Launched in late September last year, the fastest version of Mercedes-Benz’s smallest four-door sedan – or “Limousine” as the brand prefers to call it – seems to tick all the right boxes expected of yet another everyday ‘super’ car.
We finally had the chance to sample it briefly during a recent press drive to Melaka. Simply put, size really doesn’t matter with this fast four-door. Though we only spent just a few hours behind its wheel, there’s indeed much to savour with this pint-sized power player of sorts.
On the surface, the A35 is fashioned similarly to any of the three-point star’s other three-lettered performance specials, albeit with some restraints. In the A35’s case, it’s easily set apart from its ‘regular’ siblings by snazzy 19-inch AMG alloy wheels, AMG-specific grille, bumpers, rear diffuser, and subtle boot-lid spoiler.
Yes, by AMG standards, this fast four-door’s looks are a tad bit discreet, but this isn’t bad news at all. It is a trait expected with anything that’s been merely ‘fettled’ by the famed Afalterbach-based tuning division.
In other words, those wanting go-fast theatrics will need to wait a little longer for perhaps the new CLA45S AMG to land.
Back to the A35 and, as mentioned, the news isn’t all that bad. The same discreetness is mirrored on board with the cabin, which sports tasty carbon-effect dash trims and partial alcantara seat lining on top of soft leather. What sets this A35 apart from the regular A-Class sedan too is its AMG-specific sports steering wheel.
Whilst talking about the cabin, we’ll note that space up front is similar to what we’ve experienced in the hatch prior. Predictably, the starkest difference lies in the back seat whereby this sedan version of the A-Class offers slightly more legroom over the hatch, which is a welcomed trait indeed.
Of course, the most obvious difference lies in the way this hot sedan drives, and it’s rather sensational as far as anything of this size goes. Much of this is fuelled by its tricked-out powertrain and driveline, which also comes matched with a sleuth of highly intelligent performance electronics and ramped up chassis hardware present.
Sure enough, 306bhp and 400Nm supplied by the blown 2.0-litre four-banger sitting up front sees 0-100kph done in just 4.7 seconds whilst en route towards an electronically governed 250kph vmax. What’s impressive is how slick this affair felt, perhaps the result of the seven-speed DCT box and intelligent AWD suite present.
Equally impressive too is the way the A35 rides and handles, and we have the sport-tuned spring and dampers to thank for this. Predictably, it does feel a tad stiff at times, but the harshness isn’t unbearable thanks to the presence of clever electronic dampers equipped on top of them.
While this all sounds sensational, what we know will not sit well with true AMG purists lie in the lack of theatrical noise to go along with it. Despite the presence of a sweeter, new bass-rich exhaust tune, the customary crackles and pops are absent. Again, this being the more discreet offering, it isn’t bad news at all.
If anything, this discreetness makes for a very stealthy sedan, thus making it perfect for those who favour blending in. Complementing that is the added convenience on board, much of which is fuelled by Mercedes-Benz Malaysia’s ramped Mercedes me connect (MMC) connectivity suite.
That, by the way, comes on top of the now fully unleashed Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) voice command feature, which is easily prompt by just saying “Hey, Mercedes”. Coupled with the sizable 420-litre boot present at the back and it’s plain to see that this four-door is equally useful for the daily as it is for fun weekend jaunts.
All in all, it’s plain to see that this hotter version of Merc’s booted A-Class hatch is quite the package, one that rightfully commands its steep RM348,888 price tag sans insurance. Considering that the next best thing, by which we mean the recently facelifted C43 AMG, costs RM73,000 more, this might be the right alternative for when a hot hatch simply isn’t practical enough.
High performance and tech meet plush luxuries and daily practicality in Merc’s new fast and small four-door.
2.0-litre 4cyl turbo
0-100kph in 4.7 secs,