The upcoming Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG will be the ‘entry drug’ into the German luxury brand’s performance arm when it goes on sale locally in August 2013.
Speaking with a small group of Australian automotive media at AMG’s headquarters in Affalterbach, Germany, the company’s head of engines and powertrains, Friedrich Eichlers, said the A45 AMG will act as an “entry drug” for new buyers coming into the range and that AMG expects to gain an entirely new set of customers with its 2.0-litre turbocharged entry model.
Work on the Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG began more than four years ago and the company quickly established that a V8 or V6 would not do the job. Work quickly started on the 2.0-litre twin-scroll turbocharged engine, which is expected to have around 265kW of power and more than 400Nm of torque. Eichler says the 2.0-litre turbo four is a “big turbocharger with an engine mounted on it”.
Unlike the 6.2-litre naturally aspirated V8 (C63 and SLS), 6.0-litre twin-turbocharged V12 (S65, SL65, CL65) or the 5.5-litre bi-turbo V8 (all other models), the A45’s engine will be built offsite by trained AMG technicians to meet the car’s anticipated high demand. It will, however, still follow the brand’s “one man, one engine” philosophy, which sees the same technician follow the production of the engine from beginning to end.
But as with all AMGs, the engine is by no means the whole package. Eichlers joked that front-wheel-drive vehicles are for children, which is why the A45 AMG will be making use of a variable four-wheel-drive system, capable of pushing up to 50 per cent of its power to the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT).
He confirmed that the A45 AMG will have a 0-100km/h time starting with a four, which will make it very competitive against its main rivals, the BMW M135i and Audi RS3. He also confirmed that under testing conducted by AMG, the A45 was quicker around Germany’s Formula One track (Hockenheimring) than the M135i, Audi RS3 and even the BMW 1 Series M Coupe.
Locally, the Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG is expected to substantially increase already outperforming AMG sales. Despite our relatively small population, Australia is currently the sixth largest market for AMG vehicles outright (highest per capita) and sales are up more than 30 per cent so far this year, with the C63 leading the charge.
AMG has also enjoyed tremendous global growth in 2012, with sales up an enormous 39 per cent compared with its previous record. The growth has encouraged AMG to further expand its brand into emerging markets such as China, Russia and India.
The German powerhouse, now fully owned by Mercedes-Benz, expects to increase sales from 20,000 to 30,000 units per year by its 50th anniversary in 2017. It also plans to introduce seven new models (including the A45 AMG and CLA AMG) in the process.