2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA35 AMG arrives to play the middle ground

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA hasn’t even arrived in the U.S. yet and the brand’s AMG performance division has already taken its first crack at the compact car with the 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA35 AMG.

With more power, an aggressive body kit, and a racier interior, the CLA35 will play the middle ground between the new CLA-Class and the even hotter upcoming CLA45 AMG.

The 2020 CLA35 broke cover on Monday and is set to make its formal debut next week at the 2019 New York International Auto Show.

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, while three-stage electronic stability control allows drivers to decide how far the electronic nannies will let the car step out during cornering.

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA35 AMG

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA35 AMG

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA35 AMG

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA35 AMG

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA35 AMG

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA35 AMG

Mercedes-AMG quotes a 0-60 mph time of 4.6 seconds with a top speed that is electronically limited but so far undisclosed. We’d guess 155 mph.

Hauling things back to reality are 13.8-inch front brake discs clamped by 4-piston monoblock fixed calipers and rear 13.0-inch discs with single-piston sliding calipers.

AMG’s team stiffened the structure with an aluminum panel bolted under the engine and two diagonal braces up front to reduce twist while cornering.

Adaptive dampers will be available and offer three modes that range from comfort to sporty, according to Mercedes-AMG.

AMG’s Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport+, and Individual drive programs will allow drivers to tailor vehicle controls and dynamics to the conditions and intended driving style.

One look and it’s clear the CLA35 isn’t a standard CLA-Class. From the domed hood and twin-bar grille to the 18-inch twin-spoke wheels (19-inchers will be optional) to the rear lip spoiler and diffuser insert, it’s clear this car’s intentions are to move.

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA35 AMG

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA35 AMG

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA35 AMG

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA35 AMG

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA35 AMG

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA35 AMG

Inside the CLA35 features the same basic design as the 2020 CLA-Class. That means the MBUX infotainment system, with its 10.25-inch center touchscreen and 10.25-inch digital gauge cluster, provides information to the driver.  However, the CLA35 has some sportier touches. Available black synthetic leather seats have microfiber inserts and red piping, while the seat belts are red and splashes of red appear on the trim. The flat-bottom steering wheel is covered in perforated leather with red stitching, and the standard steering wheel shift paddles are made from galvanized steel.

An optional AMG steering wheel features a round controller with an integrated display under the right-hand spoke and two vertically oriented switches beneath the left-hand spoke to control AMG drive-specific programs.

One of the cooler options is AMG’s Track Pace data logger, which can record and measure more than 80 data points, including speed, acceleration, G-forces, and more. It also records lap and sector times, which are displayed on the vehicle’s infotainment system.

Prices haven’t been announced, but they may come next week in New York or closer to when the car arrives in U.S. dealerships late this year.

For all the latest news from the 2019 New York auto show, be sure to check our hub.

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