Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG: AMG’s hot hatch won’t come to the U.S., but its engine will

Mercedes-Benz took the wraps off one its most unlikely performance cars, the A45 AMG, ahead of the car’s Geneva Motor Show debut. Positioned to compete against entry-level luxury cars like the Audi S3 (also debuting in Geneva), the A45 AMG won’t be sold in the United States. However, its engine will make it into the CLA45 AMG, with which it shares a platform.

We got our first look at the A45 AMG last November, when Mercedes released photos of a lightly camouflaged prototype. It was the exact opposite of what we normally expect from AMG, Mercedes’ performance division.

AMG is known for building big, unruly sedans and sports cars with massive V8 or V12 engines. The A45, though is a small hatchback, with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine under the hood.

Still, this is AMG we’re talking about. That engine has 360 horsepower and 331 pound-feet of torque, significantly more than the 330 hp and 295 lb-ft suggested in early reports. Mercedes says this engine is the most powerful mass-produced four-cylinder in the world.

Harnessing all of that power is a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and a revised version of Mercedes’ 4Matic all-wheel drive system.

All of that hardware will get the A45 AMG from 0 to 62 mph (0 to 100 kph) in 4.6 seconds, and on to an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph. At the same time, it will return 34 mpg combined on the European cycle.

To show that this model isn’t an ordinary hatchback, AMG have the A45’s exterior a little more attitude. The obligatory big air inlets are at the front, along with an AMG-specific two slat grille. At the back, a redesigned rear bumper exhibits twin chrome exhaust tips, and a small rear spoiler does its part to keep the rear planted. The whole car is also slightly lower than a stock A-Class.

The interior gets a sporty makeover, too. Carbon fiber dashboard trim and red seatbelts and stitching should liven things up, and a set of sport seats should keep the driver and passenger in place under hard cornering. There’s also a lap timer, just in case.

AMG wants to reach out to new customers, and the A45 seems like a good way to do that. It puts AMG-style performance in a more practical package.

However, the A45 AMG won’t be sold in the U.S. Instead, Americans will get the CLA45 AMG, which is built off of the A-Class’ platform. That means it will have essentially the same chassis, and the same 2.0-liter engine, but with a more attractive body.

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