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Paris show: Mercedes-AMG outs A35 hot hatch

225kW/400Nm all-paw Mercedes-AMG A35 hot hatch to be brand’s new entry point

19 Sep 2018

MERCEDES-AMG has revealed its first-ever A35 4Matic hot hatch, which will be the most-affordable Affalterbach-tuned model in Australia when it touches down on local soil in the second half of 2019.
Set to make its public debut at next month’s Paris motor show and slotting below the yet-to-be-revealed A45 flagship, the A35 is powered by the same twin-scroll turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine found in the new-generation A220 and A250, but is tuned to 225kW of power and 400Nm of torque.
Sending drive to all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (dubbed AMG Speedshift DCT 7G), the A35 will sprint from zero to 100km/h in just 4.7 seconds – 0.1s quicker than its Audi S3 rival, but 0.1s slower than the six-cylinder-powered BMW M140i.
For comparison, the all-paw Audi S3 develops 213kW/380Nm from a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine, while the rear-drive BMW M140i outputs 250kW/500Nm from a turbocharged 3.0 in-line six cylinder.
The Mercedes will also sport a Race-Start launch control function for consistent acceleration times, but the transmission also features a manual mode for those that like to do-it-yourself via the steering wheel-mounted shift paddles.
However, fuel economy will likely take a hit after excessive Race-Start use as the A35 returns between 7.3-7.4 litres per 100km, while carbon dioxide emissions are pegged at 167-169 grams per kilometre.
With Mercedes’ 4Matic all-wheel-drive system in place, the A35 can vary its torque distribution from front-wheel drive up to a 50:50 axle split depending on driving conditions, which is handled by an electro-mechanical multi-disc clutch found on the rear axle.
Front-end rigidity has been increased thanks to the fitment of an aluminium panel under the engine and two diagonal underbody braces, while strengthened front-section bodywork is also featured for increased stiffness and sharper turn-in.
Five AMG Dynamic Select driving modes are offered, including Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual, which alter engine response, transmission, steering and exhaust settings appropriately, but a new Slippery mode is designed for greasy road conditions with reduced power, a flatter torque curve and earlier upshifts. 
New to the A35 is the AMG Dynamics system that can unperceivably brake the inside wheel during cornering for tighter turn-in and more precise steering, according to Mercedes.
AMG Dynamics will also have two settings, Basic for Slippery and Comfort drive modes, and Advanced for Sport and Sport+, which changes cornering characteristics. Either setting can be applied to the Individual drive mode.
Suspension is handled by a McPherson strut front axle and multi-link rear end, but the A35 gains an AMG-specific front steering knuckle to improve steering feel and reduce understeer, but buyers can also option in adaptive dampers with three different modes selectable from the AMG Dynamic Select menu.
Bringing the A35 to a stop are four-piston AMG callipers biting onto 350mm ventilated and perforated discs up front, and single-piston grabbers with 330mm ventilated and perforated discs in the rear – the same size stoppers as its A45 sibling. 
Differentiating itself from the standard A-Class range, the A35 features a twin-louvre front grille, 18-inch wheels, sporty bodykit, prominent rear diffuser, dual exhaust outlets and, with the AMG Line pack fitted, enlarged front splitter, front bumper canards and attention-grabbing roof-mounted rear spoiler.
Inside, the A35 sports Artico artificial leather and Dinamica micro-fibre seats with contrast stitching and red seat belts, while the voice-controlled Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system carries over from the A-Class.
With fully-digital instrumentation, A35 drivers can chose between three different AMG displays that also show G-force and engine data as well as the usual driving information.
Also available as an option is the AMG Track Pace that is billed as data-logging software to record vehicle-specific information to improve track times.
However, the AMG Track Pace pack can also use MBUX’s augmented reality functions to overlay the race line on the head-up display on well-known circuits such as the Nurburgring and Spa Francorchamps.
Mercedes says the A35 has been developed in parallel to the upcoming A45 flagship, which is rumoured to pack more than a 300kW punch, but details are currently unknown.
Also unknown at this time is pricing, but with the outgoing A45 flagship costing $78,240 before on-roads, the new A35 will likely be priced around the $60,000-$65,000 mark to compete directly against the $63,900 Audi S3 and $59,990 BMW M140i.
Mercedes-AMG CEO Tobias Moers said the A35 was born out of the success of the first A45 hyper hatch.
“With the introduction of the A45 in 2012, we presented a real benchmark in the compact segment,” he said. “The demand for our compact model has developed very dynamically in recent years.
“This success has encouraged us to further expand our portfolio and place it on broader footing. With the new A35, we are fulfilling our brand promise of driving performance in every detail and offering thrilling lateral dynamics at the level of today’s A45.”

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