Mercedes AMG A35 Review

The Mercedes-AMG A35 packs more than 300hp in a seriously stylish body with a luxurious cabin but it isn’t as giggle-inducing as some hot hatches and it doesn’t come cheap.

8/10
Wowscore

This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car

What's good

  • Sporty looks
  • High-tech cabin
  • Easy to drive quickly

What's not so good

  • Expensive
  • Not as fun to drive as alternatives
  • Desirable options cost extra

Mercedes AMG A35: what would you like to read next?

Overall verdict

Watch our Mercedes-AMG A35 hatchback video review

Hot hatches have an extremely tough job these days. Buyers want them to be quick, great fun to drive, high-quality and practical inside and have the latest tech. Not much then. Happily, the Mercedes-AMG A35 ticks most of these boxes and puts up a very strong fight against other similarly-priced performance models such as the Audi S3, BMW M135i and Honda Civic Type R.

Even before you get in the A35, you can tell it’s different to a regular A-Class thanks to bigger wheels, brakes, beefier bumpers and splitters – all inspired by the outrageous A45 S. The A35 is more subtle and unless you opt for the optional AMG exterior pack, you can have your A35 look pretty unassuming – it makes for a perfect Q-car.

There’s nothing unassuming about the interior, though. The Mercedes-AMG A35 gets a flashy flat-bottomed steering wheel with metal shift paddles and beefy sport seats with more support than those in the regular A-Class. There’s also a super-slick dual-screen infotainment system that looks like it belongs on the set of a sci-fi blockbuster, and you get boat-loads of soft plastic and posh brushed-metal trims.

Unlike the optional exterior spoilers, almost all of the flashy kit inside the A35 comes as standard. You do have to pay extra to get the sportiest seats that admittedly block some of the view for rear-seat passengers but are so comfy and supportive that you wouldn’t care.

If you had to find something to complain about inside the A35 it would be the boot that’s smaller than what you’d find in a BMW M140i, but it’s definitely not a deal-breaker since the A35  will still take a big weekly shop.

The Mercedes AMG A35 is a seriously quick hot hatch with a fab interior, but there are performance cars for similar money that'll put an even bigger smile on your face

Mat Watson
carwow expert

No AMG model is complete without a high-performance engine and in the case of the A35 that is a 2.0-litre petrol that’s boosted by a turbo to make 306hp. You get a four-wheel-drive system as standard so there are no worries about grip on slippery roads. Thanks to the standard-fit launch control, you can leap from 0-62mph in just 4.7 seconds even in rainy conditions.

The Mercedes-AMG A35 isn’t just about straight-line speed – it’s great at carving through twisty roads too. Admittedly it’s more surefooted and predictable rather than playful and fun but that also makes it extremely easy to drive fast. The clever four-wheel-drive system juggles power between the front and the rear which provides you with a stable line through corners. If you want something that won’t be as fast on a wet road but will be a lot more entertaining it’s worth looking at the Honda Civic Type R.

You can – just like in the AMG GT 4 Door – adjust the stiffness of the suspension using a dial on the wheel and in the most comfortable setting, the A35 copes with long motorway journeys well. The only niggle is a lot more noise coming from the tyres compared to a regular A-Class with smaller wheels, but the rest is pretty relaxing. You can also opt for a host of driver aids that’ll let it brake, accelerate and keep the A35 in its lane for you – perfect for taking the stress out of rush-hour traffic.

However, all this comes at a price and if you spec the A35 with all the bells and whistles it looks expensive against comparable alternatives. To offset that, why not have a look at our Mercedes A35 deals to see how much you could save on your preferred spec.

What's it like inside?

The Mercedes-AMG A35 interior is an amazing piece of design, but not only does it all work; it’s also very easy to use. It doesn’t come cheap, though.

Read full interior review

How practical is it?

The Mercedes-AMG A35 has enough room for four people and their luggage, but it’s still not as big or as practical as a Volkswagen Golf R.

Showing off your fast hatch to three of your mates might leave the two you put in the back a bit unimpressed – it’s really rather dark back there.

Mat Watson
carwow expert
Boot (seats up)
370 litres
Boot (seats down)
1,210 litres

The latest Mercedes A-Class (and thus this A35) is longer and wider than the old model, and the result is more room inside for passengers and their luggage.

Even then, this isn’t the biggest car of its size, but it’s big enough. There’s plenty of room in the front and – unlike in the old A-Class – in the back, too. The only disappointment you might have is that the rear windows are quite small, which means that the cabin can be a little dark back there.

Even so, you’ll have no problem fitting in four adults, and there are even some handy places for the rear-seat passengers to rest their elbows – although a fold-down armrest is only available as part of the optional Premium equipment package, which can only be added to Sport and AMG Line models. 

It’s not just passengers who are well catered for in the Mercedes-AMG A35, you also get plenty of places to stash your things. There’s an illuminated glovebox and decent door bins, for a start, as well as two cup holders in the centre console, ahead of the touchpad.

Underneath the central armrest in the front, there’s also lots of stowage, while there are luggage nets on the backs of both front seats.

You can also get cup holders for you rear-seat passengers, but to do that you need to buy the optional AMG Premium package. This includes the rear armrest that houses the cup-holders too.

Just as Mercedes has created more room for passengers in this new A35, it has also created more luggage space. The boot is bigger than in the previous A-Class (although it’s still a little smaller than the Volkswagen Golf R’s) and very easy to load and unload.

On every model, the rear seats are split 60/40, and it’s easy to drop them down. Better still, when they’re folded down, they sit nice and flat to the floor, meaning it’s easy to slide in larger items.

What's it like to drive?

The Mercedes-AMG isn’t short of performance for its price, but it doesn’t quite have you grinning like some of its similarly-priced alternatives when it comes to the corners. 

Launch control and four-wheel drive make it hilariously easy to pull off maximum-attack starts all day long.

Mat Watson
carwow expert

No AMG model is complete without a high-performance engine and in the case of the A35 that is a 2.0-litre petrol that’s boosted by a turbo to make 306hp. You get a four-wheel-drive system as standard so there are no worries about grip on slippery roads. 

Thanks to the standard-fit launch control, you can leap from 0-62mph in just 4.7 seconds even in rainy conditions – something an owner of a BMW M140i can only dream about. You can’t expect such a potent engine to return amazing fuel economy, but the A35 will manage mid-thirties if you drive it sensibly, which isn’t bad at all. 

The Mercedes-AMG A35 isn’t just about straight-line speed – it’s great at carving through twisty roads too. Admittedly it’s more surefooted and predictable rather than playful and fun but that also makes it extremely easy to drive fast. 

The clever four-wheel-drive system juggles power between the front and the rear, which provides you with a stable line through corners. If you want something that won’t be as fast on a wet road but will be a lot more entertaining, it’s worth looking at the Honda Civic Type R.

You can – just like in the AMG GT 4 Door – adjust the stiffness of the suspension using a dial on the wheel. In the most comfortable setting, the A35 copes with long motorway journeys well. The only niggle is a lot more noise coming from the tyres compared to a regular A-Class with smaller wheels, but the rest is pretty relaxing. You can also opt for a host of driver aids that’ll let it brake, accelerate and keep the A35 in its lane for you – perfect for taking the stress out of rush-hour traffic.

Read about prices & specifications
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