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Allied to the A35’s gearbox is a heavily revised version of the 4Matic four-wheel drive system used by the first-generation A45. It boasts variable distribution of drive, from front-wheel drive only to a 50:50 apportioning to the front and rear axles, via an electro-mechanically operated multi-plate clutch integrated into the rear axle assembly.
The driver is able to choose between five different driving modes via an AMG Dynamic Select controller, including Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual. The Slippery mode, a new development that is also planned to appear on the new A45 when it is launched in 2019, is programmed for wet road conditions, with reduced power and torque and earlier upshifts in automatic mode.
Also new is a so-called “gliding” function. It allows the driver to choose between “reduced and “moderate” settings for differing engine braking characteristics while coasting on a trailing throttle within the Individual driving mode.
With the Sport+ mode and Race Start function engaged, the A35 4Matic is claimed to accelerate from 0-to-62mph in 4.7sec and reach a top speed limited to 155mph. Combined cycle consumption is put at 38.7mpg, equating to average CO2 emissions of 167g/km on the recently superseded NEDC (New European Driving Cycle).
This gives the A35 4Matic a slight edge over the M140i and S3, which are claimed to accelerate to 62mph in 4.8sec and 5.3sec respectively, in outright straight-line performance.
To cope with the added performance potential brought on the A35 4Matic’s new drivetrain, Mercedes-AMG has stiffened the bodyshell of the A-class hatchback upon which it is based with the addition of a so-called “shear panel” underneath the engine. The aluminium structure is bolted to the existing steel body shell and, in combination with two additional diagonal braces, is claimed to provide added torsional stiffness to the front end.