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by Tim Beissmann

The Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG has been officially unveiled ahead of the ground-breaking hot-hatch’s world premiere at next month’s Geneva motor show.

The German car maker’s first ever high-performance compact production car will launch in its domestic market in June before arriving in Australia in the second half of the year, assuming the halo position atop the all-new Mercedes-Benz A-Class hatchback range.

With maximum outputs of 265kW (at 6000rpm) and 450Nm (2250-5000rpm), the Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG’s turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine boasts the title of the most powerful series production four-pot in the world.

With a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission sending power to all four wheels, the A45 AMG flies off the mark to 100km/h in a Porsche 911-rivalling 4.6 seconds and comfortably achieves its 250km/h electronically limited top speed.

Despite its brutal performance, the hot-hatch is also environmentally sensitive, consuming 6.9 litres per 100km on the combined cycle and complying with Euro 6 emissions standards that are not due to be enforced overseas until 2015.

Despite having, at best, half as many cylinders as the rest of its Affalterbach-built AMG-badged siblings, Mercedes insists the A45’s sports exhaust system with an automatically controlled exhaust flap (shared with the SLK55 AMG) will emit a “fascinating, full engine sound which is particularly impressive during powerful acceleration”. An AMG Performance exhaust system will also be available optionally to provide “an even more emotional and striking engine sound” with the throttle open and during gearshifts.

Just like AMG’s eight- and 12-cylinder engines, the new 2.0-litre will be built by hand following the company’s “one man, one engine” philosophy.

The suspension, electromechanical steering and high-performance brakes are also uniquely tuned by AMG in the pursuit of agile cornering, quality feedback, reduced roll, precise steering and spontaneous and reliable deceleration.

Distinguishing the Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG from the regular A-Class is a signature AMG twin-blade radiator grille with bold three-point star badge; a dark finish to the front spitter, air intake ‘flics’, wing mirrors, side skirt inserts and rear diffuser; 18-inch titanium grey light-alloy wheels; and ‘Turbo AMG’ lettering over the front wheel arches.

Cabin highlights include man-made leather/microfibre sports seats with red contrast stitching, multi-function steering wheel with shift paddles, carbonfibre-look dashboard panel, red seatbelts, and an AMG instrument cluster with colour display and Racetimer function.

The Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG is expected to cost around $80,000 when it launches in Australia later this year. Full pricing and specification details will be revealed in the lead-up to the car’s local launch.

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