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by Daniel DeGasperi

The Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG will be priced from $74,900 when it lands in Australia in September.

AMG’s first four-cylinder model, and first all-wheel-drive model, will cost $2500 more than an automatic-equipped BMW M135i hatchback – its closest rival.

The Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG’s 2.0-litre twin-scroll turbocharged engine produces 265kW of power and 450Nm of torque. Tied to a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, it gets to 100km/h in 4.6 seconds, and claims combined fuel usage of 6.9L/100km.

Compared with the 3.0-litre turbo six BMW, the Mercedes-Benz gets 30kW more power, identical torque, is 0.3 seconds faster to 100km/h and 0.6L/100km thriftier at the petrol bowser.

With 133kW produced per litre of swept capacity, the A45 AMG engine is claimed to be second only to the McLaren P1 for efficiency, eclipsing the Porsche 911 GT2’s specific output. The 2.0-litre turbo engine is also the most powerful production four-cylinder engine in the world.

Standard equipment on the single five-door hatchback variant includes 19-inch alloy wheels, an intelligent lighting system, panoramic glass roof, front and rear parking sensors, blind-spot warning, lane-departure detection, leather-trimmed heated and electrically-adjustable seats, COMAND online interface and a Harman/Kardon stereo.

Optional overseas, but standard in Australia, is a sports exhaust that AMG director of vehicle development Tobias Moers says lives up to the sound customers expect from its products.

“We have discussed it [sound] a lot,” Moers said. “We know from our research with customers, what drives them to buy an AMG, sound is very important.

“But I think we achieved the level of sound which is characteristic of AMG … it’s different than a V8, for sure, but the car will come with two different exhaust sysytems – the standard exhaust that is not so loud, and the sporty one where you will find that AMG sound.”

Mercedes-Benz Australia senior manager of corporate communications David McCarthy says the A45 AMG – along with its sedan sibling the CLA45 AMG due to launch next year – will eventually overtake the C63 as the best-selling AMG model in Australia.

McCarthy says more than 100 firm orders have been taken for the A45 AMG, but he expects to “easily” sell 500 per year.

Last year 1233 AMG products were sold in Australia, making us the sixth-largest country globally for sales, and the highest per capita overall. More than half of those sales were for C63 AMG models, with 766 passing through local showrooms.

If the A45 AMG and CLA45 AMG can match or eclipse that figure next year, and new E63 and C63 Edition 507 sales help those models remain steady, local AMG volume would rise by a third in total to around 2000 sales.

McCarthy cautions that supply issues, particularly with the A45 AMG, may affect this result. Although citing 1500 units as a realistic minimum for AMG sales next year, and a conservative target, he admits he would “like [the sales number] to start with two”.