2019 Mercedes-AMG A35 4Matic - price, specs and release date
The new A35 aims to give younger buyers a more affordable entry point into AMG ownership, but is it any good?...
Priced from £35,580 | Release date Now
Mercedes doesn’t like to miss out on a gap in the market – think CLS and GLC Coupé, for example – and yet the German manufacturer hasn’t had an entry-level hot hatch on its books. Where Volkswagen has its Up, Polo and Golf GTIs, Audi has its S3 and BMW has its M140i, Mercedes has only been able to offer buyers the expensive A45 AMG.
Which is where the Mercedes-AMG A35 comes in. Conceived to offer greater performance than the front-wheel-drive A250, but at a price that sees it pitched well below the future A45, Mercedes hopes its entry-level hot hatch will hit the sweet spot for buyers both dynamically and financially.
Under its bonnet lies the same 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine as used by the A250 – albeit revised to produce 302bhp and 295lb of torque – while drive is channelled through a heavily revised version of the 4Matic four-wheel drive system used by the first-generation A45.
2019 Mercedes-AMG A35 4Matic on the road
If that sounds like a potent combination, you’d be right. Even on wet roads, the A35’s claimed 0-62mph time of just 4.7sec is never in doubt. Even out of first-gear hairpin bends, the A35 simply hooks up and goes, the four-wheel drive system putting all that power to the ground without a hint of wheelspin.
However, once you get onto some quicker, more open roads, it quickly becomes apparent that the A35 isn’t quite as effortlessly fast as you might first expect. Where rivals such as the S3 and M140i feel pretty rapid even low down in the rev range, the A35’s engine needs to be revved pretty hard to get the most from it, with peak power coming in at a relatively high 5800rpm. That means you have to drive it a bit like an old-school hot hatch, revving the crackers off it at every opportunity.
Now, this wouldn’t be frustrating if that top-end power unlocked a playful and agile chassis, but unfortunately that’s not quite the case. You see, although the A35 has accurate steering, fantastic body control and a keen front end, once you really up the pace you find that its chassis is set up to push wide at the front when the limit of adhesion is finally reached – and that’s even when you select the looser AMG Sport stability control mode, which in theory makes the four-wheel drive system keener to send power rearwards.
Granted, this neutral and predictable balance means that it is massively quick across country, but in terms of pure enjoyment, you’d get more from a Golf GTI or M140i.
2019 Mercedes-AMG A35 4Matic interior
Adding to the A-Class’s already spectacular cabin, the A35 gets plenty of go-faster touches such as a pair of AMG wing-backed sports seats, an AMG flat-bottomed steering wheel with touchpad controls and AMG-specific graphics for the digital instruments, including a Supersport mode with a large central rev counter.
If you add the optional AMG Track Pace Pack, you also get bespoke software as part of the MBUX infotainment system that permanently records data during track driving, enabling you to analyse a range of info such as acceleration, braking and lap times. It’s something we doubt any buyers will actually use, but like having a dive watch rated to 200m, it’s more about bragging rights than anything else.
In terms of practicality, the A35 remains virtually identical to the standard car. That means the Golf GTI and Audi S3 offer more space for your passengers and their luggage. For more in-depth info on the A35’s interior, visit the space and practicality section of our A-Class 16-point review.