2020 Mercedes-AMG CLA35 is a 302-hp, all-wheel-drive New York debut

The latest CLA-Class gets amped up with an AMG variant.

Steven Ewing Former managing editor
Steven Ewing spent his childhood reading car magazines, making his career as an automotive journalist an absolute dream job. After getting his foot in the door at Automobile while he was still a teenager, Ewing found homes on the mastheads at Winding Road magazine, Autoblog and Motor1.com before joining the CNET team in 2018. He has also served on the World Car Awards jury. Ewing grew up ingrained in the car culture of Detroit -- the Motor City -- before eventually moving to Los Angeles. In his free time, Ewing loves to cook, binge trash TV and play the drums.
Steven Ewing
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Mercedes-Benz  is introducing two cars at the New York Auto Show  that are small in stature yet big in terms of performance. Along with the Mercedes-AMG A35 sedan, the German automaker also revealed the 2020 CLA35, the hotter version of the brand-new sedan.

Aside from its more rakish roofline, the AMG CLA35 isn't too different from the A35 on which it's based. The CLA35 uses the same 2.0-liter, turbocharged I4 engine, producing the same 302 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission handles shifting duties, and 4Matic all-wheel drive is standard.

The CLA35 gets the same AMG sport suspension, variable sport steering and larger brakes as the A35. Mercedes says the CLA35 is ever-so-slightly quicker to accelerate, however, with the company estimating a 4.6-second 0-to-60 mile-per-hour time, compared with 4.7 seconds in the A35.

2020 Mercedes-AMG CLA35
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2020 Mercedes-AMG CLA35

The CLA35 is just a slightly more rakish A35 sedan.

Steven Pham/Roadshow

Like the A35, the CLA35 will come with lots of onboard tech, including Mercedes' latest MBUX infotainment software. MBUX includes a pair of 10.2-inch screens, one serving as a digital instrument cluster, the other housing the main infotainment interface, with touch responsiveness as well as natural speech voice commands.

Other interior niceties include sport seats (or optional AMG Performance chairs), a panoramic sunroof and three-zone climate control. You also get the CLA's 64-color ambient lighting, which makes the cabin look absolutely killer at night.

The CLA35 certainly sounds like a great package, but then again, so does the A35. Many Roadshow staffers prefer the cleaner lines of the A35, with its rear-headroom-sparing roofline. And since the CLA35 will likely command a bit more money -- for no real performance benefit -- we'll be curious to see how the two models coexist. Of course, the same can be said for the standard A220 and its CLA220 stablemate.

Look for the 2020 Mercedes-AMG CLA35 to hit US dealerships in late 2019.

2020 Mercedes-AMG CLA35: Sleek style and potent punch

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Originally published April 8.
Update, April 17: Adds new photos from the show floor.