Newest AMG Packs Muscle Into Compact Package

Conceived to offer greater performance potential than the front-wheel-drive A250 but priced below the German performance brand’s A45 4Matic, the launch of the A35 4Matic follows strong global sales of other 4-cyl. AMG models.

Greg Kable

September 19, 2018

4 Min Read
AMG’s A35 4Matic to challenge BMW M140i, Audi S3.
AMG’s A35 4Matic to challenge BMW M140i, Audi S3.

The Mercedes-AMG A35 4Matic will feature a uniquely tuned turbocharged 2.0L engine delivering 302 hp as well as a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox, on-demand all-wheel drive and a stiffened body structure when European deliveries begin later this year.

The new AMG model, planned to make its public debut in early October at the Paris auto show, is positioned between the latest A250 and upcoming second-generation A45 4Matic as a rival to the BMW M140i and Audi S3 hatchback.

Conceived to offer greater performance potential than the front-wheel-drive A250 but priced below the German performance brand’s A45 4Matic, the launch of the A35 4Matic follows strong global sales of other 4-cyl. AMG 4Matic models, including the CLA45, CLA45 Shooting Brake and GLA45.

“The demand for our compact models has developed in recent years. This success has encouraged us to further expand our portfolio and place it on a broader footing,” says Tobias Moers, CEO of Mercedes-AMG.

While the A35 4Matic is not planned to be sold in North America in hatchback configuration, its driveline and other key developments will be incorporated on an upcoming A35 4Matic sedan presently being tested by AMG and planned for North American introduction by the end of 2019.

At the heart of the A35 4Matic is a revised version of Mercedes-Benz’s M260 engine, as used by the A250. AMG describes it as a new development, although the 4-cyl. unit shares its 83.0-mm bore and 92.0-mm stroke measurements and design of its die-cast aluminum crankcase with the M133 engine of the A45 4Matic.

Key engineering attributes of the AMG-tweaked powerplant include a uniquely tuned twin-scroll turbocharger with reduced back pressure, reprogrammed Camtronic variable valve control, special liners that contribute to conically shaped cylinders and a bespoke exhaust system with an automatically controlled flap that modulates the exhaust note depending on the driving mode.

With 302 hp at 5,800 rpm and 295 lb.-ft. (400 Nm) of torque between 3,000 and 4,000 rpm, the transversely mounted engine delivers 81 hp and 77 lb.-ft. (104 Nm) more than the less heavily tuned version of the M260 unit used by the A250 but 74 hp and 55 lb.-ft. (75 Nm) less than the more highly strung M133 engine of the A45 4Matic.

Drive is channeled to all four wheels through a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox featuring AMG’s own Speedshift software that is claimed to provide quicker shift times and more intuitive upshift and downshift characteristics than the standard software package as used by the A250.

Besides offering both manual and automatic modes, the in-house-produced gearbox also includes a Race Start function for improved off-the-line acceleration.

Allied to the A35’s gearbox is a heavily revised version of the 4Matic all-wheel drive system used by the first-generation A45. It boasts variable distribution of drive, from front-wheel only to a 50:50 apportioning to the front and rear axles via an electro-mechanically operated multi-plate clutch integrated into the rear axle.

The driver can choose among five different driving modes via an AMG Dynamic Select controller, including Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual. The new Slippery mode is programmed for wet road conditions, with reduced power and torque and earlier upshifts in automatic mode.

With the Sport+ mode and Race Start function engaged, the A35 4Matic is claimed to accelerate from 0-to-62 mph (100 km/h) in 4.7 seconds and reach a top speed limited to 155 mph (250 km/h). Combined cycle consumption is put at 32.2 mpg (7.3 L/100 km) on the recently superseded New European Driving Cycle.

To handle the added performance potential brought on the new drivetrain, Mercedes-AMG has stiffened the bodyshell of the A-Class hatchback upon which it is based with the addition of a so-called “shear panel” underneath the engine. The aluminum structure is bolted to the existing steel body shell and, in combination with two additional diagonal braces, is designed to provide added torsional stiffness to the front end.

The stiffened body structure supports a MacPherson strut front suspension. The rear suspension is based on the four-link system used by upper-range A-Class models. Passive dampers are standard, though buyers can option the entry-level AMG model with an adaptive damping system providing three different levels of stiffness.

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The A35 4Matic builds on the sharpened appearance of the fourth-generation A-Class with a unique grille, more heavily structured front bumper, standard 18-in. alloy wheels, wider sills, tailgate-mounted spoiler and a new rear bumper featuring a prominent diffuser element bookmarked on each side by blackened round tailpipes.

Inside (above), the standard A-class interior has been reworked with unique seat upholstery, an AMG steering wheel with touch-pad controls and AMG-specific graphics for the digital instruments.

Other new features include AMG Track Pace as part of the MBUX infotainment system. It permanently records data during track driving, enabling the driver to analyze information including acceleration, braking and lap times.

Following its appearance on the new fourth-generation A-Class hatchback, the new “35” badge also is planned to grace successor models to the CLA, CLA Shooting Brake, GLA, the newly unveiled A-class sedan and upcoming GLB compact CUV, providing Mercedes-Benz’s performance sub-brand with a new, six-model-strong entry-level range.

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