All the Mercedes goodness

2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG A35 4MATIC. Metro News Service photo
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2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG A35 4MATIC. Metro News Service photo

2021 Mercedes-Benz A35 AMG packs a punch with AMG performance, looks

This week’s tester felt like a long-lost friend I hadn’t seen in a while but fell right back into a comfort and companionship. I’m waxing a little melodramatic here, but it has been a couple years since I’ve driven a Mercedes-Benz, and boy was it nice to get back behind the wheel.

And this week’s tester was exactly the type of car that I enjoy – small, squatty and sporty. The 2021 Mercedes-Benz A35 AMG checks all those boxes.

Of course those three letters added to it (AMG) really add to the enjoyment and driving satisfaction. AMG is Mercedes’ division that produces performance vehicles. With the AMG added you get extra attractive aesthetic features and a much punchier engine too.

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As for those looks, the AMG addition takes a refined, but not overly aggressive A-Series sedan and turns it into something special with a hint of aggressiveness. As part of the AMG Night Package there are black glossy elements added to the exterior like louvres on the front end and then similarly matched on the back end. The black gloss theme continues with a right-sized rear spoiler that really popped against the white paint exterior.

A 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder is also right sized for a car this size. The AMG performance team add horsepower and torque taking this A35 from ho hum to exhilarating. The 302 horsepower output is a great number for such a diminutive car. The seven-speed automatic transmission is well behaved, but there is a little bit of noticeable turbo lag, especially off the line.

Mercedes adds its 4Matic, all-wheel drive technology to the A35 to bump up the grip and handling. The A35′s steering is responsive and the handling is confident. A small, squatty car with AWD and a performance engine, sign me up!

Inside, the AMG features continue to add special touches that add to the overall appeal. With the AMG Performance Package comes a Nappa leather-wrapped steering wheel and suede-like material on the seats and the headliner. Red stitching on the seats adds to the sporty, youthful vibe of this car.

The back seat is small with limited legroom and limited headroom. The back seat does, mercifully only register as a two-person occupancy, so you could get away with two adults back there in limited road time. But certainly the A35 shows its small size with the cramped back seat.

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As is usually the case with most German vehicles, the A35 is chock full of technology. As is all-too-common for German manufacturers, some of the technology lacks intuition. There is a reasonable learning curve to master all the features available in the A35.

The beautiful way in which the center stack and the 10.25-inch touchscreen is presented is outstanding. There is simple compatibility with Apple and Android smartphones.

One of the biggest detractors is the tiny trunk. With only 8.6 cubic feet of space in the trunk, the A35 has one of the most disappointing cargo areas available. The rear seats do split and fold to help increase it somewhat and there is a hands-free trunk open.

The A35 is just one of the options on what is referred to as Mercedes’ A-Series. The A35 has a starting price of $45,850. With all the AMG goodness added, the final MSRP of my tester was $56,020. It’s sometimes hard to justify if certain packages are “worth it”, but in this case, I can say that those three letters (AMG) are worth the additional cost in both looks and performance.

The EPA rates the AWD A35 at 22 mpg/city and 29 mpg/highway. In a week’s worth of driving, I averaged closer to 25 mpg, but my foot was quite heavy, enjoying the AMG side of things.

I’m sure AMG stands for something in German. But I think it stands for: All Mercedes Goodness because that what it does.

Jimmy Dinsmore is a freelance automotive journalist. Email him at jimmydinsmore73@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @driversside

2021 Mercedes-Benz A35 AMG

  • Price/As tested price................................................ $45,850/$56,020
  • Mileage.......................................... 22 mpg/city; 29 mpg/hwy
  • Engine............................................. 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder
  • Horsepower................................. 302 hp/295 lbs./ft.
  • Transmission................................. Seven-speed automatic
  • Drive wheels................ All-wheel drive
  • Final assembly point................ Rastatt, Germany

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