Mercedes-AMG A35 4Matic Review

The 2021 Mercedes-AMG A35 4Matic spools up 302-hp from a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine

The exterior view of the Mercedes

Pricing for the Mercedes-AMG A35 4Matic compact sedan starts at $46,900. (Photos courtesy of Mercedes-Benz)

Table of Contents

AMG History
Pricing
Powertrain
Ride and Handling
AMG Reinforcements
Braking
Steering
Interior Function
Back Seats and Trunk Space
Why Buy the Mercedes-AMG A35?
Specifications

BY MARK MAYNARD

It was late September on a drizzly Sunday morning when I steered the Mercedes-AMG A35 toward the backcountry. It was a seasonally cool 70 degrees in San Diego, but in the foothills where I was headed the sun would be peeking out and the roads would be dry. The conditions were ideal to go out, get it and get home in this 302-horsepower AMG sly-scrapper of a small sedan.

The Mercedes-AMG A35 is a righteous upgrade of factory-finessed performance.

AMG History

The three letters that define AMG date to 1967. The abbreviation is associated with two former Mercedes-Benz engineers: Hans Werner Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher. The G is for Großaspach, the German village where they set up shop as race-engine developers. Today, Mercedes-AMG is a wholly owned subsidiary of Daimler AG.

Mercedes-AMG enhancements begin with a big boost to horsepower and high-speed control. The hardware improvements include the AMG Speedshift transmission, the AMG suspension, and the variable AMG Performance 4MATIC all-wheel drive.

There is an AMG model for nearly all M-B vehicles, whether for the big G63 SUV, the Mercedes-AMG ONE hypercar concept, and down to the A35.

Mercedes-AMG engines are the baseline to the AMG experience. Many of the engines are hand-built by meticulous technicians. Their names are engraved on a small plaque and affixed to the engine shroud.

The engine in the A35 is not hand-built to that degree, but it has all of the other AMG attributes.

The front seats in the Mercedes-AMG

Both front seats are power-adjustable with manual thigh extension.

From A220 to A35

The compact-class A35 is based on the Mercedes-Benz A 220. It is the brand’s smallest and most affordable sedan. The A-Class was completely redesigned for 2019 with handsome exterior styling, more back seat room and trunk space, and a more refined interior.

Pricing for the A220 starts at about $34,700. The A220 is sold with standard front-wheel drive or optional 4Matic all-wheel drive. The A220 powertrain is a 188-hp, turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission.

From this foundation, Mercedes-AMG transforms an entry-level family sedan into an aspirational object of artful engineering. Compare the A35 with the Audi S3 and BMW 235i.

Driver area of the AMG A35

The driver faces a 10.25-inch-wide digital dashboard.

Mercedes-AMG A35 Pricing

Pricing for the Mercedes-AMG A35 starts at $46,900, including the $1,050 freight charge from Rastatt, Germany. My tester was $56,875. The nearly $10,000 in options and accessories were primarily cosmetic. Most buyers would select the upgrades, which are highlighted in the specifications box at the end of this story.

But I would have added three more options, totaling $2,990:

  • Wireless phone charging, $200;
  • Driver Assistance Package, $1,700, adds the electronic elements for Level II assisted driving. Among those technologies are Active Distance Assist, Active Steering Assist, Evasive Steering Assist, Active Brake Assist with Cross-Traffic Function, Active Emergency Stop Assist, Active Speed Limit Assist and Active Lane Keeping Assist and Active Lane Change Assist’
  • Parking Assistance Package, $1,090, is valuable for its surround-view camera system and Parktronic with Active Parking Assist. Park assist is especially helpful to protect the car’s low chin spoiler from being poked into a wall or other parked vehicle.

Build your Mercedes-AMG A35 here.

19-inch tire and wheel

19-inch, twin-spoke light-alloy wheels and side sills of AMG design.

Mercedes-AMG A35 Powertrain

Mercedes-Benz engine development is masterful at providing gratuitous power with absolute accelerator response.

The 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine in the A35 has a stunning 302-hp. The twin-scroll turbocharger catches its breath quickly with just a moment’s delay as the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission engages first gear. In Sport or Sport-plus, there is no hesitation to jump off the line.

Fuel economy ratings are forgiving at 22 mpg city, 29 highway and 25 mpg combined on the recommended premium fuel. My mileage in combined driving was a consistent 25 to 29 mpg. But hoonyism will drop the range precipitously.

If 302-hp seems outrageous for a four-cylinder, Mercedes-AMG also builds a 2.0-liter with 416-hp and peak torque of 369 lb.-ft. from 5,000-5,250 rpm. The company says this 2.0-liter M 139 engine is the world’s most powerful turbocharged four-cylinder engine in series production.

