Mercedes-Benz A-Class

The A-Class launches with just one engine option, though an AMG-tuned version is available that takes things to a whole new level. The base A220 uses a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine aided by a turbocharger making 188 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque. According to Mercedes, the A-class can reach 60 mph in just 7.1 seconds with this engine, in both front-wheel drive form or in the more expensive 4MATIC all-wheel drive version. The A35 AMG also uses a 2.0L 4-cylinder, but it's tuned for far more power, making a full 302 horsepower, sent to all-four wheels through a dual-clutch transmission. This combination is enough to get the A35 AMG to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds.

Standard exterior features on the A 220 sedan include 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, taillamps and running lights, rain sensing wipers and LED taillights. Inside, the A220 comes standard with cruise control, powered front seats, a see-through panoramic roof, remote engine start, heated outside mirrors, dual-zone climate control, steering wheel mounted touch panels to control the infotainment system, a 7-inch touchscreen between the seats, a 7-inch digital instrument display, Bluetooth audio streaming with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, eight speaker sound system, voice control, a touchpad controller between the front seats and five USB-C ports.

Though there is essentially just one trim level for the A220, there are several option packages and standalone features that can really push the car into true luxury car territory. A Premium Package includes a blind spot monitoring system, a larger 10" digital instrument cluster as well as a second 10" infotainment display, auto-dimming inside and driver's side mirrors, power folding mirrors, keyless go and hands-free access. Meanwhile, a Multimedia package adds navigation, traffic sign assist and an augmented reality mode for that navigation, which uses the car's forward-facing camera with overlaid directions to help drivers navigate. A heads-up display, wireless inductive charging and a Burmester sound system are all also available as stand-alone options.

An AMG Line Package adds aluminum shift paddles, brushed aluminum pedals, a sportier steering wheel, nicer front brakes, a slightly lowered and re-tuned suspension and 18" wheels. Gloss black exterior accents are also available with the AMG Line package. Finally, a Driver's Assistance Package offers just that: active steering assist, active brake assist, active lane keeping assist and active speed limit assist systems are included with this package, allowing the A220 to shoulder a lot more of the work when cruising on the highway.

Editors' Review

You know the episode of Futurama where Fry drinks 100 cups of coffee? That's the 2020 Mercedes-AMG A35 in a nutshell. There is no off switch. There are no periods of calm. It is a ball of perennial energy, a constant frenetic tumult. If you're wondering what sacrifice is required in an AMG vehicle starting around $45,000, it's hidden in the fact that this small sedan can never calm the eff down.

Light as a feather, stiff as a board

OK, the A35's lack of chill is not entirely complete. Starting the car is actually a pretty sedate affair, its 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 jumping to life with (predictably) less clamor than some of AMG's heavier hitters. Considering there needs to be room for the A45 above it, this isn't much of a surprise, although I will admit I'm a sucker for angry cold starts.

Every other femtosecond of existence inside the A35, though, is engineered for high energy -- not always for the better, either. Let's take the engine: Its output of 302 horsepower and 295 pound-feet isn't record-breaking, but it's more than enough to send this sedan shooting to the horizon. And that will happen often, thanks to some strange power delivery. The four-pot takes a second to build boost, and somewhere before 3,000 rpm, the car will transition from a leisurely pace to strong forward motion with less regard than I'd like for throttle position as it reaches the engine's peak torque range. Half the time I try to shoot a gap on the street, I miss it because I've rocketed straight past it. Sure, it sounds great while the needle sweeps the tachometer, I just wish the delivery were even remotely linear.

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The Good ~ Compact-car hustle ~ Excellent cabin tech ~ Not terribly expensive

The Bad ~ Iffy DCT tuning ~ Inconsistent power delivery ~ Stiffness lasting longer than 4 hours

The Bottom Line If you want a car as constantly tightly wound as you are, the 2020 Mercedes-AMG A35 is a sprightly sedan worth scooping up.

Editors' Rating
  • Performance 8.5
  • Features 9
  • Design 8
  • Media 9

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