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By Jonathan Crouch
The A 35 4MATIC is the entry-level model from Mercedes-AMG. Here's the Saloon version. Jonathan Crouch reports.
Ten Second Reviewword count: 58
This A 35 4MATIC Saloon represents one of the most affordable routes into Mercedes-AMG ownership and is engineered first and foremost for driving enjoyment. Here, we check out the Saloon alternative to the usual hatch body style. As with that variant, with 306hp, 4WD and potentially the classiest cabin in the segment, there's a lot of promise here.
Backgroundword count: 165
'A35' is a moniker that clearly doesn't mean much to Mercedes but in our market, it evokes memories amongst older car enthusiasts of the old Austin model of the Fifties and Sixties, the van version of which was immortalised by Wallace and Gromit. The 1976 F1 World Champion James Hunt had one and reckoned it was more fun to drive than his company Mercedes. But would he have felt the same way if the Stuttgart brand had given him something like this? After all, who could resist this combination of power, traction and quality? The A 35 is the sporting A-Class model you'd buy if you'd decided that the 218hp front-driven A 250 AMG variant wasn't quite enough. And you'd reasoned that the top A 45 Mercedes-AMG model (which offers either 387 or 421hp) was just that little bit too much. Look at it like that and it does seem as if this A 35 might hit something of a small sports saloon sweet spot.
Driving Experienceword count: 230
So here we are with yet another compact car offering 4WD and a turbo engine putting out around 300hp. It's such a familiar recipe isn't it, but this is a popular sweet spot in the shopping rocket market that Mercedes has never properly addressed. The brand claims that the A 35 is much more than just a warmed-up version of a company rep's A250. True, it does share the same basic 'M260'-series 2.0-litre engine as an A250 but to that unit, the Affalterbach engineers have added a twin scroll turbocharger that boosts power to 306hp and enables 62mph from rest to be reached in just 4.7s on the way to a top speed that has to be artificially limited to 155mph. For sharp handling, the Mercedes-AMG brand has here installed a faster-reacting 4MATIC AWD system, bolted on sticky Pirelli P-Zero tyres, added in a clever 'AMG DYNAMICS' torque vectoring system for extra cornering stability and made the body and platform of this car far more torsionally rigid. Plus it's included a quicker-shifting SPEEDSHIFT DCT' 7-speed paddle shift auto gearbox set-up featuring more urgent control software and case-hardening for the first three ratios to allow for tyre-smoking starts that'll be aided by a 'RACE START' launch control mode. To get the most from it all, you'll want to play with the various settings of the 'AMG DYNAMIC SELECT' drive mode system.
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