AMG’s second ever hot hatch is also its best

Mercedes’ first hot hatch, the A45 AMG, is monstrously quick around a twisty road, with its 400 horsepower and all-wheel drive grip, yet it’s not the most feelsome or engaging hot hatch to throw around. The Three-Pointed Star’s second attempt, the new A35 based on the fourth-generation A-Class (bearing the internal codename W177), is much better in this respect.

2018 Mercedes-AMG A35 Review

According to the first reviews, the car is considerably more communicative and, while slower than the old A45 overall; it manages to be more fun as well as a bit of a katana when it comes to corner carving. It’s also more comfortable than the A45, especially if you option it out with adaptive dampers, as these allow the car to morph its character quite dramatically when changing through its various drive modes.

Despite being an all-wheel-drive vehicle, the new A35 still uses a Haldex system and therefore sends its power to the front wheels most of the time.

It diverts some power to the rear when slip is sensed, but Mercedes says it’s improved the system now to the point where it’s apparently predictive, so it can essentially send power to the back before you need it.

From an enthusiastic driver’s standpoint (which in the case of hot hatches is the one that matters most), the new A35 is fun to drive and very capable. It doesn’t really understeer, and for the most part, it just claws at the road and launches itself out of corners.

It’s also a bit more subtle to look at than the previous hot A-Class, although not if you have it in the yellow color it was revealed in. Its interior is also top notch for the class and better than before, with its twin-screen setup and design reminiscent of what you see in Mercedes’ flagship models.

The A35 is really setting the stage and building expectations for the new A45, which will be like it but harder, faster, and more extreme.

Both these hot models will also do wonders to build kudos for the rest of the A-Class lineup, as I’m sure Mercedes is expecting droves of them to be purchased with AMG line trim (where you get most of the look of the AMG model but without the extra performance and harshness associated).

It should also do really well on the track against similar models that run a 2.0-liter turbo and have all-wheel drive, like the Audi S3, upcoming BMW M135i, or the VW Golf R. They’re all closely matched in terms of power, so the showdown between all these models (and make no mistake somebody will make a comparison video featuring all of them side by side at some point) will be a spectacle of epic proportions.

Further Reading

2019 Mercedes-AMG A35 Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2019 Mercedes-AMG A35.

2014 Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the previous 2014 Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG.

2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class Exterior
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Read our full review on the next generation 2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class.

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