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Merc's AMG A35 L is a stretched hot hatch you won’t drive

It's a booted AMG hatch with more rear legroom, for lucky Chinese chauffeurs

Hot hatchbacks: fun to drive, not very comfortable.

Stretch limousines: nice to lounge about in, not ideal at the Nürburgring.

And yet, the engineering might of AMG has attempted to combine this pair of disagreeing elements to create this piece of niche bingo. The Mercedes-AMG A35 L 4Matic. A four-wheel drive hot hatch, with a saloon boot, stretched for more rear seat legroom.

For goodness’ sake, Mercedes. The world already makes very little sense in 2019, and you come out with stuff like this? Our poor tiny minds boggle.

Let’s pick this one apart for you. In China, the height of good taste and “I’m doing rather well for myself, thanks very much” is to pay another person to drive you around – in your own car. Like a taxi, but cleaner inside.

That means that in China, lots of car companies have cottoned onto the fact there’s big demand for even relatively small, cheaper cars to be sold with a longer body, so the owner can recline in the back while the vulgar business of steering and pedal-pushing is done by the obedient chauffeur up front.

So, other long-wheelbase Chinese market cars include l-o-n-g versions of the BMW X1, Audi A3, and Jaguar XE. Because not every Chinese motorist can afford an X7, A8, or XJ, but they can afford a driver.

And so, if you really want to show off, you might want a miniature Mercedes with a 300bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, a seven-speed DCT gearbox, good for 0-62mph in 4.9secs and a top speed limited to 155mph. And along with all of that, another 60mm squeezed into the wheelbase.

Seems weird, right? In the back, you’re never going to get to hurl your grippy, aggressive sports saloon down a decent road, if such a thing exists in China. You’re also relegated far away from the A-class’s techno-encrusted cabin, with its many screens and gadgets.

But, if you want the most expensive version of the cheapest Mercedes, to sit in but never to drive, and you live in China, then here you go.

Anyone else need a darkened room to lie down in?

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