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.

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
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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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About the author

David Tracy

Writer, Jalopnik. 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle, 1985 Jeep J10, 1948 Willys CJ-2A, 1995 Jeep Cherokee, 1992 Jeep Cherokee auto, 1991 Jeep Cherokee 5spd, 1976 Jeep DJ-5D, totaled 2003 Kia Rio