The A35 engine

The twin-scroll turbocharged 2.0-liter engine will launch the A35 to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds.

A35 Ride and Handling

The AMG A35 is very likable for its levels of drivability. The car is a study in higher power. Choose performance attitudes of Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport-plus, or Individual to electronically set preferred qualities for steering response, suspension stiffness, and other fine tuning.

Comfort mode is reasonably assertive and boisterous when the gas pedal is floored, such as in an evasive maneuver. My preferences were Sport when making the commute or Sport-plus when headed out for a good time.

Like a steely street-fighter, the AMG35 punches above its weight. Its control fits in the hand like a roll of nickels (if anybody still rolls coin). The calibrations know to let the driver have that AMG experience when possible.

Flick off a double downshift and the engine blips and fires off a hearty report. The tone is sound-generated but rich and satisfying.

A steel-spring suspension with MacPherson front struts provides excellent road adhesion, at least in my less-than-blistering test. But even the Comfort setting is sports-car firm.

If that is not enough control, there is the optional AMG Ride Control suspension, $990. The adaptive adjustable damping allows the driver to switch between three stages of control.

All-Wheel Drive

The 4Matic all-wheel-drive in this car is more about performance adhesion than all-weather surefootedness.

The power split is front-drive biased, moving seamlessly to AWD as needed or when the computer sensors say it is necessary. The power delivery runs from front-drive only to a 50:50 percent split front to rear.

When committing to a corner at speed, the driver can push out the nose with the accelerator pedal or pull it back by a careful lift of the right foot.

Optional 19-inch, 235/35 Pirelli P Zero tires have a grippy (but low) treadwear rating of 280. That wear rating is expected of ultra-high-performance tires, but there was noticeable droning at highway speeds.

Tight parking situations are very manageable with a turning circle of 37.9 feet. But do be careful of that larger front splitter in the AMG Aerodynamics Package, $1,550. A driveway entry that looks harmless can inflict a painful scrape.

Mercedes A35 exhaust tips

The exhaust system has an automatically controlled exhaust flap.

A35 Body Reinforcements

To handle the stress of the AMG-enhanced powertrain, the front section of the bodyshell is reinforced. Turn-in precision was sharpened and the toe and camber alignment was modified a few degrees for handling dynamics, especially at speed. In addition, an aluminum “shearing plate” under the engine increases torsional rigidity at the front. And two other diagonal braces at the front also increase stiffness.

A35 Braking

The high-performance braking system brings the A35 sedan to an absolutely flat stop in an impressively short distance. The front axle is fitted with four-piston monoblock fixed calipers and 13.78-inch brake discs. At the rear is a single-piston caliper with 12.99-inch discs that are internally ventilated and perforated to dissipate heat and prevent brake fading. The silver-painted brake calipers have black AMG lettering.

A35 Steering

The speed-sensitive, electro-mechanical power steering has a unique rack with a variable transmission ratio and two characteristic curves. Depending on which drive program has been selected, the calibration provides taut and sporty or more comfortable steering feedback.

AMG Track Pace

For those drivers who will run their A35 through a slalom, there is an optional data logger. The AMG Track Pace ($250) is a virtual race engineer that permanently records more than 80 vehicle-specific data. Among the displayed results are speed, acceleration, and lap times.

Specific display elements are shown in green or red. The color variations show at a glance whether the driver’s times are faster or slower than their best time.

Well-known race tracks, such as the Nürburgring or Spa Francorchamps, are already stored. Furthermore, it is also possible to record your own circuits. The map display can be switched from 2D to 3D and can also be updated online.

The MBUX Augmented Reality function also allows the ideal driving line of a stored racetrack to be displayed on the multimedia display or optional head-up display. It is like having a virtual instructor in the passenger seat helping the driver to improve lap times.

Back seat legroom is snug for adults.

Back seat legroom of 33.9 inches is snug for adults.

A35 Interior Functionality

The A220 is one of the more convincing entry-level small sedans. Technically, the car’s footprint is subcompact, but the interior space is more compact-class in roominess.

Driver sightlines are unhindered over the shoulder or across the hood. Entry and exit are low but not a struggle for taller adults.

Front headroom with the sunroof is tall at almost 40 inches with long legroom of 41.8 inches.

The driver faces a digital dashboard with a 10.25-inch digital instrument array and a 10.25-inch touch screen display for infotainment and other cabin controls. The electronics are nonthreatening to use and there are alternate buttons for audio, fan speeds, and AC.

There are several spaces for small-item storage and door panels that will accommodate tall bottles.

