The power war among the big German manufacturers isn’t over just yet, it seems – it’s merely moved down to lower market segments.
Mercedes-Benz is charging onto the scene with the new A45 AMG, based on the A-Class. The guys at AMG have developed the world’s most powerful series production four-cylinder engine, yet one which also meets the most stringent emissions regulations.
We’ll have to drive it before we decide if it’s good enough to topple the BMW M135i from its ballistic hatchback perch, but the A45 looks promising on paper. We’ve rummaged through the press release to bring you five things you really must know about the new AMG A-Class.
We’ve also removed the phrase “level of emotionality”. You can thank us for that later…
1) Most powerful four-cylinder engine… in the world
Mark our words, that phrase will leave Jeremy Clarkson’s lips when he eventually tests the A45, since each of its two litres of displacement generates 181 horsepower. That’s 360 in total (it’s not quite two litres, technically) and a massive 450 Nm of torque.
The normal A-Class is front-wheel drive. Engineers are getting pretty good at harnessing that sort of power these days, but even 360 horses would be a bit much, so the A45 AMG sends power to the back wheels too, through the AMG 4MATIC all-wheel drive system. There’s enough traction to warp to 62 mph in only 4.6 seconds, and enough power to wallop the limiter at 155 mph.
2) …but also one of the cleanest
Despite its mighty performance credentials, the A45 won’t guzzle fuel like turbocharged performance cars of old. Okay, so it will the way you’ll be tempted to drive it, but turn on some soothing music, sit back, and you’ll get as much as 40.9 mpg from it. CO2 emissions are as low as 161 g/km, for a bill of £170 a year.
Better still, its other emissions are some of the lowest on the roads. The A45 meets Euro 6 emissions standards, which come into force from September 2014.
3) High on technology
The spec list reads like a who’s who of fancy electronic gizmos. It starts with the transmission, an AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT – seven speeds of dual-clutch goodness, in plain English. An SLS-style gear selector replaces the normal column selector, and a “Race Start” mode is available for eye-peeling starts.
A ‘Momentary M Mode’ lets drivers shift manually even in automatic mode by pulling on the desired gearshift paddle. An optional exhaust system with an exhaust flap enhances your aural experience, while three-stage ESP ensures you don’t have a tree interface experience.
Fancy word, no? It refers to the movement of various bearings and connections in the A45’s suspension, beefed up to ensure the chassis can handle all of that power. AMG suspension with larger anti-roll bars should help it grip with the best of them, while those enhanced elastokinematics ensure geometry-destroying flex is kept to a minimum.
None of this would be any good without wheels, of course, which is why you get 18-inch twin-spoke AMG alloys as standard. They’re wrapped in wide 235/40 R18 tyres. 350 mm and 320 mm discs with hefty calipers help you rein in all that speed.
5) Sporty und dynamic
Our pictures will allow you to judge the A45 for yourselves, but the car’s relative subtlety should win over fans of the regular A-Class models – particularly the beefed-up ‘Engineered by AMG’ versions.
The interior too is furnished with AMG parts galore, from those you’ll see (the cossetting seats) to those you’ll quickly forget about (AMG door sill panels). Interior and exterior get snazzy carbon-fibre and carbon-effect components, and a host of other goodies besides.
Priced from: Not yet announced
Available from: July
We’re not expecting all this technology and speed to come cheap, but the A45’s on-paper performance should win plenty of fans. Some may find the exterior styling a little too subtle, given that certain specification A-Class models have already been beaten with the AMG stick – but few doubts will remain when you’re disappearing over the horizon…
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You can also read our review of the Mercedes-Benz A180
, at the opposite end of the A-Class spectrum!