The quiet cousin of the Mercedes-AMG family

The Mercedes-AMG family has never been larger, with variants available from the bottom to the top of the Mercedes Benz range. A new member of the family has recently been added, the Mercedes-AMG A 35 4MATIC sedan, and this car is not quite as brash as its siblings.

The AMG performance is still here thanks to the 2.0 litre, 4-cylinder, turbocharged engine that produces the same 225kW and 400Nm as the A 35 hatchback. The sedan’s 0-100km/h time is quoted as 4.8 seconds, which is 0.1 seconds slower than the hatchback. Both have the AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-Speed gearbox combined with Merc’s 4MATIC all-wheel drive system.  In manual gearbox mode the A 35 sedan held the gears for me until the 6,500rpm red line and downshifted enthusiastically until I got to second gear. The all-wheel drive system is very good and I could not induce understeer when cornering nor did I have any loss of traction in a straight line, even in damp conditions.

The official combined fuel consumption for the A 35 sedan is 7.4L/100km and I used 12.1L/100km of 98RON petrol for the week I drove it. This was 1.0 litre/100km more than the A 35 hatchback I have previously driven.

The main difference between the hatchback and sedan that I found was instead of the usual animated AMG exhaust acoustics, the A 35 sedan was quieter. There was a small bark from the exhaust on upshift and only subdued pops and bangs on downshifts. So it’s less rowdy than the A 35 hatchback, but this means it flies under the radar more.

The looks of the car are also less dramatic even with the AMG Aerodynamics package ($2,490) that was fitted on my A 35 sedan. It includes the additional flics in front apron and the rear diffuser, which acts like a shovel and collects road grime in the wet. My sedan also had optional 19” AMG multi-spoke wheels in matt black finish ($790) to complete the sporty look of the car.

There are five drive modes in the A 35 sedan, Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual, but no Race mode. In the Individual drive mode you have adjustability for Drive, Transmission, Dynamics and Suspension. I spent the majority of my time in Sport + mode and the suspension is firm, but not bone crunching.

The A 35 AMG sedan I drove had the standard Red/Black two-tone Lugano leather seats, which are less firm and supportive than the optional AMG High Performance seats, but are still very comfortable. Both front seats have power adjustment, including 4-way lumbar support, manual front extension, are heated and have three memory positions.

The A 35 sedan also has a softer side thanks to seat kinetics, which combines movements within the front seats with cabin ambience to help you relax. Under the Energising Comfort mode you can select from Refresh, which blows a cool breeze and illuminates cool colours in the cabin or Vitality, which has red lighting and more upbeat music. Or select Training and the car takes you through exercises in your seat to keep you fresh and alert while you are sitting in the traffic.

I like the shape and feel of the black Nappa leather AMG Performance steering wheel, but I think all of the controls on the wheel make it look too busy. There may be controls for everything on there, but many are duplications of controls already on the centre console like the gearbox manual/auto switch, suspension control and drive mode selection. The left hand controls on the steering wheel are for the central screen and the right hand steering wheel controls are for the driver’s dash and they feature small touch pads to navigate them.

The voice control button on the steering wheel has an androgynous face silhouette, unlike many other manufacturers who have a man’s silhouette to designate the voice control.  Mercedes Benz calls its system LINGUATRONIC intelligent voice control and it works excellent for making calls and setting a destination. It is also linked to the market leading MBUX, the new Mercedes-Benz User Experience and behind this is Artificial intelligence meaning that the system is capable of learning so that, over time, it gradually adapts itself better to the driver.

The multimedia system integrates a 10.25″ central touchscreen digital display and a 10.25″ digital instrument cluster. There are so many configurable options for these screens that it would take you hours to go through them all. The system has an integrated media interface, AM/FM tuner, DAB+, Bluetooth plus USB connectivity. You get 64 ambient lighting colours for the cabin including two tone effects and the option to have the lights scroll through a changing sequence and I really like how Merc have illuminated the different features of the cabin.

The other cabin feature that I like was the matt finished wrist pad that you lean on to navigate the central screen, but I am not keen on the gloss black on the centre console around it. In front of the touch pad is a sliding cover and under this is a micro USB for Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, a 12V outlet, wireless charging for compatible devices and cup holders. In one of the cup holders is wireless charging for your car key and under arm rest there are two more micro USB ports.

In the back seat there is just enough head and leg room for two adults to fit in and the more traditional roof line of the sedan means less chance of hitting your head when you get in. There are two ISOFIX/three rear tether child seat restraint points, but central tether is pointless as you would only fit two car seats in. The centre seat folds down to an arm rest with nifty fold out drink holders at the front. The feature I liked was to keep the seatbelts out of the way there is a slot near the shoulder of the seat for the seat belt buckle to clip in.

Rear passengers get two central air vents with open/close only and under the vents is a fold out cubby with two micro USB ports. The rear door cubby fits a drink bottle and it is angled so children can get it in and out easily. However there is no mat over transmission tunnel, so the carpet here may get worn over time from children stepping over it.

The A 35 sedan boot is slightly larger than the hatchback and I think it’s a reasonable size for a small car and could fit a small stroller and the weekly shop. For extra room the rear seats have a 40/20/40 split fold mechanism.  The boot has four tie down points and one 12V outlet and no spare tyre just a tyre repair kit.

Active safety features on all A Class variants received an overall ANCAP score of 73% and include Active Brake Assist with semi-autonomous braking function, Lane Keep Assist (active), Blind Spot Assist (passive) with exit warning assistant and Mercedes Benz PRE-SAFE accident anticipatory system. My car was also fitted with the Driving Assistance Package ($1,890), which includes active cruise control and active lane change assist and the Vision package ($990), which includes a 360° view camera and adaptive high beam.

Passive safety on all A Class sedans includes nine airbags including front, pelvis side and window bags for driver and front passenger, side bags for rear occupants and knee bag for driver. This gives all variants from October 2018 onwards a 5-star ANCAP safety rating, with an adult occupant protection score of 36.5 out of 38 (96%) and a child occupant protection score of 45 out of 49 (91%). ANCAP tests of the Autonomous Emergency Braking system showed GOOD performance in highway speed scenarios, while Lane Support System testing showed ADEQUATE results.

From the 1 March this year all new Mercedes Benz passenger vehicles come with a five year/unlimited kilometre warranty that includes 24 hour roadside assistance. The service intervals for A Class vehicles is one year or 25,000km whichever comes first and new car buyers can select to purchase an upfront service plan that covers the first three services for your new vehicle. For the Mercedes-AMG A 35 this costs $2,150, saving $500 over the standard capped price servicing cost or if you choose to cover your new A 35 for the first five services this will cost $4,000.

The Mercedes-AMG A 35 sedan may be the quiet cousin, slightly more subdued than the A 35 hatchback; but it lacks none of the power synonymous with AMG vehicles. Prices start at $72,500 excluding dealer delivery and on road costs and as tested my A 35 sedan was $78,660 excluding the before mentioned chargers, which makes it cheaper than similar competitors. Visit your preferred Mercedes-Benz retailer to drive the A 35 sedan or why not check out the entire AMG range at the only dedicated AMG dealership in Australia, AMG Sydney.

ProsCons
Market leading MBUX technologyQuiet exhaust
Adaptive suspensionComplicated controls on steering wheel
Now comes with a five year warrantyExpensive service costs

Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.