Mercedes today announced that the A 35 – the AMG performance-tuned version of the A-Class compact – will arrive in Canadian showrooms early next year in sedan and hatchback forms.
The Mercedes-AMG A 35 will join an A-Class model range that currently comprises the A 220 sedan and A 250 hatchback. The newest member of the family will take the 2.0L turbo four-cylinder from those cars and crank it up to 302 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque.
On paper, that's not a huge power bump compared to the A 250's 221 hp and 258 lb-ft, but Mercedes-AMG says it's enough to cut a huge 1.5 seconds off the A 250's 0-100 km/h acceleration time, for a 4.7-second sprint to triple-digit speeds. (The 4.7-second figure applies to the hatchback; the A 35 sedan is 0.1 seconds slower to 100.)
The A 35 also takes the regular A-Class's seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and adds a launch control function. Both engine and transmission respond to a drive mode selector with slippery, comfort, sport and sport+ settings, plus an individual mode that lets the driver tailor engine and transmission responses to their liking.
All A 35 models get a sport suspension designed to reduce bump steer and cut unsprung weight, and there are also grippier brakes with four-piston front calipers and a variable ratio steering system specific to the A 35 that also responds to the drive mode settings. Among the A 35's options is a ride control suspension with three firmness settings.
Predictably, the A 35 is not just about straight-line speed. It's also differentiated from lesser A-Class models by an AMG Performance version of the Mercedes-Benz 4Matic AWD system. An electro-mechanical clutch pack can vary front:rear torque distribution anywhere from 100:0 to 50:50. That ratio is determined by all sorts of factors, including acceleration, steering angle and cornering forces and differences in speed between individual wheels.
The A 35 gets some AMG-specific styling touches like 18-inch wheels, side sill panels, AMG grille and front apron and rear diffuser insert and twin round tailpipe finishers.
Among the A 35's less sexy touches are structural braces in the car's front clip that increase body stiffness for more precise handling at the car's limits.
The A 35 comes standard with the MBUX voice control and infotainment system, which responds to the "Hey Mercedes" command. It adds AMG-specific display options for the car's digital gauge cluster, and can be optioned with an AMG Track Pace feature designed to help enthusiastic drivers analyze their track-day performance, on screen or on their phones.
Mercedes-AMG has said it will make an even hotter version of the A-Class, dubbed A 45 and boasting "more than 400 hp" from the same 2.0L engine. However, the manufacturer has not revealed when AMG Track Pace –or where – that car will be available.