So, I had the opportunity to drive the Golf R ‘’killer’’, the newly launched Mercedes-AMG A35 hatch, which comes with 4MATIC as well. This makes it very stable on the road, and makes an attractive entry-point for younger people wanting to drive a premium brand. The A 35 4MATIC will be available in South Africa in hatch, sedan and CLA 35 4MATIC formats.
As it was developed simultaneously with the A45 S 4MATIC, it was possible to inject some of the AMG DNA into the A35 model. The demand for the so called hot hatches, has increased in leaps and bounds in recent years for Mercedes Benz.
The hatch that I tested came in racing yellow, and whilst non petrolhead people would diss this look, for me it really pops. The radiator grille with twin louvres, the AMG Line front apron with flics on the air intakes, a front splitter and silver chrome trims on the louvres in the outer air intakes are distinguishing features at the front. The wing on the back you could possibly do without, but that is really subjective.
The AMG designers therefore more or less kept the basic form with wide wheel arches and a slim sporty waistline. The exhaust system features an automatically controlled exhaust flap as standard. Depending on the drive program selected, the sound is modulated from balanced to powerful.
The interior of the Mercedes-AMG 35 4MATIC range features a combination of sporty design and sophisticated details, including the MBUX multimedia system, with its innovative operating and display concept. Emotionally appealing presentations underline the clear control structure and feature brilliant maximum-resolution 3D graphics. Visually, the two displays under one shared glass cover blend into a Widescreen Cockpit and as a central element consequently emphasise the horizontal orientation of the interior design, which is an optional feature.
The customer can choose between three AMG display styles for the optional fully digital instrument cluster. The Supersport mode is particularly striking with a central, round rev counter and additional information presented in the form of bars to the left and right of the rev counter: with a three-dimensional perspective, they reach far into the background to an artificial horizon.
The Mercedes-AMG 35 4MATIC range also comes with trailblazing voice control, activated with the words “Hey Mercedes”. Thanks to artificial intelligence, MBUX recognises and understands nearly all sentences from the fields of infotainment and vehicle operation, even if they are expressed indirectly. Personally I do find that in many instances, the system does not understand your questions, and this can be frustrating.
The new generation of AMG steering wheels continues to provide the perfect link between the driver and the vehicle. The built-in Touch Control buttons are a new feature, and can be used to intuitively select the displays of the instrument cluster and the multimedia system by means of horizontal and vertical swiping and to position them according to individual preferences.
The performance & handling is at the heart of the A35 4MATIC, it was positioned between the A250, and the A45S 4MATIC, which was previously, a very wide chasm. This is achieved with the 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo engine that generates 225 kW, the AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7G dual-clutch transmission, the AMG suspension and the variable AMG Performance 4MATIC all-wheel drive. This results in a 0- 100km/h sprint time of just 4.7 seconds for the hatch, 4.8 seconds for the sedan, and 4.9 seconds for the CLA 35.
In simple terms, this car handles sublimely. I drove it at relatively high speed for a while, and it is pin point with steering into gaps, and powering away from any trouble.
Words like dynamism, agility and breathtaking performance abound. The variable AMG Performance combines the best possible traction with lots of driving fun, with torque distribution infinitely variable to suit the dynamic handling requirements. The five AMG DYNAMIC SELECT driving programs – Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport + and Individual enable a wide range of vehicle characteristics from comfortable to dynamic. They change relevant parameters, such as the response of the engine and transmission.
I had some great fun in this car, and we drove three up on one occasion, so space is not a problem. Technical data at a glance:
Technical data at a glance
|Mercedes-AMG A 35 4MATIC Hatch||Mercedes-AMG A 35 4MATIC Sedan||Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 4MATIC|
|Engine||2.0-litre 4-cylinder in-line with exhaust gas turbocharger||2.0-litre 4-cylinder in-line with exhaust gas turbocharger||2.0-litre 4-cylinder in-line with twin scroll exhaust gas turbocharger|
|Displacement||1991 cc||1991 cc||1991 cc|
|Max. output||225 kW at 5800-6100 rpm||225 kW at 5800 rpm||225 kW at 5800 rpm|
|Peak torque||400 Nm at 3000-4000 rpm||400 Nm at 3000-4000 rpm||400 Nm at 3000-4000 rpm|
|Drive system||AMG Performance 4MATIC fully variable all-wheel drive||AMG Performance 4MATIC variable all-wheel drive||AMG Performance 4MATIC fully variable all-wheel drive|
|Transmission||AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7G dual-clutch transmission||AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7G dualclutch transmission||AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7G dualclutch transmission|
|Combined fuel consumption||7.4-7.3 l/100 km*||7.3-7.2 l/100 km*||7.3-7.2 l/100 km*|
|Combined CO2 emissions||169-167 g/km*||167-164 g/km*||167-164 g/km*|
|Acceleration 0-100 km/h||4.7 s||4.8 s||4.9 s|
|Top speed||250 km/h**||250 km/h**||250 km/h**|
|Retail price||R841 000||R850 000||R948 000|
Pricing for the A35 4MATIC AMG is relatively dear at R850 000.00, and you could buy a Golf R much cheaper. But if you wish to drive a premium brand, this is the way to go.