Back Seats and Trunk Space

The back seat legroom of 33.9 inches is snug but with comfortable shoulder room for two adults. The space does not feel cramped.

Trunk space might seem small at just 8.6 cubic feet, but the space is wide and square with a wide entry of 37.4 inches. And the back seat has a 60/40 split and folds flat for longer items.

A side view of the A35

The Mercedes-Benz A-Class was completely redesigned for 2019.

Why Buy the Mercedes-AMG A35?

AMG is the art of engineering. It is a stealth display of performance, which many owners prefer over the alternatives.

Building a model-line halo from a base model can have disappointing results. But the A220 now embodies the measures expected of a luxury car, even if it is the least expensive in the lineup.

The plastics have appealing texture and color. I saw no unfinished corners or misaligned panels in the test car. The trunk, too, had neatly installed carpeting, a pair of sturdy seatback-release handles, and even a red warning light, NOT just a reflector, when the trunk lid is raised.

The A35 starting price of $46,900 is a baseline of AMG credentials. From there, it will take driving enthusiasts another $10,000 to hand-pick their preferred conveniences or technologies.

From its economy-car foundation, the pleasure provided by a $57,000 A35 becomes a value statement.

Mercedes-AMG A35 4Matic Specifications

Body style: compact, 5-seat, 4-door sedan with AWD

Engine: 302-hp, AMG-enhanced twin-scroll turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder ; 295 lb.-ft. torque at 3,000 rpm

Transmission: AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed dual-clutch transmission with manual mode and race-start function

0-60 mph: 4.6 seconds (est.); top speed, 155 mph

Fuel economy: 22/29/25 mpg city/hwy/combined; premium fuel recommended for peak performance

BY THE NUMBERS

Fuel tank: 13.5 gallons

Trunk space: 8.6 cu. ft.

Front head/leg room: 40.3/41.8 in.

Rear head/leg room: 37.2/33.9 in.

Length/wheelbase: 179.4/107.4 in.

Curb weight: 3,525 lbs.

Turning circle: 37.9 ft.

FEATURES

Standard equipment includes: Keyless locking and push-button ignition, panoramic sunroof, 10.25-inch touch screen display and 10.25-inch digital instrument array, rearview camera, Apple CarPlay (wired) or Android Auto infotainment apps, Bluetooth phone and streaming music, power (heated) front seats with lumbar support, LED headlights and taillights,

Safety features include: 7 air bags, active brake assist, blind-spot assist, crosswind assist and adaptive braking, Hill Start Assist and HOLD function

PRICING

Base price: $46,900, including $1,050 freight charge; price as tested $56,875

Options on test vehicle: Patagonia Red metallic paint $720; black leather upholstery $1,450; satellite radio $460; Burmester surround-sound audio system $850; heated front seats $500; USB-C adapter cable (in armrest console) $25;

Multimedia package, $1,295, includes navigation, map updates, MBUX augmented reality for navigation and traffic sign assist;

Premium package, $800, includes Keyless Go, hands-free trunk access, auto-dimming side and folding rearview mirrors;

AMG Features

  • Performance steering wheel in Nappa leather, $400;
  • 19-inch AMG multi-spoke wheels in matte black, $800;
  • AMG steering wheel buttons, $400;
  • AMG Ride Control Sport suspension, $990;

Night Package, $750, includes front splitter, grille trim and louvers in the side air intakes, AMG side panel inserts, gloss black beltline and window trim, black side mirror covers, and exhaust tips;

Aerodynamics Package, $1,550, includes larger front splitter and diffusers, larger rear spoiler lip, rear apron, and black diffuser blade

Where assembled: Rastatt, Germany

Warranty: 4-years/50,000-miles with roadside assistance

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2022 Mercedes-Benz CLS Overview

The third-generation Mercedes-Benz CLS goes on sale this fall — raising the red mist for irrational sales behavior

2022 Mercedes-Benz CLS coupe-sedan side view.

The new CLS 450 4Matic will go on sale in the U.S. this fall, 2021. (Photos courtesy of Mercedes-Benz)

BY MARK MAYNARD

The debut of the shapely Mercedes-Benz CLS “coupe” sedan supercharged the luxury segment in 2004. Fans and followers paid up to get one and when the rear end had those three little initials — AMG — it was a pheromone of red mist for irrational sales behavior.

The second-generation, 2012 CLS had its first major redesign, mostly meet newly mandated European pedestrian crash safety standards. The sleek slope of its nose was bobbed to blunt the seriousness of injuries to wayward people in crosswalks.

2022 Mercedes-Benz CLS coupe-sedan driver area.

The CLS was technologically updated last summer.

