Many things have set Mercedes-Benz apart from other automakers over its lengthy history (the first Mercedes-Benz branded cars were built in 1926, and the roots go all the way back to the Benz Patent Motor Car in 1886), but what sets them apart today is the number of ways you can equip a given car.
Take Mercedes' entry-level sedan, the A220. It's a very nice premium compact car (I said as much in my review three weeks ago). It has a 188-horsepower engine. Let's say you think that's insufficient. A lot of carmakers only offer one engine per model. But Mercedes allows you to dial up the power through its AMG line.
The Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA35 4MATIC is essentially a coupe-roofed variant of the A220 Sedan. But it has a 302 horsepower engine. That cuts the 7.1 seconds the A220 takes to get to 60 miles an hour down to about 4.5 seconds.
Under the hood of the CLA35 is an AMG-enhanced 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder putting out 302 horsepower and 295 pounds per foot of torque. The 4MATIC in the name says that the car is all-wheel drive.
A seven-speed AMG SPEEDSHIFT dual-clutch automatic transmission handles the gear changes, and the car's been treated to AMG Dynamic Select drive modes and to an AMG sport suspension.
That extra performance comes with very little in the way of a fuel economy penalty around town compared to the A220. 24 city drops to 23. There's a bigger dip in highway mileage, 36 to 29. Still, we're talking about almost 30 miles per gallon highway in a serious performance coupe.
As with the A220, rear seat room is a bit tight. What's shown above is the front passenger seat all the way back and the driver's seat set for my five-eleven frame.
The base price of the 2020 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA35 4MATIC is $46,900. The window sticker is at the end of this review so you can see the full list, but standard equipment includes a panorama sunroof, a 10.25-inch touchscreen display and 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, rain-sensing windshield wipers and dual-zone automatic climate control.
As always, with premium German cars, the sticker shock comes with the extra-cost options.
Again, the window sticker is at the bottom, but the big-ticket extras on our tester were $3,390 for the AMG Performance Seat Package Advanced, $2,250 for the Driver Assistance Package, $1,450 for the Titanium Grey and Black leather interior, $1,150 for the Multimedia Package, $1,100 for a head-up display, and $1,030 for heated and ventilated front seats.
With $995 destination and delivery, the as-tested price of the 2020 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA35 4MATIC is $64,755. No, not cheap. But in line with similar cars of similar quality and similar performance. You get what you pay for and the CLA35 4MATIC will never leave you feeling shortchanged.