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HomeiMoto ReviewsReview: A35 AMG hatch

Review: A35 AMG hatch

Subtle changes to the design and on the technical front have made the A35 a worthy rival to the Golf R.

The Golf 8R has seemingly dropped the ball where the Golf 7.5R ruled. Mercedes AMG has recently updated the A35 AMG hatch and we tested it to see if its now the king of the vruuu phaa.

The design just works with the slimmer LED headlights neatly integrated into the AMG grille. The AMG Aerodynamics Package priced at R27 000 needs one to also add the R14 000 Night package but as a stand out design, it works. The MANUFAKTUR patagonia red metallic on our test car is priced at R 17,400 and adds exclusivity.

Our test unit also came with AMG 5-twin-spoke light-alloy wheels for an extra R 15,100 and all in, its worth going for the extras as the A35 AMG transforms into an A45s look and that gives it street cred in spades. Twin exhaust at the back do hit it negatively though when one takes into account the 4 pipe expectations. Most onlookers thought it should have 4 pipes instead of the two and even though the 4 pipes are left for the A45s, one does feel less endowed with just twin pipes.

R18 000 will need to be allocated to the leather package for buyers who enjoy leather over the standard microfibre upholstery. Our test unit came with the standard seats but should you have R82 000 to spare, you will be best served going for the simply superb to look and seat in AMG Performance seats. The MBUX infotainment screen works either through touch or by the steering wheel toggles. The haptic feel steering controls are not the best with one preference being the buttons. It’s not as easy to modulate controlling when driving and sometime an accidental swipe whilst driving will lower volume or make changes. Space inside the cabin is ok when compared to the A3 Audi but does feel short against the Golf 8.

Where the A35 wont be found wanting is on the engine front with the 225 kW/400 Nm 2.0 4-cylinder Turbo engine well matched to the 4Matic all wheel drive set up. Push it hard and it does exhibit slight understeer at the limit but all the way to that limit, the driver has fun in spades. The 9 speed auto is not the best in the field but it does handle itself well. Its only on quick downshifts where ones feels a slight delay in gear changes. The rotary AMG setting controls on the steering wheel make performance changes easy even on the move. Slot everything into Dynamic mode or AMG Performance mode and the exhaust crackles an and pops just the way onlookers want. The suspension doesn’t have adjustability one gets with the Golf 8R but left in standard mode, its a good combination of firm and dynamic fun.

Priced at R 1,234,550 without the extras, it does seem good value but to make it look and drive the way you want, it will need you to have a much better relationship with your bank.

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