Affalterbach - This is it - the hotly anticipated ‘entry level’ AMG has been revealed ahead of its official world debut at the upcoming Paris Motor Show, and judged on looks alone you’d be forgiven for thinking this was the new (yet to be unveiled) A45.

The newcomer creates a logical bridge the A-Class line-up, while making those AMG thrills accessible to a larger audience. Let’s put it this way - if the regular A250 is a jalapeño and the A45 AMG is a ghost pepper then you could probably think of the new A35 as a habanero chilli - not blow your skull off hot, but fiery enough for most.

It’s powered by a modified version of the M 260 2-litre four-cylinder motor found in the latest A-Class, in this guise producing 225kW from 5800rpm and 400Nm from 3000 - putting it firmly in Golf R territory. With launch control activated, the A35 will surge from 0-100km/h in a claimed 4.7 seconds, meaning it’s still one of the fastest hatchbacks on the block.

Transferring that terror to tar is a seven-speed DCT 7G dual-clutch automated gearbox and a 4Matic all-wheel-drive system that can send up to half of the torque to the rear wheels. Also part of the deal is an AMG exhaust system featuring an automatically controlled exhaust flap, modified electro-mechanical sports power steering and a high-performance braking system with similar dimensions to the A45.

Drivers can choose from five driving programs, including an ‘Individual’ mode that allows the different parameters to be adjusted separately. Further to that, a three-mode Adaptive Damping system will be available as an option.

As mentioned, the A35 gets a beefy styling package that includes 18-inch alloys, AMG Line front apron and twin-louvre grille, larger rear diffuser and tailgate lip spoiler.

Various AMG decorations mark out the cabin, while the command centre is the recently-introduced ‘artificial intelligence’ MBUX infotainment system built into a wide-screen cockpit layout as per regular A-Class hatches.

A unique touch is the AMG menu with displays such as Warm-up, Set-up, G-Force and Engine Data, while an optional Track Pace package can record, display and compare more than 80 vehicle-specific parameters, including lap and sector times and acceleration figures. Yet perhaps the coolest feature for some will be the MBUX Augmented Reality function can display the racing lines of stored race tracks on the central screen or (optional) head-up display system.

We’re currently awaiting feedback on the South African plans for the Mercedes-AMG A35.

IOL Motoring