Mercedes-AMG plans to take the wraps of its new hot A-class variant – the A 35 –at the upcoming Paris motor show. New preview images now partially reveal the car ahead of the official debut.
Set to arrive before the A 45 in early 2019, the five-door A 35 will bring a taste of AMG at a lower price point. The model will undercut the next-generation A 45 to become AMG's cheapest offering, allowing it to compete with cars such as the BMW M140i.
Previously spied in videos testing at the Nürburgring, the A 35 will be powered by an extensively reworked version of the A 45’s turbocharged four-cylinder M260. This is, in itself, an evolution of the freshly launched new A-class' M270 unit, featuring a new crankcase and cylinder head. Although the cylinder bore and stroke will remain unchanged in the A 35's mill, it will have different pistons and bespoke software in order to allow it to put out more than 300hp – slightly more than that of the Golf R.
The new A 45's 0-100kph time is predicted to slip beneath the 4sec mark. This implies that the A 35 will be set for a 4.5sec sprint time, thus ranking the four-wheel-drive model directly alongside the Golf R, which is as quick off the line as some proper sports cars like the Porsche 718 Cayman S.
Spotted test cars suggest that the visual disparity between the A 35 and A 45 models will be small – although a clear signal to the performance on offer will come from seeing its tailpipes. The A 45 will get a quad exit set-up; meanwhile, the A 35 will have a twin-pipe system that mimics that of the tailpipe variety employed by AMG’s C 43 and the recently launched CLS 53 and E 53 models.
The A 35 will most likely be offered with adjustable damping, much like its more hardcore sibling, however, AMG could choose to give it slightly less aggressive rebound rates so that the A 45 has an advantage on corners as well as in the straights. Such a variation in the character and ability of these siblings may be necessary to allow the A 35 to carve-out its own space within the tightly congested performance hatch segment.
The A 35 will rival the Golf R, Audi S3 and future BMW M130iX M Performance. This would leave the A 250 – the most potent regular A-class model – to face the Volkswagen Golf GTI. The upcoming A 45 will meanwhile remain at top of the line-up and focus on the Audi RS3, which is set to arrive in mid-2019.
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