Step on the gas and the power that propels the compact four-seater will take you by surprise as it hurtles towards the 80 kmph like a racing thoroughbred, never compromising any stability thanks to its rigid chassis and solid 1,600-kg kerb weight that gives it a well-planted feel along straights, corners and tricky lanes and roads, says Pavan Lall.
Call it the race of the small, premium and very fast luxury vehicles.
Mercedes-Benz's latest offering for the Indian market is the A35 limousine and it checks all the boxes, with ease.
Merc's latest car to hit the market is indicative of how Big Auto is reading the tea leaves for new products and changes in the market.
In a world that is increasingly electric and seeing sweeping changes effected by the likes of Tesla and now Nikola, two realities emerge.
One, electric mobility is the future. The second is that cars powered by fossil fuel are not going anywhere. Not just yet.
The A35 AMG, then, plays smartly between those two realities with the creation of a vehicle, which no doubt the engineers at Stuttgart will have configured to scale up to alternate fuel compatibilities as and when required.
Right now, however, the A35 product model is Mercedes-Benz's newest and smallest sedan to arrive on Indian shores.
It comes in three variants that range from around Rs 40 lakh in diesel and petrol to Rs 60 lakh for the petrol AMG version.
The AMG sports models range from Rs 78 lakhs to Rs 2.8 crore (ex-showroom) and so, the new A35 version actually lowers the price threshold for the vaunted AMG cars.
What's the biggest difference between this AMG and others that Mercedes-Benz produces? It's the latest to open up a new segment within the small luxury car market.
BMW, for example, has an M-Package 2 Series sedan, but is yet to launch the car with a sports M engine. The buzz is that it will.
Likewise, Audi has its A3 sedan -- the smallest of its kind -- and it remains to be seen if it will introduce an S or Sports version anytime soon.
In the meantime, the A35 Saloon, with or without the AMG engine, is a car that can be easily driven on a daily basis.
It's also got a back seat that is actually inhabitable and can be used for regular commuting in the city.
Will the A35 cannibalise the C Class? Experts reckon there's always a chance of that happening when an entry level car is introduced, but the A is so different from the C that even if it does happen it's likely to be negligible.
For one, the C Class AMG -- which is the C63 AMG -- is a pure performance car and simply not a vehicle you want to take out for a quick jaunt to the local grocers or gym.
Start the A35 AMG and there's no doubt that this car, irrespective of its size in the family of sedans, is 100 per cent Mercedes-Benz all the way.
From dashboard design to visual display, and leather and suede interiors to other accoutrements, there isn't a single square inch that feels either cheap or tacky.
Burmester speakers, state-of-the art digital and touch screen tech, and trademark silky smooth transmission and acceleration that define Mercedes are all present.
Step on the gas and the power that propels the compact four-seater will take you by surprise as it hurtles towards the 80 kmph like a racing thoroughbred, never compromising any stability thanks to its rigid chassis and solid 1,600-kg kerb weight that gives it a well-planted feel along straights, corners and tricky lanes and roads.
Push it up to around 170 km per hour, which is super-fast for city roads here, and the car doesn't waver for even a split second.
No strain, no whining engine sounds and best of all, the car doesn't feel like it's going to implode.
This is also the second AMG car to be assembled in India and marks the growing focus that Mercedes-Benz has on this market regardless of the ups and downs, regulatory changes and an omnipresent and sometimes irrational competition that manifests itself in the form of peer group discounting.
Will the other German carmakers strike back? Given how close the distance is between the players that compete in this segment, the chances are that will happen in future. But until then, it's first-mover advantage for the A35.
Feature Presentation: Rajesh Alva/Rediff.com