The A35 4MATIC+ is touted as “the pinnacle of sportiness in the A-Class model series” but after a high-strung stint around a makeshift Gymkhana course, does it live up to its praise? Ryan de Villiers got behind the wheel during the AMG Performance Tour at Kyalami to find out.
While our short stint with the A45 S and the SL43 were confined to the Kyalami Grand Prix circuit, our maiden voyage with the slightly more powerful A35 sedan took place on a slippery and traffic-cone-infested Gymkhana course. Mercedes has taken its sporty sedan to the operating table and embedded it with several new features and goodies to elevate its athleticism. So before delving into its ability to manoeuvre around traffic cones, let’s have a look at what’s been changed in the 2023 AMG A35 sedan 4MATIC+.
What’s new on the Mercedes-AMG A35 sedan 4MATIC+?
Most notably, the latest iteration of the A35 sedan features the firm’s belt-driven RSG mild Hybrid system alongside a 49-volt auxiliary power supply. Mercedes claims that its belt-driven system affords the sporty Sedna with an extra 10 kW “at start-up” which then tapers back down to the promised 225 kW. Aside from these added bits, the A35 benefits from the addition of a new front radiator purposed to temper high heat when pushed to its limits, and an eight-speed DCT is now affixed to the M139 engine.
As one would imagine, a facelift denotes changes to the exterior, and in the case of the 2023 AMG A35 sedan 4MATIC+, it receives new headlights, a new radiator grille with the vertical slots and round emblem found on other new models like the A45 S and SL43, a new front apron and power bulges to add some aggression. Much like the front, the rear is now characterized by a new rear lip, redesigned taillights and round exhausts. The contoured flank showcases the new ten-spoke wheel design.
Mercedes-AMG A35 sedan 4MATIC+ driving experience
There’s no fault in the prowess and capability of the M139 engine whether it is the engine bay of a thoroughbred hyper hatch or in a mid-sized sedan. On track and powering the A45 S, the potent four-cylinder affords power and performance aplenty. The same can be said of the A35’s variant of the four-cylinder beating heart.
Careening through cones and performing tight twists demanding immediate power and torque, the A35 felt nearly infallible. Despite four doors and a larger footprint than its hyper hatch sibling, the sultry sedan performed remarkably and was nimble enough to perform near 180-degree turns and rapid weight transfer. Out of necessity, the transmission setting was left in its automatic configuration and performed well enough to not hinder the pass through the makeshift Gymkhana course.
Its ability to slink through the cones and deliver ever-ready bursts of speed is commendable. Although significantly underpowered compared to its stablemates, the A35’s athleticism and performance capabilities are undeniable. The isolated experience with the A35 leaves one understanding that its more than capable of handling itself on track and will undoubtedly be more than capable during everyday driving on public roads.
Related: Review: 2023 Mercedes-AMG SL43
All in all, the AMG A35 is a competent mid-size sedan with enough to offer to justify its price tag. However, it may be slightly outclassed by rivals like the Audi S3 Sedan Quattro. Despite this, its appearance, performance and overall refinement make it a reasonable option for customers seeking a balance between price, performance and practicality.
Mercedes-AMG A35 sedan 4MATIC+ Fast Facts
Engine: 2,0-litre, turbocharged four-cylinder with mild-hybrid system
Power: 235 kW
Torque: 400 N.m
Transmission: Eight-speed AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT
Price: R1 136 946
Competitors: Audi S3 sedan Quattro, Subaru WRX, Lexus IS