With the impending launch of the fourth-generation A-Class (W177), Mercedes will be diversifying the lineup by adding an all-wheel-drive-only “A35” model to serve as the A45’s little brother. Such a model makes perfect sense considering it will allow AMG to rival the Audi S3 Sportback and at the same time bridge the gap between the A250 and the aforementioned flagship variant.
Seen here is most likely a near-production prototype with all the body panels in place, along with a pair of oval exhaust tips. The test vehicle was riding low on not-exactly-sporty alloy wheels and had a generous amount of camouflage. Despite the disguise, we can easily see the front bumper will host generous air intakes and there will be a more aggressive grille design as it would be appropriate for an AMG model, even if it will be the entry-level offering.
Indeed, the Mercedes-AMG A35 will represent an entry point into the vast Affalterbach family and is expected to use a turbocharged 2.0-liter gasoline engine. Armed with roughly 300 horsepower, the new model will also have to go up against the VW Golf R, another AWD hot hatch. The powertrain bound to propel the A35 could be of the mild hybrid type, so look for a small electric boost and a slightly lower fuel consumption compared to a conventional setup.
To learn more about this arrangement, check out the E350 Coupe and Cabrio recently launched in Europe with an M 264 engine with 48-volt tech, twin-scroll turbocharging, and an output of 299 hp (220 kW), 295 pound-feet (400 Newton-meters) of torque, plus 10 kW via the EQ Boost starter-alternator.
The regular A-Class is slated to debut at the Geneva Motor Show, but it’s too early to say whether the A35 will be in Switzerland as well. Mercedes could decide to wait and bring the performance version to the Paris Motor Show in October, with the A45 crown jewel estimated to show off its Panamericana grille and quad exhaust at some point in 2019.