With the Mercedes-Benz A-Class line-up – sedan and hatchback – now available as performance AMG “35” models, it’s now time for the second-generation C118 CLA to get its very own. This is the new Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 4Matic, which is being revealed online ahead of its first official public debut at the New York International Auto Show (NYIAS) a week from now.

As with the base car, the CLA 35 wears a roofline that brings it closer to being a junior CLS than a more traditional three-box shape that is the A-Class Sedan. Like its other A 35 siblings, the CLA 35 draws power from a M260 2.0 litre turbocharged petrol engine which produces 302 hp (306 PS) at 5,800 rpm and 400 Nm of torque from 3,000 to 4,000 rpm.

Drive for the CLA 35 is sent to all four wheels via a 4Matic fully-variable all-wheel drive system (ranging between pure FWD and a 50:50 front-to-rear split) with torque distribution managed by a multi-disc clutch, and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The powertrain enables a 0-100 km/h sprint time of 4.9 seconds and an electronically-limited top speed of 250 km/h.

The AWD calibration is synced with the car’s stability programming, where 4Matic remains in Comfort mode as long as ESP is switched on. Switching to ESP Sport Handling or ESP Off also switches the 4Matic system into Sport mode for “even more agile handling and higher stability limits.” Drive modes remain familiar as well, with five to choose from – Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual.

Similarly, the suspension for the CLA 35 is a MacPherson strut layout for the front axle with a four-link setup for the rear It also uses specific axle geometry in front to reduce the influence of drive output upon the steering, while an aluminium wishbone helps reduce unsprung weight. Adjustability comes courtesy of the optional adaptive damping system offering three settings, ranging from comfort-focused to sporty.

The four-link rear axle features transverse arms and trailing arm, wheel carrier and bearings derived from the A 45. Braking is taken care of by a pair of four-piston monoblock calipers in front mated to 350 mm discs, while one-piston sliding calipers are paired with 330 mm brake discs at the back. Steering is electromechanical with variable ratios, and features two assistance settings depending on the drive mode selected.

Over to the interior of the CLA 35, the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) features here in place of the previous COMAND setup, and offers command via voice control with the ‘Hey Mercedes’ activation phrase. The MBUX infotainment system visually blends into the widescreen cockpit as the two displays share a common housing.

As with the A 35 hatch and sedan, the CLA 35 features a new-generation steering wheel with a flattened lower section, perforated leather and red contrast stitching with metal gearshift paddles mounted behind. Built-in touch controls on the left wheel spoke enables control over the Distronic and adaptive cruise control systems, while the right spoke commands the voice control, telephone and infotainment functions.