Mercedes-AMG will add a new entry-level hatchback to its international line-up, fitted with a newly developed engine and slated to go up against the Volkswagen Golf R. The five-door model has been spotted testing and will undercut the next-gen A 45 to become AMG's cheapest model in its range.
The A 35, due to release in early 2019, will be powered by an extensively reworked version of the A 45’s 2.0-litre, turbocharged four-cylinder M260 engine. The engine is an evolution of the freshly launched new A-class' M270 unit, which features a new crankcase and cylinder head. Although the cylinder bore and stroke will remain unchanged in the A35, the AMG model will have different pistons and bespoke software in order to improve its output to about 300hp – close to that of the 310hp Golf R.
The A 35 is expected to do 0-100kph in 4.5sec, keeping in mind that the sprint time of the next A 45 is predicted to slip beneath the 4sec mark. That would rank this four-wheel-drive model directly alongside the Golf R. The Volkswagen is as quick off the line as some proper sports cars, such as the Porsche 718 Cayman S.
Spotted test cars suggest minute visual differences between the A 35 and A 45. The A 45 will get a quad-exit set-up, while the A35 will have a twin-pipe system. This mimics a system of tailpipe variety employed by AMG’s C 43 and recently launched CLS 53 and E 53 models.
Like the A 45 – the A 35’s more hardcore sibling – it’s likely that the latter will be offered with adjustable damping. However, AMG could choose to give the A 35 slightly less-aggressive rebound rates to give the A45 an advantage in the corners as well as the straights. Such a variation in character and ability would be necessary to ensure the A 35 carves out its own space within the tightly congested performance hatch segment.
The A 35 will rival the Golf R, the Audi S3 and the upcoming BMW M130iX M Performance. This would leave the A250 AMG, as the most potent model in the regular A-class international range, to face-off against the Volkswagen Golf GTI; and the A 45 will remain top of the pile so as to continue to engage with the Audi RS3.
Although Mercedes is yet to officially announce the A 35, AMG boss Tobias Moers confirmed to Autocar UK late last year that it would “arrive ahead of the A 45". As our sister publication understands, the 2018 Paris motor show in October will be a likely venue for the A 35’s unveiling, which suggests that order books will open in early 2019. Meanwhile, the A 45 is predicted to arrive in international markets by the middle of 2019.
There is no word on whether the A 35 will be brought to India, where Mercedes-AMG does not retail the A 45 either. The smallest AMGs in its current India line-up are the GLA 45 and the CLA 45.