2020 Mercedes-AMG A35 vs 2020 (F40) BMW M135i – Which hot hatch is spicier?

Jerrica · Jul 28, 2020 07:57 PM

When the 2020 Mercedes-AMG A35 4Matic (RM 366,785 OTR 0% SST) was launched it only had one competitor and it is the out-going and no-less fun Volkswagen Golf R. We all know that with the dated features the Golf had to offer, it doesn’t come close to the A35. But come July, with the arrival of F40 2020 BMW M135i (RM 355,646 OTR 0% SST) to our shores, the A35 now has a worthy competitor. So, how do these hot hatches compare in terms of specs?


There is no denying that the BMW M135i cuts the more stylish figure between the two. Gone is the plain boxy look and in with a slanting design that gives you the impression of cut diamond. The new 1 Series looks better than it has ever been before.

The kidney grilles are BMW’s latest rendition of their signature design. You can say that the new merged kidney grilles further set the M135i apart from older BMW cars.


Meanwhile, the A35 is harder to tell apart from the standard A-Class hatches. Unless you opt to grab the Special Edition that features Tech Gold decals and wheels, only a car enthusiast will be able to appreciate the AMG parts like the sporty rear apron with its new diffuser insert.


In terms of interior stylishness, the M135i loses out massively to the A35. Sure, there are 2 interior colour options, namely Black Dakota leather or Magma Red Dakota leather, but the 1 Series’ interior just looks like every other BMW except for the G20 2020 BMW 3 Series.

Other than the M-specific seats, steering wheel, and seat belt, the 1 Series has little in its interior to remind you it is the sportier M series hatchback.

Given Mercedes’ emphasis on interior luxury and comfort, the A35’s interior has the winning point between the two hatches. You get sporty Nappa leather-wrapped seats and steering wheel.

The grey seats are complemented with blue stitching while the flat-bottom sports steering wheel bears plenty of shiny reminders that this is an AMG infused A-Class.


We would say that the BMW M135i and Mercedes-AMG A35 4Matic are neck-in-neck when it comes to engine performance.

Both cars are equipped with a 2-litre turbocharged petrol engine, the A35’s engine is mated to a 7G dual-clutch sports transmission while the M135i gets an 8-speed Steptronic torque converter automatic transmission.

Both engines dispense a total of 306 PS but the M135i would outgun the A35 in terms of torque with 450 Nm over the A35’s 400 Nm of torque.

When it comes to century sprint, the A35 peeps the M135i by just 0.1s with a claimed 4.7 seconds to century over the M135i’s 4.8 seconds. But does it matter when it comes to real-world terms?

If you’re very particular: Carwow did a special drag race featuring the M135i and A35, and the M135i won that race almost effortlessly. 

Safety Tech

With power also comes the danger to safety, both hot hatches are expectedly well-equipped with plenty of safety features.

For the M135i, BMW lists Lane Change Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Warning with Braking (AEB), Rear Cross Traffic Alert with Braking, and Speed Limit Info. BMW did not list a Blind-spot Monitor for the hatch so we assume that the car doesn’t come with the monitor. 

The Mercedes-AMG A35 4Matic, meanwhile, gets Active Brake Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Active Parking Assist with Parktronic, Blind-spot Assist, knee airbag, Pre-Safe system.

Both hatches are noticeably lacking Adaptive Cruise Control, but if you think about it, these are performance cars and we assume you would rather drive the car yourself rather than let the technology take over.

The A35 also trumps the M135i in this department because of the car’s ability to park itself thanks to Active Parking Assist with Parktronic for both parallel and reverse parking.


In terms of tech, both hatches are well-equipped with the companies’ latest offerings. The M135i features the BMW Operating System 7.0, not only will the M135i be officially getting Android Auto connectivity come 2021 the infotainment will also support wireless Apple CarPlay.

Other than the infotainment system, car owners will also be able to unlock their cars with their devices so there is no need to carry a key fob around.

Mercedes-Benz offers not just standard MBUX multimedia system but one with the extended functions, all-digital instrument cluster and is Android Auto ready. Apple CarPlay in the A35, however, still requires you to connect your phone via a wire.

Perhaps the best offering is the Mercedes me function. With the function, owners can check all details of their A35 like fuel levels and tyre pressure via their Mercedes me app. They can even choose to turn on their cars remotely via the app.


Comparatively, both the BMW M135i and the Mercedes-AMG A35 4Matic are very similar in terms of spec.

Both 2.0-litre turbocharged engines are tuned to dispense similar power outputs, packed with plenty of safety tech, and has the latest advanced in-car entertainment to offer, it is hard-pressed to pick a winner between the two.

If you’re set on buying a hot hatch, you will either have to pick based on the company or based on the way each car drives. After all, every driver has different preferences.