New Mercedes-AMG A35 vs BMW M140i

Mercedes-AMG’s new entry-level A35 isn’t as extreme as some hot hatches, but still promises to give BMW’s M140i a run for its money...

BMW M140i interior

Behind the wheel

Driving position, visibility, build quality

The best interiors make you feel part of the car – important in anything designed primarily to put a smile on your face. The M140i’s low-slung seat and widely adjustable steering wheel give it the more natural-feeling driving position, although it’s not perfect: the pedals are offset to the right and its seat feels a bit shapeless and unsupportive when you’re cornering hard. 

The A35s sports seats are much better contoured, so although adjustable lumbar support isn’t available (it’s a £195 option on the M140i), you hardly miss it. But the range of adjustment in the A35’s driving position isn’t as extensive, so you can’t emulate the M140i’s legs-stretched-out, arms-close-to-chest seating position.

As standard, the A35 has a 7.0in digital instrument panel behind the steering wheel. However, this display grows to 10.3in if you opt for the AMG Premium Equipment Line package (£2395). The M140i’s analogue dials seem a bit ‘last season’ by comparison. 

Mercedes-AMG A35 interior

Seeing out the front of both is pretty easy, but the A35’s larger rear side windows and bigger rear screen grant you a better view of what’s behind. That’s not a major issue, because the M140i gets rear parking sensors as standard, although the A35 counters with a standard rear-view camera. Both of our contenders come with powerful LED headlights that you can upgrade to adaptive units for an extra charge. 

Which has the higher-quality interior? Well, there’s no doubt the A35 provides more razzmatazz, thanks to its rich mixture of materials and vibrant style. The M140i, which is nearing the end of its life, looks stale by comparison and many of the materials used throughout don’t have quite the same upmarket feel. However, the A35 isn’t perfect, either; its heater control panel feels somewhat rickety, for example.

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