Home » Someone Snuck A Canadian Mercedes-AMG A35 Hatchback Across The Border And It’s Now For Sale In America

Someone Snuck A Canadian Mercedes-AMG A35 Hatchback Across The Border And It’s Now For Sale In America

Mercedes-AMG A35 Topshot

The Mercedes-Benz A220 sedan sold in America isn’t often an object of desire for car enthusiasts. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a perfectly nice car, but it doesn’t exactly make you want to mortgage your dog to afford the payments. However, Canada gets the much more practical A-Class hatchback, and even gets it in moderately spicy Mercedes-AMG A35 trim. Sounds great, yeah? Alas, the A-Class hatchback was never sold in the U.S., which means it’s locked away behind a border of maple syrup and angry geese until it’s free of the 25-year law. Or so we thought. It turns out that somehow, someone has brought an A35 hatchback into the U.S. and it’s now up for sale. Let’s take a look.

Mercedes-AMG A35 6

You want red flags? This car’s got them. For starters, any Canadian-market car newer than 25 years old should require a letter of compliance for American importation. Mercedes is a little bit tight with supplying these letters and won’t supply one for an A-Class hatchback, as the bodystyle hasn’t been homologated for U.S. sale. Then, there’s the registration in Montana despite residing in Dallas. No tax avoidance here, officer. Finally, the car has a hit on its Carfax. Minor front end damage reportedly occurred in 2021, and I’m wondering if that has something to do with the A45 grille. Hmm.

left front three quarters

Slight dodginess aside, the Mercedes-AMG A35 hatchback is a vehicle worth experiencing because it is so damn good. While it isn’t a manic sideways hooligan machine, if you find the CLA45 a bit laggy and expensive, the A35 should tick all the right boxes.

Mercedes-AMG A35 engine

Minimal turbo lag gives way to a tractable powerband and a soundtrack of hilarious blow-off valve noises. When I drove the AMG A35, I found the seven-speed DCT to be snappy and confident, and the whole powertrain to be just fun. What’s more, the rest of the car matches up with this. Well-weighted steering and quick-acting all-wheel-drive offer front-end confidence, while brake bite is firm yet progressive. It’s definitely not as stimulating as the full-bore 45-series AMG models, but it shows more soul than a Volkswagen Golf R.

Mercedes-AMG A35 3

Plus, the A35 is better value than an American Golf R. The Merc starts at $55,597.13 Canadian including freight, PDI, and various fees, and you get virtually no features at all for that price. Add metallic paint, the AMG Driver’s Package with 19-inch wheels for its adaptive dampers, the Burmester stereo (a steal at $400 Canadian), and the Premium Package for Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, keyless-go and blind-spot monitoring, and you’re looking at a bill of $62,987.13 Canadian. That’s around $47,029 in real dollars, just $394 more than a DSG-equipped Golf R.

interior

This particular Mercedes-AMG A35 isn’t quite stock, rocking an A45 grille, an Eventuri intake, and an Armytrix catless downpipe. Believe it or not, the wing and canards came on the car from the factory as part of the AMG Aerodynamics Package. How unusually antisocial. The rest of the spec is quite good, with Denim Blue paint gleaming and grippy Alcantara seat inserts on deck. While I’d like to see AMG’s optional performance seats on this particular A35, we can’t always get what we want.

rear side

If you’re willing to risk it for the biscuit, you can find this oddball being auctioned off on The MB Market. Mind you, I wouldn’t expect this exact Mercedes-AMG A35 to be stellar value. With a full week of bidding to go, a current high bid of $27,500, and incredible exclusivity until the model turns 25, I have a feeling that daring collectors will be all over this thing.

(Photo credits: The MB Market)

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34 Responses

  1. I must live in the wrong country. Anything remotely cool seems to specifically never come here.

    Ford Troller manual diesel off-roader.
    Evolution FQ series 440bhp 2.0.
    Suzuki Samurai newer models.
    S10 High Country 2.8 diesel.
    Ford Ka/Fiesta TCDi manual diesels.
    VW AWD Jetta MK4 Manual TDI.
    Renault Alpine CarbonFiber tub.
    Honda Kei sports cars.
    Suzuki Swift Turbo.
    VW XL1 360mpg prototypes.
    Audi A3 manual TDIs.
    Mazda Skyactive Diesels (we got 1 year auto only)

    This countries automotive choices suck.

