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Review: 2021 Mercedes A35 justifies higher price for luxury brand

Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Automotive News

Panoramic sunroof 10.25-inch touch screen Apple CarPlay Android Auto Ambient lighting Blind spot alert Power front seats with memory Dual-zone automatic climate control Black MB Tex upholstery AMG sport suspension with adaptive damping 19-inch matte black AMG multispoke wheels USB-C adapter cable Burmeister surround audio Wireless charging Navigation with augmented reality and traffic sign recognition AMG exterior trim and aero packages

The A35 competes with performance compacts like the BMW M240ixDrive, Honda Civic R, Subaru WRX and VW Golf R. All but the Civic R offer all-wheel drive.

2021 Mercedes AMG A35 4Matic driving impressions

The A35’s steering is responsive and quick, transmitted through a thick AMG-designed steering wheel with small multipurpose buttons you can swipe up, down, right or left to position displays and other features.

The steering wheel has a flat bottom and the all-wheel-drive system transfers power smoothly, eliminating any hint of torque steer.

Throttle response is immediate, and the dual-clutch gearbox delivers quick, smooth shifts.

 

Selecting sport mode gives the exhaust a rich note and stiffens the suspension noticeably. The A35 holds level in quick maneuvers, acceleration and stops.

The digital instrument cluster display is sharp, as is the touch screen mounted in the middle of the dashboard. The touch screen and voice-activated digital assistant provide easy ways to control most systems. There’s also a small touch pad in the center console, but I find it less useful in a moving vehicle. Leather-wrapped dash and suede door inners provide appealing touch points.

Passenger compartment space is competitive, but the trunk is small.

The A35 should keep Mercedes’s compact sedan in the game for at least another round.

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