|Price||₹ 39.90 Lakh onwards|
|Mileage||17.5 to 21.35 kmpl|
|Engine||1332 to 1950 cc|
|Transmission||Automatic (Dual Clutch)|
|Fuel Type||Petrol & Diesel|
|Seating Capacity||5 Seater|
The Mercedes-Benz A-Class Limousine is available in three variants - A200 (Petrol), A200d (Diesel) and A35 4Matic (AMG Line, Petrol). It is offered with various paint options such as Polar White, Mojave Silver, Mountain Grey, Cosmos Black, Denim Blue and Iridium Silver.
The design of the A-Class sedan is inspired by the E-Class and the S-Class sedans. It gets adaptive LED headlights with L-shaped DRLs which also works as turn signals. The car also features a large electric sunroof with a rain-sensing function for auto-close. The A200 and A200d are equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels.
The interior of the A-Class resembles other Mercedes-Benz models. It features dual 10.25-inch screens. A touchscreen infotainment system gets the MBUX system with navigation. Other features include two-zone climate control, electronically adjustable front seats with lumbar support and massage function, four USB-C ports and a wireless charging pad and leather upholstery for the seats. The A200 and A200d have a round-shaped steering wheel and a completely beige interior.
The A-Class is provided with a 1.3-litre inline four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine mated to a seven-speed DCT, 2.0-litre inline four-cylinder diesel paired with an-eight-speed dual-clutch automatic. This Mercedes-Benz sedan rivals with other German brand cars such as the new Audi A3 saloon (NOT LAUNCHED YET) and the BMW 2 series Gran Coupé.
The new A-Class Limousine is expected to take off right where the CLA left. In its new avatar, the new A-Class has space, performance and all the technology one could ask for in a car in this segment and more but even then it’s not going to be an easy task, especially when it contends with the BMW 2 Series, the upcoming Audi A3, and a market that's dominated by SUVs.
Oddly for an AMG, the engine does not entirely headline the driving experience. That’s because it isn’t a thoroughbred AMG motor and if you are a fan, you will notice upon opening the hood that it isn’t some hand-built engine with a special plaque adorning its builder’s signature. In fact, this 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engine is called M260 and if you look up the codename you will find that it’s basically an A250 engine that has been upgraded with a twin-scroll turbocharger, a better cooling system, and a stronger manifold to deal with the additional intake pressure.
Now, driving any AMG vehicle is a rare treat, whether it’s a V8 powered, rear-wheel drive mentalist or an entry-level car like this 306bhp A35 which is meant for everyday use. Although it’s plenty powerful for its size, it’s a surprisingly friendly engine that is capable of punching you in your gut when you fully floor the pedal. Using launch control, we managed a 0-100kmph time of 4.98 seconds and 0-60kmph in just 2.37 seconds – impressive figures considering we tested the car on a very hot summer’s day. On a good day, we reckon the A35 can rip through the 100kmph mark in less than 4.8 seconds. On the highway, you can get a feel for its strong performance as triple-digit speeds are achieved in a jiffy as long as you are on boost because this forced-induced engine isn’t the kind of powerhouse that can lunge forward at low revs without a downshift or two. Find yourself in the wrong gear and the A35 feels handicapped for almost a second because of the turbo lag, and that’s quite a long wait. As for the gearbox, the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic works well for the most part, finding the right gear to mask the turbo lag. From the multiple driving modes, it performs the best when put in Sport+ wherein gear changes are lightning quick and fairly brutal at the same time. For pottering around town though, it’s better to shift to Comfort and let the drivetrain work in the least stressful manner. All in all, it’s a refined DCT but as we have seen in the past with the previous-gen GLA45 and the CLA45, it is also quite clunky at low speeds.
In terms of ease of driving, the A35 AMG is a bit of a handful in city traffic. From the get-go, it is traditionally sporty in the sense that it’s low and the glasshouse is rather small. You are probably thinking that visibility is restricted with those small wing mirrors and that roofline, and you would be right. Thankfully, there are proximity sensors all around the car and the visuals you get from the rear-view camera are also extremely clear, so you wouldn’t be too paranoid parking the A35.
It doesn’t look very promising on paper when it comes to the ride quality. For instance, the A35 AMG sits low on big 18-inch wheels with low profile tires and to top it all off, the AMG derived suspension is stiffly sprung and that’s never a good thing if you have a bad back. Having said all that, the A35 impresses but has its limitations. You get adaptive damping as standard with this car and it does work across mixed road surfaces. In Comfort mode, the ride quality is genuinely forgiving and as long as you are on pothole-free roads the A35 doesn’t feel hard-edged or brittle. There is, however, a lot of movement over lumpy roads even at acceptably fast speeds, and moving to Sport+ only amps up the fidgety nature of the short travel suspension. And with a ground clearance of 160mm, you have to be super careful when going over speed bumps or crumbling city roads as there is a good chance you will bottom out if there are passengers at the back.