  2. I like the A and B classes more than I should.

    Not surprising they get pissy about bringing a Candian car to the US, since MB is the one that lobbied for that stupid 25-year shit in the first place 🙁

    If we just honored the international UNECE standards, this whole thing would be moot. For example, Mexico accepts both US and UNECE standards.

    That said, you might be able to just drive it across the border and register it in the US in your state when you buy it. The feds probably don’t care all that much and might just make you pay a fine and back taxes and shit. They might care more about high-dollar sports cars and exotics, Skylines, where the taxes and duties alone are thousands or more.

    1. You can’t just drive it across and register it. Canada doesn’t use titles for vehicles, and you’ll have to jump through importation hoops somewhere to get a title and into a State’s system.

      1. Torch or someone here wrote about the one state with the loophole….

        You can remote mail to get titles for vehicles that are otherwise untitleable.

      2. Where in Canada?
        Ontario where I am sure as heck does in the form of the Vehicle Permit.
        That can be used to trace the vehicles history and will show if the vehicle is fit and has any “Brands” such as “rebuilt” or “salvage” on it.

          1. What does a typical state title look like?

            The Vehicle Permit is required to transfer the vehicle, it has the VIN, make, model and color of the vehicle, contains the Name and Address of the Owner and has a section that requires Signature for Ownership for transfer. IANAL but it sure looks like a title to me, it is not just a plate document and has legal precedence over a bill of sale.

    2. This car is destined for the crusher.
      They’ve managed to drive around illegally registered for a bit, but changing hands is going to bring more scrutiny and the end is likely near. In general states are on the lookout more for Montana plates now that it’s pretty common knowledge what people are doing.
      Kind of a sidetrack, but my trash neighbors rolling 2 sets of Montana plates on their new rides got caught recently. I’m curious what it cost them.

      1. It *was* imported legally and *is* legal to drive here. Check the MB Marketplace link provided in the article. It was imported legally and even has a customs form CBP 7501 the final approval. The seller provides all that information.

        https://thembmarket.com/2020-mercedes-amg-a35-hatchback

        The seller provides the VIN to run a Carfax on it:
        https://thembmarket.com/uploads/listings/amge63swagon/a35amg/listing-pics/amga35-116.jpeg

        It should show up on the Carfax that it was imported legally, just like the Orlando that Autopian featured last year.

        There is even an emissions label on the car too:
        https://thembmarket.com/uploads/listings/amge63swagon/a35amg/listing-pics/amga35-120.jpeg

    3. I have no doubt most states would register it without a second glance, but the feds definitely do care and would seize it as soon as they find out where it is and have a free slot in the schedule

  3. Maybe an enthusiastic collector will buy this. But that’s unlikely. Collectors are usually pretty savvy about what they collect, or hire people who are.

    It’s infinitely more likely to be bought by a naive AMG stan who is going to get badly burned when they go try to register the damned thing. Especially now that the proverbial cat is out of the bag. BMV workers read automotive websites, too.

    I predict that this will be going back to Canada on the cheap soon, after setting fire to another automotive optimist’s wallet.

    1. It’s in Dallas now, so it might wander further south to Mexico.

      Hell, if you live in the SW US, buy it, register it in Mexico, and drive it at will. Although anyone with a skin tone darker than Irishman-on-a-tropical-holiday may want to avoid this suggestion due to risk of INS/Border Patrol harassment.

  4. Please don’t post these, it’s an illegal car and always will be subject to being seized. Often when that happens it’s on the second or third US owner who gets royally screwed because they didn’t do their homework and didn’t know, and them they’re out a car and thousands of dollars and have no recompense. Posting articles like this will drive more traffic to it and be more likely to encourage further illegal behavior like this.

    1. This article makes the illegality of this car very clear. If anything, articles like this one drive awareness of these types of shenanigans and help to educate those second or third US owners you mention who might otherwise not know any better.

