The Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG hot-hatch will be one of three new models that will bring the German luxury brand’s performance models to a broader audience with sub-$100,000 price tags.
Mercedes-Benz’s most affordable AMG model is currently the $152,800 C63 AMG, but CarAdvice can reveal that the hottest A-Class will cost about $80,000 when it goes in sale in 2013 as a rival for the upcoming BMW M135i.
Company insiders have also confided to CarAdvice that it will be joined by the Mercedes-Benz CLA AMG, the flagship model of what is essentially a junior CLS four-door ‘coupe’ and will carry about a $5000 premium over the A45 AMG with which it will share its platform and mechanicals.
The CLA was previewed by the Mercedes-Benz Concept Style Coupe (pictured above) earlier this year, with CarAdvice’s sources saying the show car is about “90 per cent” representative of the production model.
A year later, in 2014, will see the introduction of an AMG version of a compact SUV, possibly to be called the BLK or GLC, that is also based on the same MFA platform as the A-Class and CLA and will also have a five-figure price tag.
Mercedes today confirmed one of its worst-kept secrets that the A45 AMG (note: images main and below are of regular A-Class with an AMG bodykit only) will employ a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, with power distributed to all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch auto.
The all-wheel-drive system will be rear-biased for sportier driving, and the AMG hatch will include high-performance brakes, sports suspension, and a three-stage stability control system with differing levels of intervention.
A torque output of more than 400Nm has also been teased, though company insiders have told CarAdvice the Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG will have a higher output per litre than a Porsche 911 GT3 thanks to a power figure of about 265kW.
That’s expected to help give the A45 AMG a 0-100km/h acceleration time below five seconds to match the rival BMW M135i (4.9 seconds claimed) that is rear-wheel drive and produces less power (235kW) but likely more torque (450Nm) from its turbocharged 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine.
The BMW M135i hatch – pictured below, and part of a new breed of cars produced by the Munich-based brand’s M performance division but sit a rung below the full M cars – is expected to have a similar price tag, setting up a perfect and enticing comparison test with the Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG.
The Audi RS3, with its 250kW 2.5-litre turbo four-cylinder could also be thrown into the mix, though Audi’s hot-hatch isn’t sold in Australia and is based on the A3 that is replaced later this year (early 2013 for Australia).
Regular versions of the all-new A-Class, which were also partly engineered by AMG, will reach Australian in the first quarter of 2013. The Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG will follow about six months later.
The range of compact AMGs are part of Mercedes’ plan to boost sales of its performance models from the 22,000 it did in 2011 to about 35,000 by 2015.
Australia is one of the world’s most popular markets per capita for Mercedes-AMG models. So far in 2012, Mercedes-Benz has sold more 63 AMG models than