On the plus side, high speed manners are commendable as the A35 remains totally planted over flat highways. It’s also a decent cruiser when you chuck it in Sport, however, it’s at this point you realise that the grippy 235-section Continental tires are quite noisy and that you will have to raise your voice over the tire roar especially over concrete roads.
The A35 AMG punches above its weight every time you show it some corners. We would even go as far as to say that the level of grip and cornering speeds that you can achieve with this little sedan go well beyond several rear-drive sports cars currently out there. This is primarily down to how well AMG’s variable all-wheel-drive system distributes power, depending on how much load and grip each wheel has at any given point through the corners. Even though it never sends more than 50 per cent of the power to the rear wheels, the A35 feels neutral and beautifully poised, especially across tight corners. Sure, the front axle will push on if you decide to be a chump and carry too much speed into a corner. Thankfully, the electronic aids will kick in and curb the understeer somewhat because Mercedes won’t let you fully disable stability assists. Speaking of assist, the A35’s steering is perhaps its most impressive drivetrain highlight – it is so direct and beautifully assisted and yet never too pointy, making the turn-in very predictable. Unlike many fast cars, the A35 AMG is not a tiring car to drive when you are on it. There is just the right amount of power from the engine and the right amount of nippiness from the steering, making the A35 a safe and resounding fast sedan.
You know it’s business as usual at AMG when you make your way inside the cabin and are surrounded by red seatbelts, body-hugging sports seats, and drilled aluminium pedals besides the usual dollops of chrome, digital display overload, and beautifully put together materials. All of this hints at the performance-oriented tech that lies beneath but the contrasting stitching, Nappa leather and high-quality glossy plastics also elevate this cabin to something that’s plausible when you consider the asking price. What I am not a fan of, though, is the flat-bottom steering wheel that to my eye doesn’t go well with this performance-oriented AMG model. In fact, this steering design has stayed in Mercedes’ mid-size luxury sedans for a while now and is more suited to a Luxo-barge than a performance sedan.
With so many adjustments for both the driver’s seat and the steering column, finding the ideal driving position is fairly easy. The trim on the centre console and the doors are finished in brushed aluminium and in tandem with the stainless-steel AMG door sills, emphasising the sporty character of the car. The cabin, otherwise, is similar to that of the regular A-Class and that can only mean one thing – it is a bit short on space. While the seats themselves are extremely supportive, there isn’t much space to move around, especially at the back. Though not as much as in the old CLA45, you can notice the sloping roofline and the small windows once you are seated at the back, making the otherwise comfortable cabin feel a bit claustrophobic and that’s also because of the all-black upholstery and an equally dark headlining.
For Rs 66.14 lakh on-road, there is a lot more equipment to get through compared to the regular A-Class. You get adaptive LED headlamps, tail lamps, twin digital displays that are high on clarity and fluidity, a high-end Burmester surround sound system, adaptive AMG suspension, AMG 18-inch wheels, wireless charging pad, ambient lighting, Nappa leather, electric front seats, several airbags, ABS, stability assists, and speed warning chimes. You also get active brake assist which can alert the driver if it senses that a collision is imminent and apply the brakes eventually if it doesn’t receive any braking input from the driver.
A special shout out has to go to the new MBUX infotainment system which is simply brilliant as means to communicate with the car. It may look a little complicated at first glance but there is no denying that it is currently among the most intuitive and feature-rich systems out there. The main display for the MBUX is large and crisp and you can also wirelessly use Android Auto or Apple CarPlay on it. The display even works as a touchscreen, however, if you do not fancy that you can browse through the functions via a dedicated pad on the centre console or through the steering-mounted buttons.
Concluding that the Mercedes A35 AMG is a very convincing everyday performance car is difficult to argue. It’s fast, a lot of fun and for a family of four, it’s fairly comfortable. At just over Rs 64 lakh, it is expensive but then it looks like it. Sure, the bodywork is obviously restrained given that it’s an A-Class first and then an AMG model but there are still many eye-catching details, from the sleek sloping front to the hunkered-down stance and twin diffusers/exhausts at the back, with everything in between designed to give out a sharp emotional appeal. The only major downside that we can think of is that the engine that the A35 has doesn’t shape up its personality and that’s just not the AMG way. Traditionally, V8-powered AMGs have a brutish charm, and it’s simply impossible to not have a silly grin as you try to wrestle them down the road, any road.
On the other hand, this four-cylinder A35 AMG is a different proposition and although it’s plenty fast and dictates the same unhinged attitude of smaller AMGs from the past, it’s just that it’s a more refined, restrained, and a better-balanced performance sedan. Perhaps a bit too refined and restrained for its own good.
Photography: Kapil Angane
|Fuel Type||Transmission||ARAI Mileage|
|Automatic (Dual Clutch)||21.35 kmpl|
|Automatic (Dual Clutch)||17.5 kmpl|