This is the new Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG, the firm’s first hot hatch and, with 355bhp, the most powerful production hot hatch ever built. It will enable AMG and Mercedes to enter a new market as both firms attempt to attract younger buyers.
The A45 AMG will provide Mercedes with a rival for the likes of the BMW M135i and the next-gen Audi RS3, a sector in which the firm has never traditionally competed. It makes its debut at the Geneva motor show.
Based on the new A-class, the A45 marks the first time that AMG has produced anything smaller than the C-class, previously always its entry-level model and the vehicle that AMG boss Ola Kallenius describes as the firm’s “bread and butter car”.
The A45 will be significantly cheaper than the £58,000 C63. It will be priced at around £36,000, pitching it slightly above the M135i but below the next Audi RS3.
The A45 uses a four-cylinder engine, a first for an AMG-built car. It is a 1991cc turbocharged petrol with the highest specific output of any 2.0-litre engine yet fitted to a production car, developing 355bhp at 6000rpm and 332lb ft from 2750rpm to 5000rpm. Achieving the highest specific output was one of the goals of the A45 AMG project.
The A45 AMG is very much a bespoke car, unlike previous AMG-badged A-classes, which were essentially just trim and suspension upgrades. The all-aluminium engine, which uses a unique sand-cast block and a large twin-scroll turbo, is a new unit developed by AMG that will also be used in the forthcoming CLA 45. Each engine is handbuilt at AMG’s Affalterbach plant by a single technician, in keeping with AMG’s “one man, one engine” philosophy.
The high specific output is made possible by high cylinder pressures and advanced spray direct injection, which also helps to make the engine more efficient. Mercedes claims 34mpg and 161g/km of CO2, helped by the standard stop-start and alternator disconnect. It will reach 62mph in 4.6sec while top speed is limited to 155mph.