  5. God I love these things. The 35 series AMGs are actually really appealing to me. I personally know that there’s a level of power that I probably shouldn’t be trusted with, and these wind up at a combination of price and performance that’s mighty appealing…not to mention they actually come in cool colors as well.

    Correct me if I’m wrong-but aren’t both the 35 and 45 series cars full AMGs? When I’ve read about them on Mercedes’ official pages the 35s are described as having the same one builder, one engine approach that AMGs have always had. This is obviously more appealing than going with an M Performance line BMW or an S series Audi, IMHO.

    The GLB 35 is definitely on my radar for a few years from now, as the wife will be all over how spacious it is. See dear? I’m being responsible. Anyway, I’d do unspeakable things for an AMG A class hatch but absolutely not this one. This has been ridden hard, put away wet, and has been involved in some dodgy schemes. It’ll be nothing but a headache unless your plan is to stash it away for 25 years.

    1. These small AMG’s have been popular here in Australia since first released (in 2021 30% of total Mercedes sales were AMG) but the A35 does have issues and deficiencies found by many owners, including engine failures.

      Common sense dictates that phenomenally highly boosted engines such as the A35 will not have the same reliability as the many lower boost options available on the market (in Australia at least). That’s before the value equation is taken into account. Mercedes are expensive every day.

      1. It’s not even super tall either. Basically just a slightly raised wagon. You can even equip a kid sized third row from the factory and the second row can fit two adults with a lot of room to spare. It’s got legitimate family hauling chops, hits 60 in the high 4s, and averages mid 20s combined.

        It’s a shockingly useful vehicle. I know enthusiasts bemoan the fact that hot crossovers are a thing but not all of us can make a manual coupe work. Stuff like the GLB35, X3M40i, SQ5, etc. are mighty appealing to enthusiasts that need more space.

  6. This will soon be even more of a North American unicorn. MB is dropping the A-Class entirely (hatch and sedan) in NA. The CLA ‘coupe’-sedan will be the only offering in this space.

  7. These are basically a GLA35/45 without the dopey black wheel trim and a “lift” right? It is too bad M-B thinks every hatch/wagon needs to be “all-terrain” (aka black trim).

    It is a much better looking car, and if it were sold in the U.S. for Golf R money, it’d be tempting. This one, I don’t feel like lighting my money on fire when it gets seized or I can’t register it.

  8. “Mercedes is a little bit tight with supplying these letters and won’t supply one for an A-Class hatchback, as they fear it will cannibalize sales from the more profitable GLA.”

    Don’t forget, folks. The rules are what they are so that the manufacturers can manipulate the grey market. Not for safety, emissions, protection of local jobs, or any “good” reason.

  9. Could this vehicle have been produced in Alabama for import by Mercedes Canada and been a free trade export originally?
    That would add a twist to the legal game.

  10. “Plus, the A35 is better value than an American Golf R. The Merc starts at $55,597.13 Canadian including freight, PDI, and various fees, and you get virtually no features at all for that price. Add metallic paint, the AMG Driver’s Package with 19-inch wheels for its adaptive dampers, the Burmester stereo (a steal at $400 Canadian), and the Premium Package for Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, keyless-go and blind-spot monitoring, and you’re looking at a bill of $62,987.13 Canadian. That’s around $47,029 in real dollars, just $394 more than a DSG-equipped Golf R.”

    In the American market, everything you listed is standard in the R, not add-ons. That’s the nice thing about shopping for an R, your only options are color and transmission, no packages or accessorizing to worry about. This makes it rather unique actually, I can’t think of another model from any other manufacturer that doesn’t have dozens of upgrades, packages, and trim levels to choose from. Just a single, top-tier package. There are certainly other reasons to go for an A35 over an R, but value proposition? Not seeing it.

  11. A used car dealership in the Seattle area is selling several C43 wagons, and obviously, those aren’t technically able to be imported either. I saw one at the local mall with Washington state plates, but I’m pretty sure it was registered as a sedan instead of a wagon.

  12. Eh. Come register it in PA. They give no shits if your wagon is registered as a sedan. Half my Volvo wagons have been registered as sedans in PA and nobody blinked.

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