The Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG has been revealed at last. We’ve known of its existence for some time now, but it’s taken until now for Mercedes to pull the wraps off its 2013 Geneva motor show star.
It’s the firm’s first proper hot hatchback, and the smallest AMG model yet. Power comes from the most potent four-cylinder engine on the market, a 355bhp/332lb ft 2-litre petrol turbo powering all four wheels via a seven-speed twin-clutch automatic gearbox.
Rated at 178bhp/litre, the engine possesses one of the highest specific output figures on the market – the Ferrari 458’s V8 produces 125bhp/litre. The A45’s high output is the result of a twin-scroll turbocharger and clever spray-guided direct fuel injection, which also help secure it a claimed 40.9mpg fuel economy figure.
Performance is obviously key to the A45 AMG’s appeal, though. It’ll hit 62mph in 4.6sec – nearly half a second quicker than its rival BMW M135i – before hitting a matching 155mph electronic limiter. Its 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system sends power to the front wheels in regular driving, but can fire up to 50 per cent to the rear wheels when needed. Whether that’s enough to exhibit any of the typical AMG tail-happy tendencies remains to be seen. The DCT gearbox gets comfort, sport and manual modes as well as a ‘Race Start’ launch control function.
The A45’s steering is sharper and its suspension is heavily upgraded over lesser A-classes, with tauter springs and dampers and a lower ride height. The brakes are beefed up – 350mm discs up front, 330mm rear – while the ESP has three modes: on, Sport and off.
The A-class’s styling is suitably more aggressive for this range-topping AMG, though its overall look is relatively subtle, much like its Q-car-like rivals. Or perhaps to save more muscle for a Black Series model… The interior gets leather seats, carbonfibre-effect trim and AMG’s smaller, centrally mounted gear selector.
The A45 AMG’s turbocharged engine will also feature in a CLA45 AMG sports saloon and one other compact car, which could be a small A-class based SUV.
Set to battle the 316bhp BMW M135i and 296bhp Audi S3 Sportback (until a new, circa-350bhp RS3 arrives, anyway), the A45 will cost around £35,000 when UK sales begin in July. The Mercedes A45 AMG gets its full debut at the 2013 Geneva motor show, where we can expect more pictures and details.