Uh oh, the Audi S3 Sedan could be in trouble!

After four years with the Audi A3 Sedan being the only four-door on the premium compact market, Mercedes-Benz decided its time to jump in with a three-box version of the popular A-Class. The company’s smallest sedan made its debut in concept form at the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show and the Germans were quick to confirm that a production version is in the making. With the fourth-generation hatchback just unveiled for 2018, the sedan is only months away from an official unveiling. And alongside the standard model, we’ll also get the potent AMG A45, and according to recent spy shots, a milder AMG variant too. The latter is rumored to be called the AMG A35 and it will take on the Audi S3 Sedan.

While the new A-Class is spectacular in just about every department and sports the most beautiful interior in the compact market, the really big news about the A-Class Sedan is that it will be a global vehicle. When the unveiling took place in Shanghai, I was almost certain that the German sedan will follow in the footsteps of the BMW 1 Series Sedan, which is only available in China as of 2018. But Merc has big plans for the A-Class and has already confirmed that the sedan will be sold in the U.S. The regular model should be followed by both AMG versions, including this one. Before we dig in, I want to stress that the A35 nameplate is by no means official. Last year, the less potent AMG was rumored to get an A40 badge, so it could be anything at this point.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes-AMG A35.

Exterior

  • CLS-Inspired Front End
  • Sportier Nose
  • Aggressive Bumper
  • 19-Inch Wheels
  • Coupe-Style roof
  • A Proper Decklid
  • Optional Multibeam LED Lights
2019 Mercedes-AMG A35 Sedan Exterior Spyshots
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The aggressive design of the headlamps will make the A-Class Sedan looks like a shrunken CLS up front

The sporty sedan is hidden under a lot of camo, but having already seen the hatchback model, the exterior design isn’t much of a mystery. The Concept A Sedan also provides a few solid hints as far as the profile and the rear section goes. As for the front fascia, it should be identical to the standard hatchback model, save for the AMG-style add-ons.

The new, aggressive design of the headlamps will make the A-Class Sedan looks like a shrunken CLS up front (expect the next CLA to get similar cues). The main grille will also be based on the CLS in terms of shape and size. The spy shots confirm that it will be wider toward the bottom and take inspiration from the AMG GT’s Panamericana grille. But while the standard A-Class uses the diamond radiator layout with silver horizontal bars on each side of the tri-star emblem, the AMG A35 will probably get a black mesh.

The bumper shouldn’t be significantly more aggressive than the regular A-Class. I’m actually pretty sure that the intakes will keep their original size, with the extra sportiness to come from a slightly bigger splitter and mildly revised side bumper elements.

2019 Mercedes-AMG A35 Sedan Exterior Spyshots
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The most noticeable change will occur onto the sides, as the A-Class will gain a sedan body style

The most noticeable change will occur onto the sides, as the A-Class will gain a sedan body style for the very first time. The car will remain familiar from the nose to the C-pillar, but rear section will be longer due to the three-box style layout. But instead of a boxy, traditional shape, the A-Class sedan will have a coupe-style roofline and a sloping decklid. In other words, it will be very similar to the CLA. Both the decklid and the rear overhang will be kept short, so the sedan won’t be significantly longer than the hatchback.

Around back, the camouflaged taillights seem to be similar to the hatchback model, as in large onto the fenders and thinner into the trunklid. However, due to the tailgate being transformed into a conventional trunklid, the taillights won’t be as long as the hatchback’s. And of course, they will be placed a tad lower in the fascia. The bumper appears to be slightly different, but it’s too early to draw a conclusion here as the sedan still sports prototype tailpipes.

Interior

  • Modern Interior Design
  • All-Digital Instrument Cluster
  • 10.5-Inch Infotainment Display
  • 64-Color Ambient Lighting
  • New MBUX Infotainment System
  • Revised Trunk Section
2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class
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Note: Mercedes-Benz A-Class hatchback pictured here.

