While the larger Mercedes-AMG sedans and sports utility vehicle (SUVs) are still considered expensive, compact models from the A Class appears to strike a balance between easier entry pricing while delivering AMG performance.
Arguably the “cheapest” true-blue Mercedes-AMG offering available locally, the A 35 4Matic sedan and the A 35 4Matic Edition 1 hatchback, costing RM336,277 and RM366,785 respectively, on-the-road without insurance and without SST.
Based on the current A Class sedan (V177) and hatchback (W177) generation, the Mercedes-AMG variants get a huge upgrade in performance, styling and panache.
For a start, both cars arrive with aggressive and more hunkered-down styling with black highlights, twin louvre radiator grille, front splitter, front air intakes with flics, side aprons, rear diffuser and spoiler as well as larger 19-inch wheels with cross-drilled front 350mm brake discs.
The body of the cars have also been made stiffer and more robust, introducing elements such as an aluminium sheer plate below the engine and additional front diagonal bracing for quicker turn-in during high-speed road or track driving.
The strong sporty cues are also felt inside with the flat-bottom AMG Performance steering wheel, sporty seats, as well as plenty of Artico and Dinamica upholstery, and quality metallic inserts.
The dashboard is highlighted by a pair of 10.25-inch display screens and the cars also get the latest MBUX voice-operated system and centre console touchpad in the regular A Class line-up.
The A 35 models also feature an AMG display menu where the driver can access engine data, coolant temperature and G-force, among others.
Adding more excitement are the turbine-styled air vents and the 64-colour ambient lighting that can turn the interior into a disco-like scene during night driving.
With the sedan and hatchback having the same wheelbase of 2,729mm, the front and rear leg room are similar and should be just enough for vehicles of this segment.
However, the A 35 sedan whose roofline slopes towards rear after the B-pillars for an elegant quasi coupe-ish look, has caused the rear passengers to have 16mm less headroom than those of the hatchback.
Overall, the rear seat to ceiling distance of 944mm still makes the A 35 sedan a practical vehicle for daily use.
Under the bonnet is a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine that has been tuned to deliver 306hp and 400Nm of torque and mated to a seven-speed AMG Speedshift 7G dual clutch transmission with 4Matic all-wheel drive system.
Depending on the driving condition, the 4Matic system could be running the cars on front-wheel drive only to reduce fuel consumption or alter the torque distribution for up to 50:50 front and rear for optimum traction.
Both cars also come with five Dynamic Select driving modes of Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual where the engine response, suspension stiffness, exhaust note or even transmission shifting strategies are pre-set.
While the engine powering both cars are the same, the lighter A 35 hatchback completes the 0-100kph sprint in 4.7 seconds and is 0.1 second quicker than the sedan.
Both cars have the same top speed which is electronically limited to 250kph.
Starting up both cars is joyous as they quickly fire up with a throaty growl before settling down to a purr.
Engage the gear selector to drive and the cars pick up speed quickly without the need to floor the accelerator even half way down.
When driven casually at Comfort drive mode, the exhaust note of both cars are a bit higher compared with typical family cars and this would be easily noticed by passers-by.
Switch to Sport+ mode and the engine feels livelier with a more invigorating and louder tone.
Floor the throttle and brutal acceleration is unleashed with noticeable firecracker-like pops from the exhausts during gearshifts.
Those familiar with Mercedes-AMG models will know that their suspension set-up are stiffer compared with their luxury and comfort-oriented Mercedes-Benz siblings.
Even though the A 35 models came with adaptive adjustable damping to aid ride comfort, going fast on pothole-riddled roads is strongly discouraged.
The harder suspension, on the other hand, improved high-speed handling and cornering, making both cars extremely fun and enjoyable on straight highways and twisty trunk roads.
Steering is precise and responsive, giving high levels of confidence when making quick lane changing manoeuvres.
Compared with the A 35 hatchback that uses perforated Nappa leather on the steering wheel, the A 35 sedan’s Nappa leather and suede-like Dinamica combination is more pleasant to touch and allows for better grip.
But the A 35 hatchback has justification for its higher price over the A 35 sedan - it gets front AMG Performance Seats with higher side bolsters that not only offer better hold on the front occupants during boisterous driving but also shout more sporty vibes.
The A 35 hatchback also gets a larger rear spoiler that is more eye-catching compared with the simpler unit on the A 35 sedan’s boot lid.
Overall, features are extensive and include airbags, Active Brake Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Active Parking Assist with Parktronic, Adaptive Brake Lights, Blind Spot Assist and Cruise Control among others.
Also available are KEYLESS-GO, Parking Package with reverse camera, PRE-SAFE System, Tyre Pressure Monitoring System, sat-nav, Advanced Sound System, Android Auto/Apple CarPlay and Communications module (LTE) for Mercedes me connect services.
Both A 35 models offer similar levels of thrills. It all depends on the buyer’s preference. The hatchback is certainly flashier while the sedan is more mature, practical with a bigger 420-litre boot and is around RM30,000 cheaper.
Mercedes-AMG A 35 4Matic Edition 1 Hatchback
Acceleration (0-100kph): 4.7 seconds
Top speed: 250kph (electronically limited)
Fuel consumption: 7.3-7.4 litre per 100km
Boot space: 370 litres
Price: RM366,785 (on-the-road without insurance and without SST)
Overall score 8.1
Mercedes-AMG A 35 4Matic Sedan
Acceleration (0-100kph): 4.8 seconds
Top speed: 250kph (electronically limited)
Fuel consumption: 7.3 litre per 100km
Boot: 420 litres
Price: RM336,277 (on-the-road without insurance and without SST)
Overall score 8.1
Engine: 1,991cc, four-inline cylinder, dual camshafts, turbocharged
Maximum power: 306hp at 5,800rpm
Maximum torque: 400Nm from 3,000–4,000rpm
Transmission: AMG Speedshift DCT 7G, 4Matic all-wheel drive
Features: Airbags including knee airbag, suspension with Adaptive Damping System, Dynamic Select, Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus, AMG bodystyling, electrically folding exterior mirrors, Multibeam LED, Aluminium AMG Design Trim Elements, ambient lighting, AMG Performance steering wheel with control buttons/switches, Artico leather/Dinamica microfibre seats, auto dimming mirror, electric adjustable front seats with memory function, Thermotronic Climate Control, centre console Touchpad, wireless charging and Bluetooth connectivity, Active Brake Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Active Parking Assist with Parktronic, Adaptive Brake Lights, Blind Spot Assist, Cruise Control, KEYLESS-GO, Parking Package with reverse camera, PRE-SAFE System, Tyre Pressure Monitoring System, MBUX Multimedia System, sat-nav, Advanced Sound System, Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, Communications module (LTE) for Mercedes me connect services, 19-inch wheel