New Mercedes-AMG A35 vs BMW M140i

AMG’s newest model comes with 302bhp,
New Mercedes-AMG A35 vs BMW M140i
If you’re travelling between Devon and Hampshire, which conveniently links the two. Hang on, hang on: before you start thinking we’ve gone to DEFCON Boring and turn the page, the new Mercedes-AMG A35.

The A35 is the brand’s new ‘budget’ performance model, but it follows the A45 formula in other ways, with its standard four-wheel drive and seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.

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What, then, do we put it up against? Well, at £35,580, something with a similarly premium badge seemed a more fitting match. That left BMW’s M140i as the obvious choice.

0-Litre straight six seems more fitting for a thoroughbred sports car than a hot hatchback. We’re not complaining, though, because together with its rear-wheel drive layout,

Then, but which is better?

BMW M140i

BMW M140i
Performance, ride, handling, refinement
Crikey, these are quick cars. Granted, but in the 0-60mph dash - that time-honoured ‘starter for 10’ asked of every warm hatchback - both produced blistering times. Helped by the fact that all four of its wheels are on call to put its power down. Nor do you need much skill to make that time happen; simply activate launch control, Job done.

The M140i needs a even more sympathetic approach. When you pull the pin, instead of extreme forward motion, you get mostly wheelspin. We managed to set our best time without it, feeding in its power smoothly and only giving it full beans once it was rolling above 30mph or so.

That said, The fact is that, while the A35 is quick by most standards, the M140i feels even more ferocious. Which reflects overtaking ability, is substantially quicker.

Too. Sonorous tune,

Mercedes-AMG A35
It simply leaves you hanging, although those changes are somewhat slurred;

but the A35 is a fine thing to travel, better traction out of corners and, on standard passive suspension (adaptive dampers are a £695 option), fine control of body movements along uneven roads.

The steering is rather slow but weights up as you apply lock to foster a reasonable sense of what the front tyres are doing, so all in all the A35 is a breeze to drive swiftly along a tortuous back road. But while there are some handling nuances to discover - it’ll trim its line into a corner if you lift off the accelerator and will shift drive front to rear to help stop it from running wide on the way out - it’s more staccato than fluid. There’s no denying its effectiveness, but it’s hardly effervescent.

The M140i is just the opposite. It feels less hunkered down as a result, often still recovering from the first bump as you encounter the next. Leaving you somewhat betwixt and between.

The M140i initially feels more eager to turn in to corners, thanks to its quicker and more precise steering, but without the well-judged heft of the A35’s wheel, it’s far from perfect. Despite all this, though, deep down the M140i is a proper driver’s car. This is not a point-and-squirt job like the A35; instead, it requires you to think hard about your accelerator and steering inputs and concentrate on finding the groove. When you perform, the dopamine hits are higher.
Mercedes-AMG A35
The rest of the time, when you just want to relax, but as the A35 is certainly firmer, too, mainly because it generates less wind noise, although both vehicles, riding on relatively big wheels, suffer from some tyre roar.

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