The CLA35 is the first Mercedes-AMG variant of the second-generation CLA, which is larger in virtually every dimension than the previous model, the better to differentiate itself from the smaller A-class sedan that has joined the Mercedes family in the years since the original CLA’s introduction. M8Now slotted between the A- and C-class near the bottom of Mercedes’s lineup, the new CLA has an extra 1.1 inches in its wheelbase and 1.9 inches of length overall compared to the first-gen CLA.
The CLA35 AMG crackles with electricity, though it’s no BEV. Under the CLA35’s hood sits a hotter 2.0-liter turbo-4 with 302 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. A 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission shuffles power to all four wheels via a system that splits up to half the power to the rear end. Race-start and manual-shift modes wring every last erg from the drivetrain; 0-60 mph takes just 4.8 seconds, and top speed reaches 155 mph.
The CLA 35 is the first AMG car introduced with the number “35,” and like other AMG-lite offerings in recent years, represents a less hardcore (and expensive) variant for those who don’t need or want the mas caliente model, in this case, the CLA 45. By comparison, the CLA 35 will undoubtedly be the more livable, civilized car – but it’s still unpleasantly loud, transmitting abundant tire noise into the cabin when driven on all but the sort of pristine pavement found on White Spar Highway.
The $47,895 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA35 stocks up with standard automatic emergency braking, twin 10.3-inch screens, drive modes, an AMG sport suspension, 18-inch wheels, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, a flat-bottom AMG steering wheel, a panoramic roof, LED headlights, keyless ignition, and power front sport seats. On the options list Benz sells leather upholstery, a surround-view camera system, navigation, performance seats, Burmester sound, adaptive dampers, and a head-up display.
Though the new 2020 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 may now (in strictly relative terms) represent the cheapest AMG you can get, it won’t occupy that bottom strata for long. The German automaker has a slew of new AMG 35-series models coming, including an A35 sedan and GLB 35 crossover. They will all be in dealerships next year.