Johannesburg - South African performance hatch lovers are already spoiled for choice, but they will soon have yet another option in the form of Mercedes-AMG’s A35 4Matic.

The A35 is due to reach local showrooms towards the end of the third quarter of 2019, but Mercedes recently added it to its online configurator, revealing the price tag of R754 946 and giving prospective buyers a chance to play with the vast (and somewhat expensive) options list.

While the Mercedes-AMG A45 4Matic will continue to play at the very top of the hyper hatch game, now offering up to 310kW, the A35 instead plays in the heartland of the performance hatch game, where it will go up against the popular Volkswagen Golf R, as well as the Audi S3, BMW’s upcoming M135i and Honda’s Civic Type R, with Subaru’s STI also serving as a similarly-potent sedan alternative.

Powered by a modified version of the company’s M 250 2-litre four-cylinder turbopetrol, the A35 produces 225kW from 5800rpm and 400Nm from 3000. With launch control activated, the Merc should sprint from 0-100km/h in 4.7 seconds, according to claims.

Audi S3 Sportback 228kW/400Nm R671 000
BMW M140i 5-door auto (old) 250kW/500Nm R720 540
BMW M135i auto (new) 225kW/450Nm R705 541
Honda Civic Type R 228kW/400Nm R691 300
Mercedes-AMG A35 4Matic 225kW/400Nm R754 946
Subaru WRX STI Premium 221kW/407Nm R778 000
Volkswagen Golf R 228kW/400Nm R681 000

While its power and performance are in the ballpark, the A35 is priced at a premium, as you’ll see in the table above, and although its premium brand status justifies that to a degree, it’s worth noting that BMW’s upcoming M135i is going to be a good R50 000 cheaper, according to prices released ahead of launch by the Bavarian carmaker.

The engine is mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox and as with most of its rivals, the Mercedes-AMG A35 has all-wheel-drive, in this case configured to send up to half of the torque to the rear wheels (if you want Drift Mode you’ll have to upgrade to the A45). 

The A35 also comes with an AMG sports exhaust system with adjustable flaps and AMG-specific suspension, while adaptive damping is available as an option.

Just keep in mind that if you want an A35 that stands out on the road, you’re going to have to dig deeper. The standard-spec A35 (pictured below), doesn't look all that different to the A250 Sport, although it does get an AMG-specific twin-spoke grille, chrome bumper accents, rear spoiler and larger, round-shaped exhaust pipes.

You might at least want to look at the AMG Aerodynamics package for R26 350 and a larger set of wheels - upgrade from the standard 18” rims to 19” units from around R10 000. These enhancements, and other unique touches like a larger rear spoiler and Tech Gold graphics, are also available in the Edition 1 Package, which will set you back R112 000.

Standard features include the MBUX infotainment system, sports seats, cruise control, single-zone automatic climate control, Blind Spot Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist and Active Brake Assist among other items.

IOL Motoring