The entry-level AMG is ready to fight VW's Golf R and Audi's S3.
Mercedes-AMG is ready to spice up the hot hatch game with the A35 4Matic, a feisty compact five-door model set to become the entry point into the Affalterbach family. With aero flicks up front and a big rear wing at the back, it looks substantially more aggressive than the lesser A-Class models. The diffuser insert flanked by two round exhaust tips give the car a meaner attitude that’ll only be surpassed by the A45 and A45 S models.
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At the heart of the first-ever A35 is a newly developed turbocharged 2.0-litre engine producing 302 bhp from 5,800 rpm and a maximum torque of 295 pound-feet accessible from 3,000 rpm. Output is channelled to both axles through a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission linking the engine to the 4Matic fully variable all-wheel-drive system.
Thanks to the punchy setup, Mercedes says the new member of the family needs 4.7 seconds from zero to 62 mph and can top out at 155 mph, although that’s actually electronically limited.
With great power comes great responsibility, which is why the engineers have fitted the A35 with beefy 350-mm front and 330-mm rear disc brakes. These ventilated and perforated discs are hugged by silver brake callipers adorned by the black “AMG” lettering to make the car stand out from the regular version of the new A-Class.
There’s more to the A35 than its powerful engine and larger brakes as Mercedes-AMG has also made some changes to the bodyshell to boost torsional stiffness while the aforementioned DCT 7G has different gear ratios for better throttle response. In addition, the all-paw setup varies from a FWD-only configuration to an even 50:50 distribution between the front and rear axle.
The A35 is loaded with the same tech you’ll find in the normal A-Class variants, plus some model-specific goodies. For example, there’s a new “Slippery” driving mode, which as the name suggests, has been developed for slippery road conditions by reducing power and offering a flat torque curve to increase the car’s stability. It also changes gears smoother and upshifts earlier, while the start/stop system also comes to aid the driver. The “Slippery” mode is joined by four other selectable modes: “Comfort,” “Sport,” “Sport+” and “Individual.”
Mercedes-AMG will have the new A35 4Matic on display starting October 2 at the 2018 Paris Motor Show and will begin to take orders later the same month. Customer deliveries in Western Europe are programmed to kick off in January 2019.