Mercedes synonymous with expensive car? Yes, of course. Yet a car bearing the name that is well designed and well equipped available for less than $ 40,000 does exist. The little Class A can be yours for $ 37,800 in the 4-door version or for $ 39,900 in the 5-door version. Both versions are available with a 4-cylinder engine delivering 188 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque, or a super boosted AMG version delivering 302 horsepower. It is this version that we had the chance to drive for a week.
The 4 and 5-door versions which are at the same price will allow you to enter the world of AMGs at Mercedes. And, less expensive does not mean sport at a discount. We’ve been fortunate enough to drive several AMGs, from the A 35 to the volcanic C 63s, and the A 35 and A 45 are our favorite cars, quite frankly.
The A-Class, AMG version, is easily recognized from the outside by its two gaping false orifices placed under the front LED headlights which, it is confirmed, illuminate extremely well at night. In the middle is a large grille adorned in the center with a gigantic star. From the side, we have the presence of an 18-inch black rim supported by a rear spoiler that goes up to the sky to reinforce the sporty side specific to AMG.
At the rear, the tapered lights, its central window and especially its two large chrome exhaust tips indicate to other motorists that this car is not there to make up the figure. Our test model did not have any AMG acronyms, and yet, according to the comments received, passers-by immediately recognized the signature of Mercedes’ performance division.
The interior has also been reworked by the AMG division. This small Class A exudes luxury. First of all, there is the panoramic roof which gives a feeling of space inside the vehicle. Second, the unique and innovative design dashboard gives the vehicle a luxurious feeling.
Behind the AMG steering wheel hides a huge shelf that stretches in width and covers the section of the dashboard in front of the driver to the center console. Another prominent feature of the interior is the turbine-style air vents. To brighten it all up, no less than 64 colors of mood lighting are available as options.
In the center, a numeric keypad and quick keys provide access to the main vehicle functions. Moreover, this block – and this is valid on all the Mercedes vehicles tested – does not control the CarPlay application or little. So you have to go back to the good old finger-on-screen method! Otherwise, the pad is handled very well on all of the vehicle’s functions.
On either side of this console, you will find beautiful bucket seats which provide a very good base, but which is sorely lacking in lateral support. However, it is unthinkable to have such a powerful vehicle and to offer such inefficient seats as options.
This little bomb is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder developing 302 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque aided by a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The result of this combination is a very responsive car and some on-the-fly gear changes. The very robust chassis and powerful brakes also contribute to the overall performance of the vehicle.
Our week of testing took place in winter, our car equipped with Pirelli sottozero 3 accompanied by the 4matic gearbox proved to be very difficult to fault. In our opinion, the small A 35 thus equipped is capable of tackling the worst conditions. The all-wheel drive system typically operates in traction mode, but can transfer 50% of the engine’s torque to the rear wheels as needed.
When taking a seat on board, we immediately notice that the car is very low, it is better not to be too tall or too wide! Once properly installed, things are naturally placed. One press of the ignition button and the roar of the little Mercedes is heard. Once on the road, there are five driving modes to choose from. The default mode, “Comfort” allows the driver to enjoy a comfortable drive… and this, because in this mode the suspension and the steering are adjusted so as to favor comfort, and the start / stop function. ECO is active.
Want a little extra spice? The “Sport” and “Sport ” modes focus on agility and driving pleasure with the engine becoming more responsive. In “Sport ” the sound of the turbocharged engine becomes much louder and the ECO start / stop function is inactive. You will have fun blasting your exhaust and that with disconcerting ease.
If you always want more, an “Individual” mode will allow you to adjust the parameters manually and save them. Finally, to adapt to our climate, a “Slippery” driving program optimizes the handling of the A 35 on slippery roads, in particular thanks to power and smooth gear changes.
For our part, we remained in “comfort” mode on slippery roads and honestly no complaints, the car was screwed to the ground. One downside, however, which ended up annoying us, concerns this delay in acceleration. Regardless of the mode and the situation, there was always a short delay between the movement of the right foot and the moment the motor responded. This feeling was even worse with a cold engine. We hadn’t experienced this feeling with other AMGs driven during the year.
This little Class A is a real Mercedes! The interior finish and build quality are second to none, and the AMG engine makes you want to hit the road. It may not appeal to everyone, because its suspension is rough, even in “comfort” mode and its driving is meant to be sporty at all times. With the roads we have in Canada, it can hit hard.
Very dynamic vehicle
We like less
Limited space on board
Fuel tank size and therefore range
No heated steering wheel
Delay during acceleration
The main competition
BMW 2 Series M240
Volkswagen Golf R