This… is the Mercedes A 45 AMG
Nestled within that angry, bloated and flared Mercedes A-Class you see above is the most powerful turbocharged four-cylinder engine… in the world. Welcome to the Mercedes A 45 AMG. And welcome to a new dawn for the hot hatch.
That engine pumps out 450 Nm of torque, which is a lot, by any standards, let alone those of the ‘hot hatch’. Cars like the Renault 5 Turbo and Peugeot 205 Gti used to be known as ‘pocket rockets’. With this hand-built engine – still adhering to AMG’s ‘one-man, one-engine’ philosophy – things are definitely more ‘Scud missile’. You even get the engineer’s signature, all the better for tracing the man responsible for setting off car alarms when this thing is coaxed into life.
AMG’s standard modus operandi – lots of power sent to the rear, lots of tyre smoke – has been ditched in favour of a lightweight AMG 4MATIC all-wheel drive system. The A 45′s got big sticky rubber on all four corners and is predominately front-wheel-drive but, when it’s needed, up to 50 per cent of the power is sent to the rear. It all goes through AMG’s seven-speed DCT ‘box – which changes at the same speed as an SLS GT.
So with the help of launch control, the all-wheel-drive A 45 AMG will go from 0-100km/h in 4.6 seconds; faster than a BMW M135i and on par with Audi’s RS3. Being German, it’s wearing a velocity belt that prevents it from going over 250 km/h.
Mercedes reckons the A 45 carries true AMG DNA, and it certainly looks the part: aggressive lines, a new chin and rear, bigger cooling ducts and a plush interior. Underneath, it sits on AMG springs and is stopped by huge AMG brakes.
We’ve already had a shotgun ride in a prototype. And even though the engine is dwarfed by standard AMG V8s and V12s, there’s nothing to worry about when it comes to the noise. It has the classic AMG-burble, and on lift-off, it sounds like popcorn is being made in the exhaust. There’s an exhaust flap too, so if you’re taking it easy and trying to get the claimed 5.88 L/100Km, it’ll be nice and quiet. But if you’re hard of hearing, or like things on the loud side, you can spec an AMG Performance exhaust to take things up a notch. You should tick this box very much ‘yes’.
Price is yet to be confirmed, but AMG are apparently targeting a younger audience with the car going on sale in the U.K. in April. Speculation has it that it will cost a tad more than the BMW M135i (one of TopGear’s cars of 2012 year, remember), but crucially, cheaper than an Audi RS3. Which would you have?