The A-Class sedan will have the most appealing interior of the compact market

The Concept A Sedan didn’t provide any hints about the production model’s interior, but it’s safe to assume that the cabin will be identical to the new-generation hatchback. And this is great news, as the new A-Class is not only a gorgeous place to spend time in, but it’s also packed with the latest technology out there.

The big news is that it borrows some features from the bigger Mercedes models, setting a new standard in the premium compact segment. The wing-shaped, multi-tier dashboard comes in a two-tone finish and includes turbine-style A/C vents at each corner. More vents can be seen on the center stack, which has a clean, high-tech design.

2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class
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Highlights will also include a brand-new MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment system

The instrument cluster and infotainment display have the same layout as in the larger S-Class and CLS models. Although not placed under a big hood, they’re connected to each other creating the impression of a really long screen that stretches over the driver’s side half of the dashboard. Display options should be similar to the hatchback, with the range-topping model to get two 10.25-inch screens. It remains to be seen if this layout will be standard in the AMG A35 model though.

Highlights will also include a unique ambient lighting system with 64 colors and the brand-new MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment system. MBUX has ability to learn thanks to artificial intelligence and it can also be customized through augmented reality technology and intelligent voice control with natural speech recognition.

2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class
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The sedan will also benefit from the extra room that comes with the fourth-generation hatchback

The sedan will also benefit from the extra legroom, shoulder room, and headroom that comes with the fourth-generation hatchback. The layout in the rear section will remain unchanged for the sedan, although headroom might decrease a bit due to the sloping roof. Also expect it to get the optional seat climate control and the Multicontour Seat package with massage function for the front seats (a first in this segment).

Now that we’ve recapped the features of the new-generation A-Class, it’s time to take a look at what will set the AMG A35 model apart. To be honest, it won’t get that many special features. At least not as many as the range-topping AMG A45. A flat-bottom steering wheel and sportier seats are on the table, but don’t expect the leather upholstery to be standard. There won’t be any carbon-fiber trim either, as this option will be offered on the AMG A45 model only. Also look for a few AMG badges, special contrast stitching, and maybe a unique upholstery color.

Drivetrain

  • New 4-Cylinder Engine
  • Possible EQ Boost System
  • Up To 300 Horsepower
  • Automatic Transmission
  • All-Wheel Drive
  • Retuned Suspension and Chassis
2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class
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The AMG A35 will probably get around 300 horsepower

As the name suggests, the AMG A35 will slot below the beefed-up A45 and above the A250 model. The A45 is predicted to have close to 400 horsepower, while the new A250 features a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder rated at 224 horsepower, so it’s safe to assume that the AMG A35 will get around 300 horses. The engine that will deliver it is still a mystery though. While the 2.0-liter unit in the A250 would be able to send 300 horsepower to the wheels with an updated turbocharging system, Merc could go with a brand-new unit.

The German firm recently introduced a new engine with hybrid EQ Boost technology for the E53 and CLS53 range, so it makes sense for the A-Class model placed just below the hardcore A45 to use something similar. So Mercedes is probably already working to combine the new 2.0-liter four-cylinder with the company’s new EQ Boost starter-alternator.

A hybrid system with EQ Boost similar to the AMG CLS53 is very likely

The starter motor and alternator are combined in an electric unit that’s fitted between the engine and the transmission and turns the vehicle into a hybrid. The E53 and CLS53 models also have an electric auxiliary compressor that builds up a high charge pressure without any delay, which provides a faster increase in torque for acceleration until the large exhaust gas turbocharger kicks in.

In the aforementioned models, the EQ Boost delivers an extra 22 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. These figures could change for a four-cylinder model, but it should still provide at least 15 horses and 150 pound-feet. The gasoline engine should crank out around 280 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque, so the AMG A35 could end up with a cool 300 horses and at least 450 pound-feet under the hood.

The AMG badge should also come with a tweaked transmission and a bespoke suspension setup, but it won’t be as aggressive as the AMG A45’s.

