Just a few short years ago, the Mercedes-AMG A45 presented a new entry point into the AMG range – but prices have skyrocketed since then, and there’s always been a gap in the A-Class line-up – the A250 was targeted at the Golf GTI, and the A45 aimed at the RS3, but there was no rival from Affalterbach to the Audi S3, Golf R, and BMW M140i. With the latest generation A-Class, Mercedes-AMG has plugged the gap and given us the cheapest Mercedes-AMG model in the range. Here to fight the Golf R, the new baby-AMG has been given the Mercedes-AMG A35 moniker.
Based off the latest A-Class platform, the Mercedes-AMG A35 is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder developing 225kW from 5800-6100r/min and 400Nm worth of torque from 3000-4000r/min. Like big brother, the AMG A45, the A35 send power to all four corners via a 4MATIC all-wheel drive system that can send up to 50% of the torque to the rear wheels. Paired with an AMG Speedshift 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, the Mercedes-AMG A35 completes the 0-100km/h sprint in just 4.7 seconds – the Audi S3 completes it 0.1 seconds quicker – before topping out at an electronically limited 250km/h.
But despite being the little sibling to the forthcoming AMG A45, it’s a fully-fledged AMG model – bearing with it all the bells and whistles that entails. The soundtrack is taken care of by an AMG exhaust system, with automatically controlled flaps that open based on drive modes for more noise. With the dual-clutch system and Affalterbach’s mad scientists behind the scenes, flatulence on upshifts is guaranteed.
Five driving modes are available through the AMG Dynamic Select program on the Mercedes-AMG A35, “Slippery”, “Comfort”, “Sport”, “Sport +”, and the fully customizable “Individual”. These are paired up with two driving modes for the all-wheel drive system, “Comfort” and “Sport”.
Handling wise, the Mercedes-AMG A35 doesn’t receive a mechanical or electronic differential, but rather makes use of brake-based torque vectoring to sharpen turn-in and mitigate understeer. Further improving the handling dynamics is a speed-sensitive electro-mechanical power steering setup with a variable transmission ratio on the rack that reduces steering angle required and supposedly increases feedback.
On the suspension front, the AMG A35 features a McPherson strut setup up front with a single-wishbone below the wheel centre and a 4-link rear axle. Adaptive damping is optionally available which enables automatic selection between three different drive modes for different surfaces and driving styles stiffening and relaxing the dampers to enhance either comfort or sporty handling.
Braking capabilities are handled by the high-performance brake system – the same in size as the previous generation A45. Up front, 4-piston Monoblock fixed callipers are fitted with 350mm diameter brake discs. The rear discs are 330mm in diameter with 1-piston sliding callipers. All discs are internally ventilated and perforated for better heat dissipation and top prevent brake fade – something that plagued the last generation of AMG A45.
The junior AMG gets the full AMG interior treatment, complete with red contrast stitching on the leather and microfiber sport seats, red piping, and red accents on the air vent nozzles. Like the standard A-Class range, the Mercedes-AMG A35 gets Mercedes’ new AI-equipped MBUX smart infotainment system (“Hey Mercedes,” ring a bell?), including the dual-widescreen displays housing both infotainment and the digital instrument cluster. These displays can be customized for AMG-specific uses, with the ‘Supersport’ theme displaying the tachometer large and central, and additional displays including G-force readings and engine data displays. AMG displays are also available through several programs, including the AMG Track Pace app – available as an option – that records more than 80 metrics while driving on a race track, including lap times, speed, acceleration, ¼ mile times, and more.
The Mercedes-AMG A35 will celebrate its world debut at the Paris Motor Show in October, with sales set to kick off in Europe in January 2019. Expect the local launch of the A35 before the middle of 2019.