Mercedes-AMG A35 has gone on sale in SA for R754,946. Picture: SUPPLIED
Mercedes-AMG A35 has gone on sale in SA for R754,946. Picture: SUPPLIED

Mercedes has pulled a sneaky one by quietly introducing its new high-performance AMG A35 4MATIC hot-hatch into the SA market. Indeed, a quick visit to the brand’s local website will in fact disclose that Stuttgart’s Golf R rival is now available to purchase. 

How much is it you ask? Well a bog-standard Mercedes-AMG A35 4Matic is exactly R63,646 more than the Honda Civic Type R.

Some of the standard features included for the money are sports seats, automatic climate control, active lane-keeping assist, as well as a basic MBUX multimedia system. There are 18-inch five-twin-spoke light-alloy wheels fitted as standard but you can specify larger 19-inch alternatives should you so wish. In fact there are options and you can spend a lot of time and money on customising your A35 to suit your taste.

Performance-wise this new Mercedes is quick, thanks to its 2.0l turbocharged motor that produces 225kW and 400Nm of torque. Sprinting from a standstill to 100km/h takes a claimed 4.7 seconds while the car’s top speed has been governed to 250km/h.

We are attending the world launch of the even more powerful Mercedes-AMG A45 in Spain later this week, so look out for our upcoming driving impressions.

T-CROSS WILL BE VW’S MOST CONNECTED CAR

The new T-Cross compact SUV will be VW’s most connected car when it is launched in SA in September.

The Polo-based T-Cross SUV will have a starting price of R334,600. Picture: SUPPLIED
The Polo-based T-Cross SUV will have a starting price of R334,600. Picture: SUPPLIED

At launch, the Polo-based SUV will be available with the VW Connect dataplug, a plug-and-play retrofit car connectivity solution that provides an overview of the most important car data.

The dataplug is plugged into the Onboard Diagnostic Interface and sends data via bluetooth to the customer’s smartphone to provide information on car servicing, assessment of driving style, overview of fuel consumption, automated saving of car location, digital logbook, collecting of trophies and points, and contact to the VW Assist hotline.

New VW T-Cross will have a dataplug that sends car info via bluetooth to your smartphone. Picture: SUPPLIED
New VW T-Cross will have a dataplug that sends car info via bluetooth to your smartphone. Picture: SUPPLIED

The Volkswagen Group plans to invest billions of euros in digitisation in the next five years, making the car the central hub on the Internet of Things. In SA, VW’s connected community strategy started with AppConnect, which has been available to iOS users since 2016 and Android users since 2018.

The VW Connect dataplug is the next step, and will launch with the T-Cross before being rolled out to all VW vehicle owners from 2020, replacing the MY VW App.

The T-Cross, which will slot into VW’s SUV line-up below the Tiguan, will be available in two versions, the 1.0 TSI Comfortline DSG selling for R334,600 and the 1.0 TSI 85kW Highline DSG for R365,000.

POPULAR PICANTO GETS SERVICE PLAN

Buyers of new Kia Picantos in SA will no longer have the option of choosing whether they wish to buy it with a service plan worth R5,600 as before. Kia Motors SA has now made the two-year/30,000km plan standard throughout the Picanto range.

“With the new two-year/30,000km service plan on all Kia Picanto models, customers not only know when to have their cars serviced, but also benefit from predictability of pricing over the plan’s duration,” says David Sieff, marketing director of Kia Motors SA.

“Servicing costs are set for the duration of the plan, meaning customers won’t have to pay anything extra for parts or labour should there be a price increase while the service plan is active, which is a notable value add.”

The Picanto’s standard service plan includes, among others, a variety of filters (oil, fuel and air), lubricants, engine oil, spark plugs, coolant, the sump plug gasket, brake and clutch fluid, transmission fluid, differential fluid, as well as the standard workshop consumables. There are exclusions for certain wear and tear items.

The current-generation Picanto was introduced to SA in July 2017. It was a finalist in the 2018 South African Car of the Year competition and has a consistent presence in the top 10 bestselling cars in SA.

It’s available with a choice of 1.0l or 1.2l engines, manual or automatic transmissions, and four specification grades, priced from R158,995 to R228,995, and sold with a five-year/unlimited kilometers warranty.

GRANDER WARRANTY FOR OPEL SUV

Opel’s Grandland X languishes in relative obscurity despite it being one of the convincingly good offerings in a compact-medium SUV segment dominated by Japanese and South Korean alternatives.

Opel’s Grandland X gets an upgraded five-year/150,000km warranty. Picture: SUPPLIED
Opel’s Grandland X gets an upgraded five-year/150,000km warranty. Picture: SUPPLIED

To sweeten the deal, Opel SA has introduced an upgraded new five-year/150,000 km warranty as standard on the Grandland X, compared to the previous three-year/120,000km package.

The offer is said to be the best among German made alternatives and also undercuts the Grandland X’s Peugeot 3008 cousin by quite a margin. 

Furthermore the Opel SUV receives a specification upgrade for the Grandland X Enjoy 1.6T Automatic model, which now adds 18-inch alloy wheels, front fog lamps, rear privacy glass and aluminium roof rails as standard. Customers are also able to equip this particular model with an optional Plus Package, which adds a panoramic sunroof (R11,000), SatNav navigation 900 IntelliLink infotainment system (R12,000) and heated and cooled leather seats and steering wheel (R22,000) to an already comprehensive features list. 

The Grandland X Enjoy 1.6T Automatic costs R478,950 and also comes with a five-year/100,000km service plan and three year/120,000km roadside assistance.