Mercedes-AMG has revealed UK specs of the incoming A35 AMG with prices kicking off at £35,580, around £300 less than the Audi S3 Sportback and BMW M140i, and only a few hundred pounds more than a Volkswagen Golf R. AMG’s new hot hatch is available to order now and will reach customers in the spring next year.
In typical style, the A35 will be available with a selection of option packages, the most dramatic of which is the AMG style pack, adding a high-mounted rear wing, larger front splitter, dive planes and larger 19-inch wheels (18-inch items are standard). Various tech packs, upgrading the A-class’ infotainment systems and stereo systems are also available.
Subscribe to evo magazine
The A35 fills a gap in the line-up between the VW Golf GTI-rivalling A250 and the forthcoming A45 flagship, due in 2019. Packing a 302bhp turbocharged engine and four-wheel drive, the A35 is claimed to crack 0-62mph in 4.7sec and top out at an electronically limited 155mph.
As seen in these pictures, the design of the A35 is predictably familiar, adding the usual array of subtle AMG design cues to the new A-class’ distinctive body. Changes at the front include a redesigned front apron and grille with AMG’s distinctive double-bar design. The rear apron is also familiar, but with new exhaust tips and an AMG badge on the tailgate. Also obvious in this new model is this car’s stacked rear wing and front bumper-mounted dive planes, both of which will likely be available on an optional aero package, much like the current A45.
It’s under the skin where the real interest lies, because the A35 was developed in parallel with the even more powerful A45, meaning both cars share similar components. Crucially, it also means the A35 was engineered with the same eye on driver involvement as other AMG products. For instance, the bodyshell has been stiffened for greater handling precision, with a pair of diagonal braces and a ‘shear panel’ aluminium plate underneath the engine adding valuable torsional rigidity.
At the heart of the new car is a tuned version of Mercedes’ M260 2-litre four-cylinder engine, which features a twin-scroll turbocharger to deliver 302bhp and 295lb ft. Already seen on the A250 it features a lightweight cast aluminium block, variable valve-timing and Mercedes’ Conicshape cylinders that claim to reduce friction and boost efficiency. Mated to this is the latest version of the brand’s AMG Speedshift DCT 7G dual-clutch transmission, which features Race Start launch control. A sports exhaust system with active exhaust flap promises a suitably rorty soundtrack when you’re working the engine hard.
As with its rivals, the A35 features a sophisticated electronically controlled four-wheel drive system. Dubbed AMG Performance 4Matic the system runs in front-wheel drive most of the time, but can send up to 50 per cent of the engine’s torque to the rear axle if conditions demand. Linked to the various driving modes (Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual) the transmission’s characteristics can be subtly altered to create sharper handling by moving torque more quickly or for longer periods to the rear wheels. As you’d expect the driver modes also have an effect on steering weight, throttle response, gearshift strategies and the stiffness of the three stage adaptive dampers.
Bundled into all these settings is what Mercedes calls its AMG Dynamics system. Essentially a two stage system (Basic, which covers Slippery and Comfort modes; and Advanced, which operates in Sport and Sport+) the new set-up uses the ESP system to influence the car’s rate of yaw on turn-in, so in Advanced it more heavily brakes an inside wheel, meaning a quicker initial response to steering inputs for more agile handling. It works in unison with the variable ratio electrically assisted steering that can be tuned for faster responses via the various driver modes.
To highlight what a serious performance car is, the AMG is available with an optional Track Pace data logger. The GPS unit records up to 80 different performance parameters and features a number of built-in track maps, including the Nürburgring and Spa Francochamps – although you can upload your own circuits. Not only can you download the data to analyse, the system will provide real-time information allowing you to determine whether you’re improving on previous laps by flashing green or red sector information that easily identifies when you’re faster or slower.
Inside the A35 benefits from the same slick-styled and technologically advanced features as the standard A-Class. That means ahead of the driver is the TFT dial pack, which on the A35 features three bespoke AMG instrument layouts. Also included are the latest AMG steering wheel and some heavily bolstered seats. There’s also a wide screen infotainment screen set into the centre of the dashboard that houses Mercedes’ MBUX architecture that allows you to use the voice command ‘Hey Mercedes’ to access various car functions and information.