Rubin van Niekerk has experienced all A-Class models since 2004 on different tracks and skidpans, the evolution of this extremely popular compact premium car has been astounding to observe.
By RUBIN VAN NIEKERK
I’ll never forget my first skidpan incorporated an old A-Class, a Mazda Drifter and a few other cars.
The old A-Class was nicknamed the “pram” as it seemed to be favoured by moms with young kids and I suspect women were its primary target audience. However, we got a healthy new respect for the “pram” as it handled better than anything else, while the Drifter floated aimlessly of the skidpan! It was a good learning experience about weight distribution and dynamic ability or lack thereof.
I loved every generation of the A-Class since and the AMG A 35 is positively mind blowing.
Having experienced all A-Class models since 2004 on different tracks and skidpans, the evolution of this extremely popular compact premium car has been astounding to observe. Last year Mercedes-Benz walked away with the coveted South African Car Of The Year trophy with their ultra-modern champion amongst extremely tough competitors and it scored the highest on automated scoring which is as objective as you can get.
Winning the South African Car Of The Year title as well as its category was a historic first.
It deserved a standing ovation for its performance at Kyalami during the 2019 South African Car Of The Year competition, I was far more overwhelmed with the technical brilliance and superb racing performance of the AMG A 35 at Zwartkops Raceway. Getting it to misbehave on the skidpan proved impossible.
The best-seller success story of the compact cars from Mercedes-Benz began 23 years ago, with the launch of the first-generation A-Class. Since then, over 6 million Mercedes-Benz compact cars have been delivered worldwide, 3 million of which were A-Class models.
The AMG 35 is superb on every level including its ability to offer neck breaking acceleration without tears at the petrol pumps. At the heart of the Compact Class AMG range you’ll find a 2,0-litre four-cylinder turbo engine that generates 225kW with 400Nm, the AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7G dual-clutch transmission, the AMG suspension and the variable AMG Performance 4MATIC all-wheel drive. This results in a 0-100km/h sprint time of just 4,7 seconds for the hatch, 4.8 seconds for the sedan, and 4,9 seconds for the CLA 35.
“With its iconic design and agile driving dynamics, the new Mercedes-AMG 35 4MATIC range is an extremely attractive offer for a young, active and lifestyle-conscious target group. These customers define their requirements very clearly: They expect exciting design from their vehicle alongside superior performance and inspiring handling characteristics. The new Mercedes-AMG 35 4MATIC range embodies just this attitude to life – and enables stepping into the fascinating world of AMG Driving Performance in a particularly emotional way,” said Selvin Govender, Marketing Director for Mercedes-Benz Cars South Africa.
Motor racing inspired design with added characteristic AMG elements, like the radiator grille with twin louvres, the AMG Line front apron with flics on the air intakes, a front splitter and silver chrome trims on the louvres in the outer air intakes.
The sporty interior has many sophisticated details, including the MBUX multimedia system, with its innovative operating and display concept.
You have a choice of three AMG display styles for the optional fully digital instrument cluster. The striking Supersport mode has a central, round rev counter and additional information presented in the form of bars to the left and right of the rev counter, creating a three-dimensional perspective.
Voice control is activated with the words “Hey Mercedes” and due to AI, MBUX recognises and understands nearly all sentences from the fields of infotainment and car operation.
This is all-wheel drive car thrives when you release the horses but has too much pedigree to make you look like a fool. Variable AMG Performance combines the best possible traction with lots of driving fun, with torque distribution infinitely variable to suit the dynamic handling requirements.
Five AMG DYNAMIC SELECT driving programs – Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport + and Individual enable a wide range of vehicle characteristics from comfortable to dynamic. The exhaust system features an automatically controlled exhaust flap so depending on the drive program selected, the sound is modulated from balanced to powerful.
“The expansion and rejuvenation of the compact car range are key factors behind the sustained market success that Mercedes-Benz enjoys. The Mercedes-Benz brand has also become noticeably more youthful since the introduction of the third-generation compact models,” said Johannes Fritz, Co-CEO of Mercedes-Benz South Africa and Executive Director of Mercedes-Benz Cars.
MBUX has improved Mercedes me connect services that include navigation functions like emergency braking, On-Street Prediction, Real-Time Information and Off-Street Information, which save time when searching for a parking space.
Pricing ranges from R841 000 to R984 800 and includes a 5-year/100 000km Motor Plan.