Safety

  • State-Of-The-Art Safety Systems
  • Improved Camera And Radar System
  • Active Distance Assist
  • Active Brake Assist
  • Pre-Safe Plus Package
  • Airbags Front and Rear
2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class
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The AMG A35 will be one of the most modern vehicle in its class in terms of safety features

As it is the case with all Mercs, the AMG A35 will be one of the most modern vehicle in its class in terms of safety features. The impressive array of active and passive systems from the A-Class hatchback will most definitely make it into the sedan, starting with the car’s ability to keep a close eye on the traffic with an improved camera and radar systems that allow it to see up to 500 meters (0.3 miles) ahead. In conjunction with navigation data and Active Distance Assist Distronic, the sedan will be pretty close to a semi-autonomous vehicle.

Other features will include Active Emergency Stop Assist, Active Lane Change Assist, and Active Brake Assist as standard. The Pre-Safe Plus, found on larger models, will be offered as an option.

Passive features will include airbags for the driver and front passenger, a driver’s kneebag, and windowbags on both sides as standard. The latter also covers the A-pillar, a first in this segment. Thorax-pelvis sidebags are standard in the front and available as optional equipment for the rear passenger compartment.

Prices

With pricing for the new A-Class not available, it’s difficult to estimate a sticker for the sedan version, but it’s safe to assume that it won’t be significantly more expensive. My best guess is that the base model will come in at around €25,000, while the A250 wil start from around €38,000. The AMG A45 version is likely to come in at around €53,000, so I expect the AMG A35 to fetch about €44,000 before options. In the U.S., it will be probably cost a tad more than the Audi S3 Sedan, so look for a sticker of around $44,000 to $46,000.

Competition

Audi S3 Sedan

2017 - 2018 Audi A3 Sedan
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Much like the Audi A3 was the first premium hatchback, the A3 Sedan was the first three-box vehicle to enter the premium segment. It happened in 2013 and it took more than four years to get a proper competitor. With the A-Class Sedan and the upcoming AMG A45 Sedan set to go against the regular A3 and RS3 respectively, the AMG A35 will take on the S3 Sedan version. Available since 2013 and updated in 2017, the S3 badge adds a handful of sporty features on the outside and extra equipment inside the cabin. But it’s the drivetrain that makes the S3 an appealing four-door, as the turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine cranks out an impressive 310 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. This output is available for U.S. cars with the seven-speed S tronic automatic transmission. In Europe, the manual version delivers 280 pound-feet. Sprinting from 0 to 60 mph takes less than five seconds, while top speed is limited to 155 mph. Pricing starts from $43,650.

Read our full review of the 2018 Audi S3 Sedan.

BMW 1 Series Sedan

2017 BMW 1 Series Sedan High Resolution Exterior
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After years of rumors, BMW finally introduced a three-box body style for the 1 Series hatchback. Unfortunately, the German sedan comes with two issues. For starters, it was designed for the Chinese market only. This could change in the future, but for the time being, you can’t buy it anywhere else in the world, not even in Europe. Second, it has yet to receive a higher performance variant, so even if it comes to the U.S., it won’t be able to match the power of the Audi S3 and the Mercedes-AMG A35. Its most potent iteration is the 125i, which uses the familiar 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 231 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. It’s not exactly a slouch, but it’s a full two seconds slower from 0 to 60 mph.

Read our full story on the BMW 1 Series Sedan.

Conclusion

2019 Mercedes-AMG A35 Sedan Exterior Spyshots
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Although I’m not a big fan of the current industry trends with all sorts of niche models, I’m actually glad that Mercedes is building a sedan version of the A-Class. The new hatchback is definitely hot and a four-door variant will enable drivers that can’t afford a big Merc (or not even a CLA) to surge into dealerships. A new AMG model placed between the A250 and the AMG A45 also makes sense given the 150+ horsepower gap between the two. An EQ Boost system would only make things better as the brand’s new hybrid technology will find its way into a more affordable model. Solid performance and good fuel economy, who would say no to such a package?

  • Leave it
    • * Not yet confirmed for production
    • * Will it come to the U.S.?

References

Mercedes A-Class

2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class.

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