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The next-generation Mercedes-AMG A45, coming early 2019 to the UK, is bound to jump right to the top of the hot-hatch power ladder. Mercedes has released an official teaser video of the new A45 in oversteery action on a wintry test track. Despite the car being disguised, the extended wheelarches, quad exhausts and roof spoiler clearly mark it out from the standard A-class and the Mercedes-AMG A35 ‘junior’ performance model we’ve already tried.
A replacement for AMG’s rapid hatchback has never been in doubt, but with the previous generation ‘hot’ A-class often criticised for its sterile handling, AMG is hoping the new model will not only address this, but also usurp the Audi RS3 as the fastest and most powerful hatch on sale.
The basic ingredients should remain much the same as the old A45, that is to say it’ll feature a (very) heavily boosted turbocharged 2-litre four-cylinder engine, connected to a dual-clutch gearbox and all-wheel-drive system. Industry insiders say that power is rumoured to be over 400bhp, and with the current RS3 already running close to that, we can’t imagine AMG being happy with second best with its all-new flagship hyper hatch.
The all-new A-class should provide a solid base for the A45 to be built on, too, as the standard car offers reassuring and confidence-inspiring handling. We had criticised the A-class as lacking driver engagement, but let it off lightly as the standard model has not really been designed for on-the-limit handling finesse.
However, the new A45 won’t be given such an easy time as its less focused stablemates, but judging by the prototype in these images, AMG doesn’t look to be holding back. Unlike the original A45, the new car looks to inherit wider wheelarches at the front, hiding a possible increase in front track width. Sitting distinctly lower and wider than the standard car, we’re hoping AMG’s recent form in transforming Merc’s mundane models into proper performance cars remains.
Styling-wise the A45 should pick up a variety of elements borrowed from elsewhere in the Mercedes-AMG range. One such element will be the AMG GT-aping ‘panamericana’ grille, set off with convex vertical slats. At the rear, the round exhausts have been borrowed from the new-generation AMG CLS53, sitting inside a bulkier rear fascia. The cabin should also benefit from all the usual AMG addenda, the bucket seats, AMG sports steering wheel and contrasting stitching added to an already excellent A-class interior.
We expect to see the Mercedes-AMG A45 early in 2019 priced at around GBP 45,000. Mercedes has not yet announced any plans of bringing the A45 AMG to India, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed that they do!
Words by Steve Walker