The 2019 Mercedes-AMG A35 Hot Hatch Looks Both Silly and Serious and I Want to Drive One Badly

Illustration for article titled The 2019 Mercedes-AMG A35 Hot Hatch Looks Both Silly and Serious and I Want to Drive One Badly

Mercedes physically revealed the Mercedes-AMG A35 yesterday in Paris after debuting it online a few weeks back. I had a chance to sit in the little hot hatch today, and now I deeply need to drive this little oddball of a car.

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It’s got a fancy Mercedes infotainment system sitting on a swanky Mercedes dashboard, but then it’s got a giant wing, prominent dive planes, and “sporty” decals on the side. I don’t get it, but I want to.

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This Mercedes-AMG is based on the new front-drive platform underpinning the new A-Class, but compared to the old car the front end has been stiffened, a 306 horsepower engine has been slapped in to power all four wheels, the brakes have been upgraded, and the exterior styling has gone even more nuts.

Case in point, this wing:

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And there’s the big splitter and the dive planes on the outside of the lower fascia:

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The rear fascia, with the vents in the outside of the bumper and dual exhaust, is equally as angry:

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On the sides, there’s this “fast” graphic above some aggressive side sills:

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And then there are the giant 19-inch wheels with sizable 14-inch drilled discs in the front and 13-inch drilled discs out rear.

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And that’s just the car that was sitting on the motor show floor. The AMG A35 also comes in this color:

Photo by Mercedes
Photo by Mercedes
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Photo by Mercedes
Photo by Mercedes

So outside, it’s wacky (in a good way), and on the inside, there’s some fun stuff going on, too. Like the switchable ambient lighting:

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And the sporty seats:

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But for the most part, the interior—easily the nicest in any hot hatch I’ve ever driven—felt very buttoned-up. Very Mercedes. Check infotainment screen/gauge cluster combo, and the sweet vents:

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Oh yes, those vents:

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There’s even the serious, very German infotainment controller on the center console:

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Just look at how seriously this random, well-dressed man appears to be poking through the car’s navigation system:

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Crazy on the outside, serious and luxurious on the inside is a good thing. Too many folks grow out of their WRXs and GTIs as they get older, and opt for something a bit more polished and comfortable. Now they can do that without having to give up the joys of driving a hot hatch.

Well, maybe. We’ll have to see how this thing drives first, though sadly, that may not matter to most Americans. Because this weird little Mercedes isn’t coming stateside.

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Still, if I have to fly to Germany to get time behind the wheel of this 4.7 second-to-62mph hot hatch, I’ll do it. I need to see if the handling lines up more with the car’s comfy interior or its absurd exterior.

I’m hoping it’s the latter.

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Illustration for article titled The 2019 Mercedes-AMG A35 Hot Hatch Looks Both Silly and Serious and I Want to Drive One Badly
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Illustration for article titled The 2019 Mercedes-AMG A35 Hot Hatch Looks Both Silly and Serious and I Want to Drive One Badly
Illustration for article titled The 2019 Mercedes-AMG A35 Hot Hatch Looks Both Silly and Serious and I Want to Drive One Badly
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Illustration for article titled The 2019 Mercedes-AMG A35 Hot Hatch Looks Both Silly and Serious and I Want to Drive One Badly
Illustration for article titled The 2019 Mercedes-AMG A35 Hot Hatch Looks Both Silly and Serious and I Want to Drive One Badly
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Illustration for article titled The 2019 Mercedes-AMG A35 Hot Hatch Looks Both Silly and Serious and I Want to Drive One Badly
Illustration for article titled The 2019 Mercedes-AMG A35 Hot Hatch Looks Both Silly and Serious and I Want to Drive One Badly
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Illustration for article titled The 2019 Mercedes-AMG A35 Hot Hatch Looks Both Silly and Serious and I Want to Drive One Badly

Sr. Technical Editor, Jalopnik. Always interested in hearing from auto engineers—email me. Cars: Willys CJ-2A ('48), Jeep J10 ('85), Jeep Cherokee ('79, '91, '92, '00), Jeep Grand Cherokee 5spd ('94).

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DISCUSSION

detailer4u
detailer4u

“Crazy on the outside, serious and luxurious on the inside is a good thing. Too many folks grow out of their WRXs and GTIs as they get older, and opt for something a bit more polished and comfortable. Now they can do that without having to give up the joys of driving a hot hatch”

Great line. That is so accurate for a lot of gear heads. We have to grow up because father time says so. But I have a hard time letting go of my hot hatch days. They are so much fun to drive and look so cool. How can you not long for the days of being young, having a fast ass hot hatch, having none of those additional grown up resposibilites yet, and the free time to enjoy the drive. Very well put David!