The A35 might be rather less menacing in a brighter shade.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

You already know the episode of Futurama the place Fry drinks 100 cups of espresso? That is the 2020 Mercedes-AMG A35 in a nutshell. There isn’t a off swap. There are not any durations of calm. It’s a ball of perennial vitality, a relentless frenetic tumult. For those who’re questioning what sacrifice is required in an AMG car beginning round $45,000, it is hidden in the truth that this small sedan can by no means calm the eff down.

Like

Compact-car hustleExcellent cabin techNot terribly costly

Do not Like

Iffy DCT tuningInconsistent energy deliveryStiffness lasting longer than 4 hours

Gentle as a feather, stiff as a board

OK, the A35’s lack of chill is just not solely full. Beginning the automotive is definitely a fairly sedate affair, its 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 leaping to life with (predictably) much less clamor than a few of AMG’s heavier hitters. Contemplating there must be room for the A45 above it, this is not a lot of a shock, though I’ll admit I am a sucker for offended chilly begins.

Each different femtosecond of existence contained in the A35, although, is engineered for prime vitality — not all the time for the higher, both. Let’s take the engine: Its output of 302 horsepower and 295 pound-feet is not record-breaking, but it surely’s greater than sufficient to ship this sedan capturing to the horizon. And that may occur usually, due to some unusual energy supply. The four-pot takes a second to construct increase, and someplace earlier than 3,000 rpm, the automotive will transition from a leisurely tempo to sturdy ahead movement with much less regard than I would like for throttle place because it reaches the engine’s peak torque vary. Half the time I attempt to shoot a niche on the road, I miss it as a result of I’ve rocketed straight previous it. Certain, it sounds nice whereas the needle sweeps the tachometer, I simply want the supply have been even remotely linear.

That prime-strung feeling extends to the seven-speed dual-clutch computerized transmission, too. When the A35 claws by means of corners, the DCT seamlessly transitions from gear to gear. At any tempo under that, it turns into greater than slightly annoying. Ranging from a cease requires what appears like a full second of clutch slip, making it tough to time a departure from a aspect road to an artery, and the problem is additional compounded when the engine decides it is time for max acceleration. If my mind is working quick sufficient to say, “No, I will not make this hole,” panic-lifting the throttle midslip elicits a quite unnerving clunk deep within the driveline. Slower, around-town shifts really feel janky no matter car mode. A traditional torque-converter computerized would go a good distance in making this automotive really feel extra regular in day by day operation.

Very like the bigger Mercedes-AMG C43, the A35 is constantly stiff. My tester’s elective sport suspension ($850) contributes to this, however the mode labeled “Consolation” by no means actually lives as much as that moniker, as I’m keenly and consistently conscious of each patch of uneven highway. Throw it into Sport and the automotive will keep flat, which is nice for hitting curvy again roads at tempo. It is frantic, certain, however the A35 is properly composed, by no means as soon as making me really feel just like the automotive is unsettled as I dig deeper. The steering is properly weighted and direct, and mixed with massive metal brakes that would cease a a lot bigger automotive, it’s extremely laborious to not have enjoyable within the A35. Simply be sure to’re consistently in search of that sort of enjoyable, as a result of once more, there isn’t any stopping it.

Mercedes-AMG should be saving many of the A35’s chill for freeway speeds, as a result of its gas economic system is fairly first rate. I’ve no issue assembly and beating the EPA’s estimates of 24 miles per gallon metropolis and 31 mpg freeway, though the gas tank’s slightly on the small aspect at 13.5 gallons.

Imply outdoors, comfortable inside

Whereas I am slightly bummed the US would not get the A-Class Hatchback present in Europe, I am simply completely satisfied we get the A-Class in any respect. Ever since I first drove this small sedan, I’ve cherished its proportions and its mildly offended visible demeanor. Clad in black paint and devoid of chrome, my tester is sort of the menacing little factor, with the usual AMG bundle providing up slightly additional aggression by means of the fasciae, and it is additional enhanced with a $750 AMG Evening Bundle that throws in a complete bunch of black trim.

The inside feels particular, too, regardless of this AMG’s (comparatively) low beginning worth. My tester’s leather-and-suede seats are grippy and have simply the correct quantity of assist. The vents and buttons are largely the identical as you may discover in dearer Mercs, though the vinyl AMG remedy on the passenger-side dashboard is slightly on the kitschy aspect. Apart from a $580 heated seat possibility, all these things is commonplace, too, together with the superbly sized suede-wrapped steering wheel.

