► New Mercedes-AMG A35 hot hatch
► 302bhp and 295lb ft of torque
► Here spring 2019, costs £35,580
Hot-hatch warfare has just got a little bit tougher. The new Mercedes-Benz A35 hot hatch is due to arrive in UK dealerships in spring 2019 and the price has now been confirmed: the A-Class pocket rocket will cost from £35,580.
The regular Mercedes A-Class family was released earlier in 2018, and right on cue the hotter A35 AMG version of the tech-infused hatchback made its debut at the Paris motor show in October 2018. Featuring a 2.0-litre four-cylinder powerplant with forced induction, the Affalterbach-fettled A-Class will push out 302bhp and 295lb ft of torque through Benz’s 4Matic four-wheel drive system.
See our Mercedes-AMG A35 video below
Popping a firecracker four-cylinder turbo into the A35 means a sub-five second 0-60mph time of just 4.7 seconds – that’s over a second quicker than our Civic Type R long-termer, and the same as a current Focus RS.
This is the halfway house AMG model; expect a full-fat A45 model to follow suit. Daimler is slowly but surely doubling its performance range, with 53 models alongside 63s higher up the showroom ladder. The smaller cars will now follow the 35 and 45 route.
‘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 A 45,’ said Tobias Moers, CEO of Mercedes-AMG at the Paris motor show (above).
New Mercedes-AMG A35: what you get
The new A35 hot hatch uses the current A-Class as a base, but adds some eye-catching aerodynamic furniture. That means a few extra skirts on the front and rear bumpers, some DTM-style fins on the car’s front corners – and a rather large wing and diffuser affixed to the rear end.
UK buyers can pick the optional AMG Style package for £2595. This includes the AMG Aerodynamics package with a rear wing in high-gloss black, a rear diffuser in high-gloss black, front apron with larger splitter and additional flics in high-gloss black - as well as the AMG Night package, 19-inch AMG multi-spoke alloy wheels and heat-insulating dark-tinted glass. The full gangsta spec, in other words.
Standard equipment on the Merc A35 includes:
- MBUX 'Hey Mercedes' infotainment
- Upgraded brakes
- Dynamic Select with five driving modes
- Keyless go ignition
- Two-zone climate control
- Seven-inch touchscreen and hard disc sat-nav
Here's our guide to the 2018 Paris motor show
Round the front, double louvres help mark out the A35 as an AMG special – and the whole thing will sit on purposeful 18-inch twin-spoke alloys.
AMG chief Moers added: ‘this is an all-new car, and not a single part of its engineering over the original A-Class has been left untouched.’
What’s the performance spec?
Alongside the extra aero, AMG has also stiffened the already solid front end of the A-Class hatchback to increase turn-in capability: you’ll find two diagonal braces and a shear panel toward the front of the car to give the car a little more poise.
The A35 uses a MacPherson strut suspension at the front, and AMG claims trick front-axle geometry should reduce shimmies through the steering wheel under full power – just like the Honda Civic Type R. The rear end uses a four-link rear axle, and the same bearings as the A45 4Matic.
Steering is taken care of by a speed-sensitive variable rack, and depending on the modes you’re in – which we’ll get to later – it’ll be heavier or lighter in assistance. AMG has added four-piston monoblock callipers and 350mm brake discs to stop the thing.
Tell me about the A35 AMG's engine...
The A35 gets its power from a fire-breathing 2.0-litre four-cylinder block, with a turbo stuck on the side – but no EQ hybrid help in this instance.
The hottest A-Class of this generation uses a twin-scroll turbo, and Mercedes says each scroll will be fed by two cylinders each for extra efficiency. Mercedes’ Camtronic tech and conical cylinder housings reduce friction, too. They've paired it to a seven-speed DCT twin-clutch 'box, and a sports exhuast system means it should sound good. The 0-60mph sprint is rated at 4.7 seconds while there's a limited top speed of 155mph.
Slippery: a new driver mode!
Like other AMG models, you’ll be able to dial up the performance depending on how you’re feeling: there’s Slippery, Comfort, Sport and Sport+ modes to choose from. As you’d expect, Sport+ features double-declutching on downshifts, and a partial cylinder cut-off for that on-trend ‘serious chest-infection’ exhaust bark. There’s no Eco stop/start mode in Sport+, whereas Comfort mode will give you smoothing early shifts and that eco-friendly engine-cut off when the car is stationary.
The other modes will do exactly what they usually do in an AMG car, but the Slippery mode is new for the A35 and will give you a flattened torque curve in low-grip conditions.
About that four-wheel drive…
AMG says the A35 can switch from fully front-wheel drive to 50:50 power distribution, but that means no drift mode or RWD antics. A multi-disc clutch in the rear axle does the switching, and it’ll change depending on which driving mode you’ve selected.
Interior and tech: the A-Class creature comforts
Inside, the A35 is pretty much an A-Class with extra buttons for the car’s various driving modes – and a choice of sportier eye-catching interior themes. The standard car’s huge double touchscreens with MBUX return, and the A35 carries all the driving assistance toys we've already seen on the regular hatch.
The techfest continues on the steering wheel, because along with the infotainment controls, the A35’s wheel also features an optional Porsche-style rotary dial for toggling through the car's drive settings – and it even has a small screen. That means you can technically change the car’s characteristics from corner-to-corner, Lewis Hamilton-style.
There’s also an option of a further two programmable buttons that drivers can customise with pre-defined handling settings – though Mercedes says this feature might not come to the UK. It’s unclear if the drive select mode is confirmed for the the UK, too, but we’re hoping it is…
The driver cockpit remains unchanged, though there’s now an extra Supersport UI, with a dominant, central rev-counter. There’s also a track-focused AMG-Pace data-logger with 3D circuit maps available as an option, though that’s 100% not coming to British shores – blame Brexit, or something.
We’ll see the new A35 in person at the Paris motor show in a few weeks' time, and the car should arrive in the UK early in 2019 – but there’s no word yet on an EQ-Boost powered version. We’ll update this article with UK prices, kerbweight and more specs just as soon as we have them.
Where does that leave the Mercedes-AMG A45?
Well, it’s coming, and Moers has confirmed that this will be a step change over the outgoing A45. Although he wouldn’t say too much about its performance or power, he said: ‘it’s coming in 2019, and will have four-hundred and something horsepower.’
He added that although the A35 is faster than the old A45 on a British B-road, next year’s car is going to be something else entirely.
Bring on the Audi S3, Ford Focus RS and new Type R…
Mercedes-AMG A45 review