Its original, overarching sleekness came from the Vision CLS concept. The exterior styling now is more abrupt, but its overall fastback stance delivers a clear message of a style icon.

To date, more than 4 million Mercedes-Benz CLS models have been sold all over the world, including more than 450,000 CLS models since the first-generation launch. China was the largest sales market for the CLS Coupe in 2020, followed by South Korea, the U.S., and Germany.

Its design and sportiness were the top reasons most frequently cited by customers for buying the CLS, says Mercedes-Benz.

2022 Mercedes-Benz CLS coupe-sedan front seats.

Choices of leather seat upholstery have two new color combinations.

Third Generation

The new Mercedes-Benz CLS 450 4Matic will go on sale in the U.S. in the fall of 2021. It brings sharpened and sportier design, Mercedes-Benz says.

2022 Mercedes-Benz CLS coupe-sedan front passenger seat.

The interior will have two new trim finishes.

AMG-Line styling components are standard elements of the interior and the cabin was upgraded with more leather and trim combinations. A new-generation steering wheel has a two-zone sensor pad in the steering-wheel rim. Sensors on the front and back sides of the rim register whether the driver’s hands are on the wheel.

The optional Driver Assistance Package includes Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC and Active Steering Assist. The new-generation steering wheel uses capacitive touch to detect the driver’s hands.

the new-generation steering wheel.

The new-generation steering wheel in the ercedes-Benz CLS.

A comprehensive refresh last summer updated the MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) multimedia system and enhanced driver assistance systems.

AMG style elements include a specific front bumper with an A-wing in black, AMG sill trim on the side, a front splitter in silver chrome, sporty, air intakes with vertical bars, and aerodynamically shaped “flics” in high-gloss black.

The mild-hybrid engine.

At launch, the CLS 450 4Matic will have a mild-hybrid powertrain.

The 19-inch light-alloy wheels have two new designs: 5 twin-spoke or multi-spoke rims. The 20-inch, high-gloss AMG multi-spoke light-alloy wheels have two new bi-color choices of  Tremolite Grey or High-Gloss Black.

The new radiator grille with Mercedes star has a three-dimensional star pattern and a high-gloss black louver with chrome inlay. Starling Blue Metallic is a new paint color.

The rear end view

Starling Blue Metallic (shown) is a new paint color.

The Mercedes-Benz CLS interior will have two new trim finishes, including an optional Open Pore Brown Walnut and High-Gloss Grey Wood. New choices of leather seat upholstery are Neva Grey and Magma Grey and Sienna Brown and Black.

Mercedes-Benz CLS Powertrain

At launch, the Mercedes-Benz CLS 450 4Matic will have the mild-hybrid powertrain of a 362-horsepower, 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder gasoline engine. It integrates a second-generation starter-generator and a 48-volt electrical system. Power ratings are up by 21 hp with up to 184 foot-pounds of electric boost. Peak torque of 369 lb.-ft. spans 1,600-4,000 rpm. Engine efficiencies include energy recovery and “glide,” which allows the engine to switch off at highway speeds to save fuel and emissions.

A sleek side view.

China was the largest sales market for the CLS Coupe in 2020.

Driver-Assist Features

  • Active Brake Assist: Using autonomous braking, this standard safety feature can prevent a collision or reduce its severity in many situations. At typical city speeds, the system is able to brake for stationary vehicles and pedestrians in crosswalks and can even prevent collisions, depending on the situation. With the Cross-Traffic function (part of the Driver Assistance Package), Active Brake Assist also functions when making a turn across the oncoming lane.
  • Active Speed Limit Assist: Among the Driver Assistance Package, Active Speed Limit Assist reacts to speed limit changes using map data and input from Traffic Sign Assist. A route-based speed adjustment can reduce the vehicle speed before detected curves, roundabouts and toll booths, as well as before turning or exiting the highway. If the driver activates Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC with distance-based speed adaptation, the CLS can even respond to data from Live Traffic Information.
CLS front view.

Design is the most frequently cited reason that customers buy the CLS.

  • Active Stop-and-Go Assist: Maintains car-length distances up to approximately 37 mph, helpful in highway traffic jams when lane markings are detected. The vehicle can restart automatically up to one minute after coming to a stop. On highways, at speeds less than 37 mph, the vehicle monitors detected lane markings and applies “swarm intelligence” to take its bearings from vehicles in the surrounding area.
  • Automatic parking and exiting: A 360-degree camera makes it possible to enter and leave parking spaces automatically. When activated, the system will search for and select a parking space. And the system can now function autonomously to parallel and end-on park. The camera was enhanced to transmits a more realistic image to the media display, which includes an expanded side view.

Check current Mercedes-Benz CLS pricing and incentives here.

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