Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 revealed ahead of New York debut

Mercedes-AMG has extended its range of four-cylinder performance models with the introduction of the CLA35 4Matic four-door coupé.

The recently-revealed CLA is the third of Mercedes-Benz’s latest generation of compact models to receive the AMG treatment, following the A35 4Matic hatchback and the recently announced A35 4Matic saloon.

Pricing has yet to be announced, though the CLA35 is planned to be positioned beneath the six-cylinder C43 and has been conceived to compete against the 2020 BMW M230i Gran Coupe and the Audi S3 saloon. UK deliveries are expected to get underway in August.

Despite being close in conception to the four-door A35 saloon, AMG is banking on the more expressive design of the CLA35 to find favour among particular customers.

“The CLA35 4Matic is an attractive offer for a young, active lifestyle target group. These customers define their requirements very clearly: they expect exciting design alongside superior performance and inspiring handling,” says Mercedes-AMG CEO Tobias Moers.

The new AMG model receives the same transversely-mounted turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder as the A35 variants. Based around the M254 designated unit used by the CLA250, it produces 302bhp at 5800rpm and 295lb ft of torque at 3000rpm.

Drive is sent to all four wheels through a seven-speed dual clutch automatic gearbox and multi-plate clutch four-wheel drive system – a combination Mercedes-AMG says can vary the drive split from 100 per cent to the front wheels to 50:50 per cent front and rear depending on prevailing traction.

The German car maker quotes an official 0-62mph time of 4.9sec, or 0.1sec slower than the A35 4Matic sedan, as well as an electronically-limited top speed of 155mph. By comparison, the Audi S3 saloon runs a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder gasoline engine with 306bhp and 280lb ft. It is claimed to accelerate from 0 to 62mph in 5.2sec and reach the same 155mph top speed.

Combined fuel consumption and average CO2 emissions for the CLA35 are put at 39.2mpg and 164g/km respectively – slightly better than the A35 hatchback. 

Underpinning the CLA35 4Matic is a retuned version of the CLA250’s MacPherson strut (front) and multi-link (rear) suspension, which can be optioned with adaptive dampers offering three levels of stiffness. It also uses a variable ratio steering system and features a strengthened body shell with an additional aluminium member incorporated beneath the engine to increase torsional rigidity, according to AMG.

Mirroring the visual changes already incorporated on the A35 saloon, the CLA35 receives a heavily restyled front bumper featuring a front splitter element, larger air ducts and a revised grille. Further back there are AMG door mirrors and more prominent sills beneath the doors. At the rear, it adopts a similarly sporting treatment with a new rear bumper with a multi-channel diffuser and twin chromed tailpipes as well as a small lip spoiler atop its short trunk lid. 18in wheels are standard, though 19in rims will be available in the UK as an option.

Inside, AMG’s latest model comes equipped with Mercedes-Benz’s MBUX operating system, which works in combination with standard digital instruments and an infotainment display within a common panel within the top of the dashboard. The instruments can be customised with different modes, including a so-called Supersport mode which introduces AMG specific data. Further upgrades over the CLA250 include front sport seats and AMG specific trim applications.

As with the first-generation CLA, AMG plans an even more potent version of its new style led four-door compact model in the form of a new 400-bhp plus CLA45 4Matic. It is planned for launch in early 2020.