2021 Mercedes-AMG A35

Compare insurance prices:
Save an average of $440
Free Quote

2021 Mercedes-AMG A35 Test Drive Review: Luxury Go-Kart

Think of the Mercedes-AMG A35 as the gateway to a wider and more expensive range of ultra-fast and powerful German-built automotive rockets. This compact hot rod is merely a preview of what's to come when there's more room in your budget. Unfortunately, the AMG A35 has been dropped from the lineup for model year 2022, but you can probably still find 2021 examples still parked on Mercedes dealer lots. Get one while you can because this is truly a luxury go-kart.

As one of the smallest AMG products sold in the USA, the subcompact luxury sedan competes for attention from the same buyers as the Audi S3 and BMW M235i Gran Coupe. Like those, this German performance sedan is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. Power is sent to all four wheels via an automatic transmission - in this case, a seven-speed DCT. With a total of 302 horsepower on tap, the A35 is impressively quick, hitting 60 mph in just 4.6 seconds. It also boasts a stunning interior that's above and beyond nearly anything in its class. Best of all, it doesn't cost an excessive amount of money, making it a happy middle ground or an adequate stepping stone into the world of luxurious performance.

Read in this review:

  • Exterior Design 10 /10
  • Performance 8 /10
  • Fuel Economy 8 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 9 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 10 /10
  • Reliability 7 /10
  • Safety 10 /10
  • Value For Money 8 /10
What is BuzzScore?

2021 Mercedes-AMG A35 Changes: What's the difference vs. 2020 Mercedes-AMG A35?

Not much changes for 2021. After quietly entering the market in 2020, Mercedes-AMG has now added a 64-color LED ambient lighting system and blind-spot monitoring to the features list, and the MBUX Interior Assistant is now a standalone option.

Pros and Cons

  • Quick enough for most
  • Adept handling
  • Stunning interior
  • Lots of available safety features
  • Good value for money
  • Tight interior dimensions
  • Brakes aren't up to hard abuse
  • Seven-speed DCT isn't the sharpest
  • Most safety features are optional

What's the Price of the AMG A35?

The 2021 Mercedes-AMG A35 sells for an MSRP of $45,850. The A35 is competitively priced against the upcoming 2022 Audi S3 Sedan ($44,900), and the BMW M235i Gran Coupe at $45,500. Those who aren't bothered with specific configurations or buying new can get their hands on low mileage examples for around $40k. Fully loaded, the A35 AMG's price can rocket to over $70k, at which point a Mercedes-AMG CLA45 makes a lot of sense. The price of the AMG A35 excludes tax, registration, and a destination fee of $1,050.

Our tester came to a grand total of $52,990, including destination. That sum includes the metallic exterior paint, AMG Performance steering wheel, upgraded suspension, heated front seats, and the Multimedia and Premium Packages.

Best Deals on 2021 Mercedes-AMG A35

2021 Mercedes-AMG A35 Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
AMG A35 4MATIC Sedan
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
7-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
See All 2021 Mercedes-AMG A35 Trims and Specs

Handling and Driving Impressions

As is to be expected from anything wearing an AMG badge, this AWD performance sedan has a definite bias towards athleticism, which can be felt when driving over rough roads. The suspension is firm, but it's not overly harsh as far as we're concerned. The one downside is the tendency to feel even some minor road bumps. At cruising speed, the A35 is very comfortable and can easily handle everything from daily errands to cross-country road trips. The optional AMG Ride Control's adaptive dampers are a good choice if you want more flexibility in terms of ride feel.

Take it out to a twisty road and it proves why the optional suspension (only $990 extra) is needed. It resists roll well, but still has a soft enough edge to communicate in lieu of the mute steering. Our mountain road driving experience was nothing but fun. However, we did notice a slight lack of front-end grip in a few tight corners.

The A35 feels like a FWD car in the way it pushes its nose out. But the chassis feels natural in the way it behaves. You can trust the response and behavior whether you're going through a corner once or ten times over. Never once did we feel the car couldn't handle what we were throwing at it, an impressive feat considering its platform. Still, we weren't going all-out. The same can't be said of the BMW M235i Gran Coupe, and we're surprised to admit that Mercedes has nailed mid-level performance better than BMW.

