder, more expensive AMG 45, well, too wild.
THE POWER OF CHOICE
There’s probably a bigger demand for an almost as exciting car that delivers superior performance and inspiring handling anyway. And of course, this is a vital step into that AMG world. Because of that, you get the choice of three body styles too. This middle brother lack a touch of its sleeker sibling’s style, but you will actually need to park them next to each other to notice. And it’s a clear step aside from the hatch too.
The heart of the matter is AMG 35’s 225 kW 400 Nm 2-litre turbo four-pot. That’s considerably less than the 45’s 310kW and 500Nm. But don’t let that worry you. That output is fed through and AMG Speedshift DCT 7G dual-clutch transmission to CLA 35’s AMG Performance 4Matic variable performance all-wheel drive. Add AMG Dynamic Select has five individual driving programs for a broad range of engine and transmission responses. It also brings a gruffer exhaust tone.
Boasting a low single wishbone, tie rod and spring damper unit front end set-up, our test unit also had Adaptive Damping. Three comfort, brisk and sporty suspension modes automatically react to the car’s behaviour to adapt each wheel to reigning driving conditions and enhance both ride comfort and agility. Fixed 4-piston monoblock callipers grip 350 millimetre ventilated and perforated discs up front and single-pot sliding callipers on 330 millimetre rotors at the rear stop it.
A LITTLE MORE SPACE INSIDE
Being a sedan rather than a 4-door coupe also means a little more space inside. The rest of the cabin is just as splendid. Slip into the driver’s seat and you’re faced by a latest generation Mercedes multifunction steering wheel in a space dominated by Merc’s Widescreen Cockpit dual 3D display. We still consider it to be the best interface between driver and car. Not just compared to the rest of this car’s systems, but versus any car.
We love those two little black steering touch pads, the right one to control the fully digital instrument cluster, which offers three AMG display graphics styles. One of them is a striking Supersport mode with a central tachometer and additional info in 3D effect bars to each side. There’s also a neat and legible heads-up display positioned just where you need it, almost in your line of sight.
The left pad runs A 35’s ‘Hey Mercedes’ MBUX multimedia packing Apple Car Play, Android Auto, Bluetooth and the rest. Including those fancy new USB sockets. Daft considering most people still use old version big plug USB cables. Why not one of each? There’s also wireless charging, if your mobile is compatible. The party trick My Mercedes doesn’t always understand my accent. But it’s still so cool.
A35 HAS A TRACK PACK. JUST IN CASE
Our AMG A 35 Sedan also packed the optional AMG Track Pace trackday pack complete with a virtual race engineer. Just in case!
So what’s it like to drive? AMG claims 4.8 seconds 0-100km/h sprint time, but this car did not quite get that right in our tests. Let’s that say that this particular unit was a little lazy. A 35 has great throttle response once on the move and top end acceleration is mighty. Handling is confidence inspiring and road holding solid. The front end, if a little distant, is sprightly and quick to respond to input. Not 45 vicious.
The brakes are impressive too, although there’s a touch of bump-steer as the nose pushes down under heavy braking. A compromise in suspension geometry tuned to reduce torque steer, perhaps?
A 35 SEDAN IS A VERY GOOD COMPROMISE
All in all, the Mercedes-AMG A 35 is a compromise overall. But a very good one at that. Not too many owners will put up with the A45’s uncompromising nature everyday. This slightly slower and significantly more composed 35 version is also a good 200 grand cheaper. But more importantly, it’s an AMG through and through for a lot less that the big ones cost. – Michele Lupini
Images: Giordano Lupini
ROAD TESTED: Mercedes-AMG A 35 4Matic Engine: 220kW 400Nm 2-litre turbo petrol I4 Drive: 7-speed automatic AWD TESTED: 0-60km/h: 2.70 sec 0-100km/h: 5.30 sec 0-120 km/h 7.07 sec 0-160km/h: 11.62 sec 400m: 13.4 sec @ 172 km/h 80-120km/h: 3.16 sec 120-160km/h: 4.54 sec CLAIMED: VMax: 250 km/h Fuel: 7.2 l/100km CO2: 164 g/km Warranty/Service: 5y unl./5y 100Kkm LIST PRICE: R948K RATED: 8