'Junior' Mercedes-AMG A35 hot hatch rolls into town
Having recently launched the fire-breathing Mercedes-AMG A45 S as SA's fastest hatchback, the German carmaker has followed up with the A35 as a slightly softer high-performance model.
The car's available as a hatchback, sedan and CLA four-door coupe, all sharing the same engine and with power fed via Merc's 4Matic variable all-wheel drive system and an AMG Speedshift DCT 7G dual-clutch transmission.
Though it doesn't reach the lofty heights of the A45's 310kW and 500Nm outputs, the A35's four-cylinder 2-litre petrol turbo engine still cranks out a decent 225kW and 400Nm. That pitches it directly against cars like the VW Golf R, Honda Civic Type R and BMW M135i xDrive.
The factory claims the A35 hatchback will scoot from 0-100km/h in just 4.7 seconds, while the sedan will achieve the feat in 4.8 secs and the CLA in 4.9. All versions are electronically governed to top speeds of 250km/h.
Mercedes-AMG says the A35 offers an attractive entry point into the AMG stable for younger target groups looking for a high level of performance and style. This entry point costs a hefty R841,000 for the A35 hatch, R850,000 for the sedan and R948,000 for the CLA coupe - however that's still a price saving over the full-fat A45 S versions which sell for R1,101,100 (hatch) and R1,211,000 (CLA).
The Mercedes-AMG A35 offers drivers a selection of five driving programmes - Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport + and Individual - which change parameters such as the response of the engine and transmission.
Firmed-up AMG suspension comes standard, but for extra money drivers can opt for an Adaptive Damping System with three different suspension control modes that soften or stiffen the ride.
For owners wishing to take on race tracks, an AMG Track Pace is available as an option. This virtual “race engineer” is integrated in the MBUX multimedia system and records telemetry that allows drivers to analyse their data to help improve their driving skills.
An MBUX Augmented Reality function also allows the ideal line of a stored racetrack to be displayed on the multimedia display or optional head-up display, allowing the driver to improve lap times with a virtual instructor on board.
The motorsport-influenced design of the new range adds characteristic AMG elements like a twin-louvre radiator grille, AMG Line front apron with flics on the air intakes, and a front splitter.
The interior also gets AMG styling treatment, including a choice of three AMG display styles for the optional fully digital instrument cluster. A standard fitment is Mercedes' latest MBUX multimedia system with high-resolution 3D graphics.
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