The AMG stripes on the passenger aspect are fortunately elective.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

The A-Class is perhaps a compact automotive, but it surely’s not oppressively tight inside. There’s adequate headroom and legroom for all passengers, and the roof is not sharply raked sufficient to trigger taller passengers consternation — however don’t fret, there is a CLA-Class for that. Storage abounds for a small automotive, too, with decently sized door pockets and a cubby forward of the cup holders that is massive sufficient to carry most each tchotchke I’ve bought with me. Its trunk’s 8.6-cubic-foot capability is perhaps a difficulty in the event you’re attempting to take a whole household on a highway journey, but it surely’s greater than capacious sufficient for groceries, purchasing journeys and the rest you’d usually do.

MBUX knocks it out of the park

Whereas the lesser A220 has quite a lot of screens on provide, the A35 comes with the premium setup mechanically. Mounted atop the dashboard is a pair of 10.3-inch shows, with the fitting aspect sporting MBUX, Mercedes-Benz’s newest and best infotainment system. It is leaps and bounds higher than the outgoing COMAND tech, with a simplified assortment of menus, glorious natural-language voice recognition and the standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. It additionally packs a couple of tips up its sleeve, like augmented actuality turn-by-turn instructions (a part of a $1,150 multimedia bundle) and a display you’ll be able to really contact. USB-C ports handle charging and smartphone knowledge transmission.

The second 10.3-incher, smack-dab in entrance of the motive force’s face, handles gauge cluster obligation. You’ll be able to preserve it conventional with a big speedometer and tachometer, or you’ll be able to flick your thumb on the steering wheel’s left touchpad to open up quite a lot of choices. You’ll be able to swap out particular gauges with massive maps or gas economic system data, or you’ll be able to swap to a design that appears slightly extra futuristic. It is perhaps theater, but it surely’s good theater.

MBUX takes all of the annoying components of COMAND and relegates them to the previous.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

On the security entrance, computerized emergency braking is the only piece of normal package. Spending $550 opens up blind-spot monitoring, whereas a $1,090 bundle provides a surround-view digital camera system and lively parking help. Every little thing else is tucked away within the $1,700 Driver Help Bundle, which incorporates adaptive cruise management with lively steering help, lane-keeping help, lively lane-change help and route-based pace adaptation. My tester lacks these, however earlier A-Class expertise dictates that these packages needs to be fairly helpful on lengthy journeys.

How I would spec it

My tester’s not obscenely priced, beginning at $45,945 together with vacation spot and rounding out to $51,635 with choices. My best A35 begins with a $720 shade of Denim Blue Metallic, whereas I add $900 for LED headlights and $750 for the AMG Evening Bundle, since I despise exterior chrome. Since I am additionally not a fan of suede, I am going to spend $1,450 to improve to a leather-based inside whereas dropping an extra $950 for heated and ventilated entrance seats. One other $800 opens up autodimming mirrors and keyless entry, however I am going to skip the navigation bundle since I favor CarPlay. I am going to additionally move over the security methods, however I am going to splurge on the $1,090 surround-view digital camera getup and the $990 adaptive dampers. That brings my best A35’s price ticket as much as $53,195. Yowza.

All the way down to brass tacks

Mercedes-Benz’s greatest opponents for the A35 can really be discovered on the identical vendor lot. The AMG CLA35 affords a shapelier silhouette, but it surely additionally prices a bit extra. The AMG GLA35 will seemingly be a sizzling vendor, given the general public’s predilection for posh, twee utes, and the identical goes for the GLB35. Its closest non-Benz competitor is the Audi S3, and what have you learnt, there is a brand-new one coming for the 2022 mannequin yr. Lastly, the seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf R is on its method out the door, and it stands as a wonderfully appropriate (if much less luxurious) competitor since sellers needs to be eager to clear inventories — not that the Vee-Dub is not cheaper to start with.

The 2020 Mercedes-AMG A35 is enjoyable. Tons of enjoyable, really. It is all the time prepared and rarin’ to go, which implies it is not laborious to have a great time behind the wheel. You simply should be able to have that good time on a regular basis.

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