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Juliet McGuire

First drive in the Mercedes-AMG A 35 Hatch

The words “entry-level” and “AMG” never go in the same sentence. This is for obvious reasons. But what if I told you that there is now an entry point in to the AMG world? The Mercedes-AMG A 35 hatch is the model I am talking about. Now, don’t go thinking that because it doesn’t cost what other AMGs cost that it is in no way an AMG, because after having driven it for the past week, I can confidently say that this is very much an AMG through and through.

You all know that I am no petrol head, contrary to what my website might have you believe. Don’t get me wrong, I adore performance cars. I love driving on a track. And there is nothing quite like the pop and gurgle coming out of a V8 exhaust pipe. However, I have come to accept that as I age (gracefully I like to tell myself), so I become ever more practical. So when I got handed the keys to this A 35 I wasn’t expecting to be overly impressed. I was sceptical about its performance but also worried it was just another impractical hatch. I am not going to now tell you all the ways that it is, in fact, practical because we all know that this is not the reason you are reading this review. All you need to know is that you could quite easily live with this car on a daily basis. That for me scores massive points.

THE OOMPH

But let’s get to the real reason you’re here; the performance. Under the bonnet sits a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbopetrol engine. It puts out 225 kW of power and 400 Nm of torque. The power is directed to all four wheels via a seven-speed dual clutch transmission and you’re going to get to 100 km/h in just 4.6 seconds. Basically, it is flipping fun to drive! Put it in to Sport+ mode and it opens this car up to all the pops and splutter I spoke of earlier. Throw it in to a corner and its grip will give you a boost of confidence, gifting you the chance to really put pedal to the metal and sprint out of the corner with a massive grin spread across your face.

Mercedes-AMG A35 Hatch

ENGAGED

Many might feel that with a car that exudes such confidence, you will lose out on the engaging drive so many petrol heads are after. I can assure you that this is not the case with the A 35 hatch. It really allows you to have the most fun you can have in a performance hatch, without the worry that you’ll end up in a ditch with a face full of mud (and humiliation). As Mercedes-AMG puts it, “Because the development of the A 35 4MATIC was integrated into the development process of the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class from the start, it was developed at the same time as the A 45 S 4MATIC+, making it possible to inject the AMG DNA into every relevant detail. The result can certainly be experienced by the driver in the form of authentic driving performance.”

Mercedes-AMG A35 Hatch

MERCEDES-AMG A 35 HATCH PRICE

With the A 35 hatch coming in at R874 000, it is not exactly budget-friendly, but for those who are desperate for the spirit and charm of something like the full blown A 45 but can’t afford it, this makes for a very good argument. I think Mercedes-AMG has done an incredible job at making a performance car that, although comes in under R1 million, doesn’t compromise on…well…performance! Now to get behind the wheel of the A 45.

Keep your eyes out for my video review of the A 35 coming soon.

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