The Mercedes-AMG A45 rewrote the hot hatch rulebook upon its release in 2013, so it’s a mark of how quickly the automotive game works that it provided the benchmark for AMG’s new ‘entry-level’ hot hatch, the A35.
The man in charge of AMG’s small cars, Andreas Meyer, told MOTOR at the A35’s international launch in Majorca that the primary development goal was to match the dynamic ability of AMG’s first hot hatch.
It almost matches it in a straight line, too. With a 0-100km/h claim of 4.7sec, the 225kW/400Nm A35 is just 0.1sec slower than the original 265kW/450Nm A45. It makes up for its power shortfall with a smarter drivetrain, including gear ratios from the facelifted A45 and electro-mechanical operation of the rear multi-disc clutch pack that apportions a maximum of 50 per cent of drive to the rear.
The A45 used electro-hydraulic operation, which required front wheelspin – if only slight – to build up sufficient pressure to engage the rear wheels. By using inputs from a vast multitude of sensors, the A35’s electro-mechanical unit is able to effectively pre-empt when power needs to be sent to the rear.
In addition, AMG has gone to every effort to stiffen the A35 bodyshell to provide a stable platform for the suspension to do its work. The four-link rear end is the same as the A250, but like in the A45 the subframe is rigidly mounted to the bodyshell and every single bushing was changed.
Up front, the front subframe is stiffened by an aluminium ‘shear panel’ and attached to the bodyshell by a pair of diagonal braces. The steering rack is then rigidly mounted to the subframe rather than with rubber bushings like in the A250.
The brakes are lifted from the A45 (though are different part numbers) with radially mounted calipers, there are bespoke hubs with a hole in the bottom to help brake cooling, stiffer top mounts and uniball joints, all designed to remove any flex during hard cornering.
Did AMG achieve its goal and match its original hot hatch? Read our first drive review to find out.
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