- At RM 348,888, the A35 sedan is the same price as the old A45
- M260 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo, 306 PS & 400 Nm
- Cheapest AMG on sale in Malaysia
Mercedes-Benz Malaysia (MBM) has just introduced the Mercedes-AMG A35 4MATIC Sedan, the first AMG 35 model to arrive on local shores.
The price tag of RM 348,888 raised some eyebrows during the launch as it costs the same amount of money as the previous generation W176 Mercedes-AMG A45 4MATIC Hatchback. Mind you, the W176 A45 came with more horsepower and a hand-built engine - the A35's M260 motor, isnt - which matters more to shoppers of this segment.
For the price, the A35 gets you the M260 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo with 306 PS/400 Nm, 7-speed dual-clutch transmission and 4MATIC all-wheel drive (AWD). Century sprint takes 4.8 seconds with launch control activated while top speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h.
For those of you thinking you’re being short-changed from the baby AMG, here are some of the alternatives you can look into for the same budget.
1. Subaru WRX STI 2.5L 6MT, RM 333,187
It shares the same recipe as the Merc – 2.0-litre turbo, AWD and packs a whole lot of punch. What’s different about the WRX STI is the adoption of a flat-four boxer engine which makes a unique soundtrack as well as a 6-speed manual transmission for the enthusiast.
The WRX STI also makes similar outputs as the A35 with 300 PS and 407 Nm of torque – 6 PS down and 7 Nm up from the baby AMG. Century is done in 5.76 seconds (0.96 seconds slower than the A35) and top speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h.
The styling of the WRX STI is also much louder (if that’s your thing) than the A35 with a large rear wing, deep hood scoop, quad exhaust outlets and large 6-pot Brembo calipers up front (A35 4-pot calipers).
2. Volvo XC60 T8 Inscription Plus 2.0L PHEV, RM 344,088
This is the oddball in this list but you can't overlook what the XC60 T8 has to offer. Being a plug-in hybrid, the 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo and electric motor give a whopping 407 PS and 640 Nm of torque - 101 PS and 240 Nm more than the A35. With the 8-speed automatic transmission and AWD system sends the Swedish SUV flying from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.3 seconds –while consuming less fuel.
Where the A35 Sedan is the entry-level Merc, with the XC60 T8 you can indulge in Swedish luxury decked out in the top of the line Inscription Plus trim. You get luxurious Nappa leather upholstery, Bowers & Wilkins 15-speaker surround sound system, panoramic sunroof and more. More power, more luxurious and more spacious? Sounds like a bargain to me!
3. Audi A5 Sportback 2.0L Quattro, RM 339,900
If you admire the A35 Sedan for its style rather than outright power, you might want to take a look at the A5 Sportback. Its sharp exterior is bound to catch the same amount of attention as the A35.
There’s also no denying that the A5 Sport back has a much pleasant cabin as Audi is the best in the business when it comes to fit and finishes. Plus, your rear passengers will also appreciate the roomier cabin in the Audi compared to the Merc.
Although you also get a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo, 7-speed dual-clutch and Quattro AWD, the A5 Sportback does not pack the same punch as the A35. With only 252 PS and 370 Nm of torque, the A5 Sportback makes the century sprint in 6 seconds flat with a top speed of 250 km/h.
4. Volkswagen Golf R 2.0L, RM308,220
For years, the Golf R has overstretched itself by being compared to the W176 A45 when it shouldn’t. With its 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo pushing out 290 PS and 380 Nm, being compared to the A35 is more of a fair fight.
For RM 40k less, you still get a 7-speed dual-clutch (DSG) and AWD (4MOTION) which results in a century sprint time of 5.1 seconds and 250 km/h top speed. It is also very understated as the A35 and you can get as equally comfortable in the Golf R.
Yes, we know that the Golf R is a competitor to the A35 hatchback, but that model is not available to the local market just yet.
The only front-wheel-drive model in the list and there is a good reason for it. The Type R’s 2.0-litre pumps out similar figures as the A35 at 310 PS and 400 Nm of torque.
Despite only being front-wheel drive, the Type R makes up for it with an honest, close-ratio 6-speed manual for the enthusiast. At 5.8 seconds, the Honda is a full second slower than the Merc to the 100 km/h mark but given enough runway, the Type R’s speedo will read 272 km/h.
The A35 Sedan sets the tone for MBM’s next-generation AMG compact models – it’s going to be pricey. With the entry-level AMG priced at RM 348,888, it would only mean that the full-blown A45/A45 S would cost upwards of RM 400k.
All things considered (and if money is no issue), while I am smitten by how the Mercedes-AMG A35 4MATIC sedan looks, my pick would be the Volvo XC60 T8 Inscription Plus. The instant torque from the electric motors is plenty of fun and the features make it a fantastic place to be in. Overall a better package for the family.