Indeed, much of AMG’s most memorable works featured large V8 engines, although they have learned to diversify their line-up a bit. The “45” series models, for example, departed significantly from the usual AMG template.  In place of a thrumming V8 ever ready to overwhelm its rear wheels, a zingy 2.0-litre turbo sits transversely across the front dispatching grunt to all corners.


Fast, uncompromising, outright brutal even, the AMG 45s are all explosively quick on a straight line yet also insanely grippy around bends. For point-and-shoot driving in city roads, they are unrivalled. Yes, you may be faster around Sepang with a Ferrari, or cover interstate highways more rapidly in an Aston, but you won’t find a car that gets you from PJ to Cheras on a working day quicker than a GLA 45.

AMG has never been known for its delicate touches. When the folks of Affalterbach get to work, more often than not, they hit hard. We are, after all, talking about an outfit whose most famous car is nicknamed the Hammer.


Whilst rivals BMW M focus on balance and scalpel-like precision, AMG takes the brute force approach, their cars bristling with unfeasible firepower from monstrous engines. At the dawn of downsizing, they not only introduced a 6.2-litre V8, they also shoved it into a C-Class. Political correctness be damned.

On the road, certain traits of the A 45 are present in the A 35 too, albeit in reduced doses. The 2.0-litre turbo responds urgently when pressed and accelerates the car more than quickly enough to keep you ahead of traffic. Its compact footprint and all-wheel drive system combine to give the car almost unbeatable agility and sharpness. For point and shoot city traffic, it’s brilliant; it shortens the distance between traffic lights effectively, whilst also giving you the confidence to exploit even the most marginal of gaps between traffic. If you see one of these in downtown KL traffic, don’t bother trying to keep up. You can’t.

Hammer in a

The A 35 offers cheaper and more comfortable entry point into the Mercedes-AMG range, but can it live up to the three-alphabet and two-digit badge?




I had originally envisioned a sunrise shoot for the A 35 only for a cloudy morning to ruin the plans. The lesson learned here is to always have a Plan B when one is counting on natural light for a shoot. Instead of doing clean contrast still shots as I had initially wanted, I changed plans to do a rolling shot showing the car in motion instead. - TJ


Mercedes-AMG A 35 4Matic Sedan


Max Power

Max Torque


Velvet Glove

Interestingly too, the A 35 is your only way of getting a proper two-digit AMG badge with the A-Class sedan. If you still want the A 45, you have to get the hatch; if you insist on four doors with the 45 badge, you need to consider the CLA instead. What’s more interesting to note is that even between the two A 35 models, the hatch is a full RM 30k costlier.


There is, make no mistake, a significant performance deficit between from the A 45 to the A 35 – there has to be, for the Mercedes SA to convince customers to shell out more for the higher models. Then again, 306hp is no slouch and the A 35 is still fast enough to race from standstill to 100km/h in a brisk 4.8 seconds.

And they have become even quicker. From 360hp initially, AMG quickly spooled up its 2.0-litre turbo to 381hp as a facelift exercise. Going into its second-generation, the “45” badge on the back of a Mercedes now stands for 387hp. Add an ‘S’ behind the number, it goes up to 421hp, and leaves a yawning gap with the regular A-Class range that tops out at 224hp in the A 250.


Into the void steps the AMG A 35 which is to the A 45 what the C 43 is to the C 63. On paper, the promise is of a more civilized, less power crazy, more balanced take on the AMG formula that is more friendly for day to day use. In reality, the more important factor perhaps is that the price tag is significantly less damaging to your bank account. That, and the promise of greater ride comfort, goes a long way to widen the A 35’s appeal, and consequently that of the Mercedes-AMG brand, to a wider audience.

“It’s rapid, but it’s not frightening. Together with the fact that it has the secure traction of all-wheel drive, this car really gives you the confidence to pummel it through the bends!”

- Kon

Ergonomics can be improved upon too. The adjoining screens trickled down from the E-Class does give the cabin a high-tech feel, but parts of the screen are obscured from the driver’s line-of-sight by the steering wheel. Overall, it’s great for the cameras, not so much for the person behind the wheel.


In isolation, the A 35 is a likeable enough car, one that is properly quick in real world conditions and civilized enough to live with day-to-day whilst still offering enough thrills to entertain. Mission accomplished then? Not quite. Because, a few months before reviewing the A 35 Sedan pictured here, I also had the opportunity to drive the A 35 hatch back-to-back against the CLA 45. Quite surprisingly, the CLA 45 was not only outright faster than the A 35, but also manages to ride more comfortably at low speed. It felt like the more complete go-fast package, and ultimately negates what the A 35 set out to accomplish.


When it comes to Mercedes-AMG, I suppose they really do it best when they hammer it hard.

Compromises? Of course there are, but not perhaps where you’d expect. The ride is expectedly firm, but just about supple enough for day-to-day use – it’s softer than the BMW 330i M Sport, if you need a comparison. Simply put, it’s more than comfortable enough for anyone who made the decision to go for a performance variant to begin with.


The area where we feel Mercedes should really really improve upon is the quality of its cabin construction. No doubt it’s pretty, and the multiple ambient lighting colour choices were given the verdict “very Instagram-able” by our new colleague Rachel, the actual fit and finish when you feel it in the flesh is really ‘tak boleh pakai’ for a RM300k+ car. I shook the A/C control panel, Bobby shook the whole dashboard, both actions revealed a shocking amount of free play from what are supposed to be solidly-mounted pieces onto the car.

“Damn fast wei. Crazy. This is the kind of cars that cause accidents for youngsters!”

- Bobby




Top Speed


2.0-litre, Inline-4, Twin-Scroll Turbo

306hp @ 5,800rpm

400Nm @ 3,000 – 4,000rpm

7-speed DCT, AWD

7.3 l/100km

167 g/km

4.8 seconds

250 km/h


Olympus OMD Mark II, f/2.8, 1/320 sec, ISO 200, 0 step, 24mm

Olympus OMD Mark II, f/2.8, 1/400 sec, ISO 200, 0 step, 32mm

Olympus OMD Mark II, f/2.8, 1/640 sec, ISO 200, 0 step, 28mm

Olympus OMD Mark II, f/2.8, 1/320 sec, ISO 200, -1.7 step, 25mm

Olympus OMD Mark II, f/2.8, 1/160 sec, ISO 200, -1.3 step, 12mm

Olympus OMD Mark II, f/2.8, 1/320 sec, ISO 200, 0 step, 21mm

Olympus OMD Mark II, f/2.8, 1/8 sec, ISO 200, -1.3 step, 12mm

Olympus OMD Mark II, f/2.8, 1/500 sec, ISO 200, 0 step, 38mm

Olympus OMD Mark II, f/2.8, 1/320 sec, ISO 200, 0 step, 40mm

Olympus OMD Mark II, f/6.3, 1/15 sec, ISO 100, -0.3 step, 32mm