Mercedes-Benz Reveals A45 AMG

Hot Hatch

AMG develops the world's most powerful production four-cylinder engine and drops it into the A-Class hatchback along with some other goodies in time for Geneva.

Hot hatches used to be almost exclusively spruced-up versions of relatively budget-oriented, mass-market vehicles. Think of VW Golf GTI, Renault's Clio RS and Subaru's Impreza STI. But now even the premium marques have been getting in on the action, with rather stunning results. Just look at the Audi RS3, BMW M135i, and this, the new Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG. Set to debut at the Geneva Motor Show next month, the A45 is part of a new family of smaller performance vehicles from AMG.

Based on the new A-Class, which promises to give Daimler a bigger share of the premium hatchback segment than its predecessor, the A45 upgrades with some rather enticing specs. Its 2.0-liter turbo four produces 360 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque, utilizing direct injection, a twin-scroll turbocharger and the cooling system from the SLS AMG to stake its claim as the most powerful production four-cylinder engine in the business. The power is driven to all four wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. That's said to be good for a 4.6-second 0-62 time and - typical of German cars - an electronically-limited top speed of 155 mph.

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Naturally, AMG hasn't just tinkered with the engine and left it at that. The A45 is a complete package, with upgraded brakes to keep the power in check, 18-inch rolling stock (with available 19” alloys) to plant it all on the road, an AMG-specific aero package to guide airflow and unique axles front and rear to make sure it handles as well as it gathers pace. And of course the interior has similarly been retrofitted to make the A45 feel as special as its performance figures suggest. Sadly for North American customers, the A45 won't be available Stateside, but the juicy bits are to be applied instead to the CLA45 AMG to give us similar capabilities in a svelte four-door coupe shape.

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