You definitely don’t think of Mercedes-Benz when you conjure in your mind a hot hatch. At least we don’t. Mercedes is guessing it can change buyer’s attitudes with the 2020 Mercedes-AMG A35 hatchback. And it knows this could be the hot hatch we want but we can’t get it in the US because of Mercedes. While a great little five-door hatchback with some grunt under the hood is universally desirable it won’t be headed this way.
That may be because it knows that US buyers won’t pony over just shy of $50,000 for an A35. Hot hatches still have that baseball cap backward, Beastie Boys soundtrack reputation. You can get a new Volkswagen Golf R for $10,000 less. But Mercedes does have a plan for the A35.
Mercedes wants the hot hatch to be an entré into the AMG brand
It wants the hot hatch to be an entré into the AMG brand. Mercedes hopes this will help you transition into a C63 S or E63 wagon. But there are those who would say that this has no relation to an AMG-tuned product. First, there’s no hand-built V8. Second, it’s front-wheel-drive. What it has is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. Hung behind is a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. It’s all-wheel-drive and Pirelli P Zero tires plant the A35 when pressed.
That combo gets you a tick over 300 hp with 295 ft-lbs of torque. That power, combined with the 3,500 lb curb weight, nets out to 24 mpg in the city and 31 on the highway for a combined 27 mpg. It also will hit 62 mph in 4.7 seconds when pressed. But there is a stretch to go if owners want to personalize or get more bang.
The A35 is visually separated from the regular A-Class platform it is based on
In its most basic form, it is visually separated from the regular A-Class platform it is based on. The lower fascia, larger diameter wheels, and a dark grille AMG-ize the A35. Stepping up to the AMG Aerodynamics package comes with a larger front splitter, front canards, rear diffuser, and the oversize rear wing on the top. Nothing calls out “special” like a gigantic telephone tower sitting on its side at the back of a top.
Moving to the interior there are two 10.25-inch screens with Mercedes’ MBUX system. With the AMG Supersport option you get an upshift indicator. Rev-matching is a lot easier when you can refer to the indicator. The brushed aluminum has a premium look as does the soft suede. The panoramic sunroof brings the interior into the light and gives an overall lighter feel inside.
With a slightly lower price and some strategic advertising, the Mercedes A35 would likely see some sales. Whether it would be enough to allay its sales concerns we’ll never know. Unless Mercedes has a change of heart and looks to 2021 as a good time to test its American interest.