Mercedes A45 AMG gets 330bhp and all-wheel drive offering 0-62mph in 4.9sec. Mercedes claim it will have the fastest cornering speeds in its class
12 June 2012

Mercedes-Benz has confirmed limited details to its most affordable performance model to date – the Mercedes A45 AMG.

Set to go on sale in early 2013, the Audi RS3 and BMW M135i rivaling hatchback sits at the top of the new third-generation A-class line-up at an unconfirmed price that is expected to start at around £35,000 in the UK.

The first series production AMG model with a transversely mounted engine runs a heavily tuned version of Mercedes-Benz’s turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol unit, as used in the standard A250 Sport set for UK sale by the end of the year.

With a specially developed free flow cylinder head and unique induction system among a myriad of other power boosting modifications, the M270 Evo designated unit is claimed to deliver 330bhp and what AMG describes as "maximum torque significantly above 295lb ft".

Developed in partnership with the German car maker’s High Performance Engine offshoot based in Brixworth, England, the new engine is the most powerful four-cylinder ever placed in a Mercedes production model. 

"Our goal right from the start was to match the output of the larger turbocharged 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine used by the RS3," says Tobias Moers, head of development at AMG.

By way of comparison, the RS3’s EA255 engine delivers 335bhp and 332lb ft torque, while the M135i, which is powered by an uprated version of BMW’s N55 turbocharged 3.0-litre six-cylinder unit, pushes out 316bhp and the same 332lb ft. 

As first revealed by Autocar, the A45 AMG channels its drive through a seven-speed dual clutch gearbox and, in a layout that mirrors that of the RS3, a specially tuned Haldex-style multi-plate clutch to all four wheels. 

To provide the new car with typical rear-wheel drive AMG handling traits, the engine’s torque is delivered primarily to the rear wheels under load.

No performance claims have been made prior to the A45 AMG’s official unveiling at AMG’s Affalterbach headquarters in Germany this week, but Mercedes-Benz insiders suggest it will match the claimed 0-62mph time of the M135i, which BMW puts at 5.1sec for the six-speed manual equipped version.

The inclusion of fuel saving features such as automatic stop/start and brake energy recuperation also has Mercedes-Benz claiming the A45 AMG will be the most economical car in the hot hatch ranks.

In a bid to provide the price leading AMG model with class leading dynamics – including what one AMG insider described to Autocar as "the highest corner speeds among its rivals", AMG’s engineering team has provided it with a largely unique chassis set-up – the likes of which has undergone extensive testing both on the road and at the Nürburgring. 

The basic components of the MacPherson strut (front) and multi-link (rear) suspension are carried over from the A250 Sport but the elastokinematic properties, including the bushes used to attach it to the body structure, have been greatly altered. Other changes include wider tracks, firmer springs and dampers, larger diameter anti roll bars and reduced ride height. 

The standard electro-mechanical steering system has also been reworked for added on-centre sensitivity and a meatier feel, while the brakes have been upgrade with larger crossdrilled and vented discs as well as more powerful calipers.

As with other recent AMG models, the A45 AMG also receives a three stage electronic stability program (ESP) that includes a "sport handling" mode which allows you to turn the electronic safety net off completely.

The A45 AMG is differentiated from standard third-generation A-class models by an extensive body kit. Included is a deeper front bumper, altered grille, widened front fenders, carbonfibre look exterior mirror housings, wider sills underneath the doors, a prominent spoiler atop the rear hatch and new rear bumper with an integrated diffuser element as well as characteristic chromed tail pipes. 

Inside, the new car receives an upgraded interior with unique front sport seats along with more upmarket trims.

Our Verdict

Can the latest Mercedes A-class's slick conformity outweigh the old model's originality?

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Comments
22

12 June 2012

The car in these pictures is badged A250.

Will the A45 look the same as the A250? Is this photo supposed to be of the A45?

Looks interesting, quite like a Mazda3 MPS which is no bad thing for me. Competitive price for the performance if they can keep it at £32k.


R32

12 June 2012

I'm surprised this has a Haldex four-wheel drive system - but it may make it more appealling to more buyers as a result.  Not quite sure why Mercedes-Benz have badged it as A45 AMG with a 2.0 under the bonnet though - it seems to me that their badging policy has lost all logic.

12 June 2012

R32 wrote:

 Not quite sure why Mercedes-Benz have badged it as A45 AMG with a 2.0 under the bonnet though - it seems to me that their badging policy has lost all logic.

I think it's because 2012 is AMG's 45th year anniversary and this will be their first 4 cylinder?  I do agree that their badging doesn't make immediate sense. Can someone explain why the 5.5L twin turbo V8's in the lastest AMGs are badged "63"?

12 June 2012

Looks far nicer to me than either the A3 or the new 1-series (which is just atrocious).

Quite pricey but that's to be expected.

Fastest in class cornering speeds? We shall see.

R32 - Just like BMW and their x/sdrive badges. Stupid.

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Never wrestle with a pig. You'll only get muddy, and the pig will enjoy it.

12 June 2012

Sonett wrote:

Looks far nicer to me than either the A3 or the new 1-series (which is just atrocious).

Quite pricey but that's to be expected.

Fastest in class cornering speeds? We shall see.

R32 - Just like BMW and their x/sdrive badges. Stupid.

Sorry but I cannot share your view of its looks but then I like the 1 Series, particularly the Coupe and the new 5 door.

To me every A and B Class is too reminiscent of old folks cars like the C-Max, Golf Plus, Seat Altea for me to even consider (and I'm the wrong side of 50)!

Quite how MB plan to attract younger buyers with these as their entry-level models is beyond me.

Reminds me of Peugeot announcing that their upright 1007 with funky sliding doors was aimed at youngsters, but most buyers ended up being pensioners because it was easier for them to get in and out of.

Also disappointed that the A45 does not mean they have managed to wedge a small V8 into it - that might have been exciting but another turbo-charged 4 pot breaks no new ground. At least the 135i is a straight six, and I would expect to have a much more tuneful soundtrack.

 

 

12 June 2012

How many times have I read about how rear-wheel drive bias is going to be build into "this" particular iteration of a Haldex deployment, when it's technically impossible? Please Autocar, you should know better than to print this.

RBH58

12 June 2012

As far as I know, doesn't the Bugatti Veyron use a heavily rear-biased 4WD system from Haldex?

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12 June 2012

Well the price definitely makes the current RS3 seem vastly expensive. If the new Golf GTI is coming with 260+ horsepower, it does suggest that the new Audi S3 model will need to have in excess of 300 to compete.

12 June 2012

Looks nice, but I'd rather save £7k and pick up a GT86/BRZ instead. Why get a 'rear drive like' car when you can get the real thing for a lot less?

13 June 2012

TrivsTom wrote:

Looks nice, but I'd rather save £7k and pick up a GT86/BRZ instead. Why get a 'rear drive like' car when you can get the real thing for a lot less?

Because this will be monumentally quicker and more practical, for an extra £6-7k; the GT86/BRZ is going to be a cracking car but a very different one.

My next car is looking like being this or the new M135i. I need a smallish car with a dog-shaped boot. Plus obviously lots of grunt and I'd rather not have FWD or FWD biased AWD. So these two fit the bill.

Looks-wise they are both 'challenging', at the mo I'm leaning to the BMW as I suspect I'll prefer a 3 litre straight six to a 2 litre engine if both have similar bhp.  

Hopefully Autocar will do a nice group test so I can let them choose for me!

 

 

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