Currently reading: Merc plans 320bhp mega-hatch
Hot AMG version of next-gen A-class due in 2012; 320bhp turbo 2.0 engine
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2 mins read
16 December 2010

Mercedes-Benz is planning to enter the hot hatch market in 2012 with a 320bhp AMG-badged A-class.

The hot AMG version of the new, third-generation A-class will have a turbocharged 2.0-litre engine and four-wheel drive. It is being developed by Mercedes’ AMG performance arm under the direction of its new boss, Ola Källenius.

The hot A-class is due on sale in the UK in September 2012. It will be priced to compete with the Audi RS3, Volkswagen Golf R and an M Sport-badged, turbocharged four-cylinder version of BMW’s second-generation 1-series hatchback — which suggests that it could be around £35k.

The new A-class will be based on Mercedes’ MFA (Modularen Frontantriebs-Architektur) platform — a newly developed unitary construction structure that ditches the heavy and expensive ‘sandwich floor’ of today’s model.

Codenamed W176, the car is radically different from its tall predecessor. It takes on a much lower and more conventional two-box silhouette, overlaid with taut surfacing and styling cues first seen on the F800 Style concept car.

The racy new look will be previewed on a concept at next year’s Shanghai motor show. It is designed to attract a younger customer than today’s A-class.

The look will be further embellished on the AMG version by uniquely styled bumpers, pronounced sills, chromed tailpipes and 18-inch wheels. 

AMG had planned to use a 2.0-litre, direct injection engine running an electrically operated turbocharger from Swiss firm Hyprex. But concerns over its complexity and related production costs have forced a switch to a more conventional powerplant using a mechanical twin-scroll turbo.

Insiders with knowledge of the 2.0-litre, aluminium-block engine suggest that AMG’s powertrain department is aiming for a power output in excess of 300bhp. One source told us: “Something in the region of 320bhp is realistically possible with the technology at hand.”

By providing the car with a new six-speed, dual-clutch gearbox and a Haldex-style four-wheel drive system with a multi-plate clutch, Mercedes is hoping to dispel any concerns about traction. But in a bid to provide the A-class AMG with the dynamics to match its badge, the new driveline will feature a positive rear-drive bias, together with an electronically operated torque-vectoring clutch to juggle drive between each of the rear wheels.

Although the AMG is likely to grab much of the attention surrounding Mercedes’ future entry-level model, standard versions of the A-class will also get new engines.

Today’s 1.5-litre, 1.7-litre and 2.0-litre petrol and 2.0-litre diesel four-cylinder engines are on their way out, because they are unsuitable for the non-sandwich platform.

In their place, Mercedes plans to use a combination of existing in-house units and new small-capacity engines from alliance partner Renault. Over time, the line-up will eventually include turbocharged 1.2-litre, 1.4-litre and 1.8-litre direct injection petrol engines, along with 1.6-litre and 2.2-litre common-rail turbodiesels.

All of the new powerplants will come, as standard, with automatic stop-start and brake energy recuperation systems as part of Mercedes’ BlueEfficiency programme.

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every thing you... 18 December 2010

Re: Merc plans 320bhp mega-hatch

'With an extra 15kg placed over the front axle compared to the B200 CDI, weight distribution definitely favours the front end.'

&

'With a kerb weight of 1620 – 180kg more than the B200 CDI – it is decently quick in a straight line.'

I think someone's got their sums wrong. If not, that's one hell of a lightweight V8 ;-)

Citytiger 17 December 2010

Re: Merc plans 320bhp mega-hatch

Uncle Mellow wrote:

Citytiger wrote:
Why would it? Is the Ford Focus range extra strong and extra heavy with extra big wheel arches to accommodate the 350 bph Focus RS500?

Yes it is.

Considering the RS was not even planned when the Focus was designed or released for sale I would say you are wrong, the Focus was massively modified to accept the extra grunt, just as the Merc will be. Ford did not set out to design the Focus thinking that perhaps one day some nutter will drop a 2.5 Volvo T5 engine in it and tune it to 350bhp. If it was the RS would have appeared a lot earlier in the product cycle and not been a limited edition run out model. Its mainly being used as a testbed for improvements for the MK3 chassis.

CambsBill 17 December 2010

Re: Merc plans 320bhp mega-hatch

I think I'd rather have an STI or Evo and keep the change personally. As much performance as I could possibly need, guaranteed to put a smile on your face and probably more reliable to boot.

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