The A35 isn't a full-fat performance sedan. It's not a track animal. Even on regular roads, spirited driving will put a strain on the brakes that tend to overheat and get soft sooner than we'd like. It's not the ideal hardcore sports sedan, but rather a warm variant suited for road use and some spirited driving.

Verdict: Is the 2021 Mercedes-AMG A35 A Good car?

Seeing the letters A, M, and G on the tail of a car this size could lead to some confusion. This isn't a fire-breathing, tire-shredding sedan crammed into a small package. Instead, it's a lukewarm performance sedan designed to slowly introduce younger fans to the brand in a "first hit is (not quite) free" sort of way. Unfortunately, AMG felt that formula wasn't working as it should, hence the model's retirement. The slightly larger CLA 45 isn't going anywhere.

A few corners were cut to keep costs down. For example, you don't get the new eight-speed DCT or torque vectoring, Drift Mode-toting chassis from the CLA 45. What owners get in return are ample straight-line performance, a suspension that can still be used daily, and AMG exclusivity. The steering lacks some feel and the brakes won't hold up to track day levels of abuse, but that's just fine for this price point. The AMG A35 is well-balanced, well-packaged, and feels organic. Considering BMW won't build a full-fat M version of the 2 Series Gran Coupe and AMG won't do an A45 Sedan, these two are strong rivals, and the Mercedes is the better driving machine, hands-down.

What Mercedes-AMG A35 Model Should I Buy?

We were generally very happy with the way our tester came equipped. The Denim Blue Metallic paint is gorgeous, especially in direct sunlight. The optional 19-inch matte-black twin five-spoke wheels are another classy touch. Inside, we're big fans of the AMG Performance steering wheel in Nappa/Dinamica for $500. Also included were a head-up display, the Driver Assistance Package, which also adds the Multimedia and Premium Packages, and heated front seats. The one feature we would have liked to have had is the optional adaptive dampers. The grand total is a very reasonable $52,990, including destination.

The Mercedes-AMG A35 is a wonderful entry point for the AMG brand. It's definitely not a German hot rod by any means but it's still extremely fun to drive overall. It's a shame it didn't catch on the way AMG had hoped.

Check out other Mercedes-Benz A-Class Styles

2021 Mercedes-AMG A35 Comparisons

BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe
Audi S3 Sedan Audi

2021 Mercedes-AMG A35 vs BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe

The BMW M235i xDrive is another one of those "not really a coupe" models that BMW is hellbent on pushing onto its customers. Just by looking at these two cars, we can say, without any hesitation, that the AMG A35 is the better-looking car. Under the hood, the BMW packs a similar inline-four engine producing 301 hp and a superior 332 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. The BMW will sprint to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds and top out at 155 mph. Fuel consumption is pegged at 23/32/26 mpg city/highway/combined. The M235i xDrive Gran Coupe's engine might be more powerful, but is devoid of any sort of character, and the handling is just as dull. The A35 is the better driver's car. If, however, you need more practicality from your small, fast sedan, the BMW's trunk is nearly twice the size of the Merc's. Still, BMW missed the mark with this abomination. Get the A35.

See BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe Review

2021 Mercedes-AMG A35 vs Audi S3 Sedan

The 2022 Audi S3 Sedan is the latest fighter to join the compact executive performance battlefield, and it comes in with fists swinging. After taking a hiatus for 2021, an all-new S3 arrives for 2022. It follows a similar recipe to the AMG, powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine producing 306 hp and 295 lb-ft. Both cars are equally matched when it comes to performance (on paper) and will deliver more or less the same fuel economy. The interior of the S3 follows a typically clinical approach and doesn't look as appealing as that of the Mercedes. Audi fans will stay for the quattro performance; the rest will head over to Mercedes-AMG for the brand equity and superior interior. The Audi is more spacious, though, and its base price is a few hundred dollars lighter, so if you're looking for a side of practicality with your performance, the Four Rings might be your answer. We're yet to drive the new S3, so a final verdict will have to wait a little while longer for reviews of both before we give a full comparison, but the two of these are at the head of the pack and the competition will now be closer than ever.

To Top