The Mercedes-AMG A45 will likely storm to the top of the hot hatch power table with its upcoming flagship A-class
The new Mercedes A-class is to get some serious performance cred come early next year, with the next-generation A45 bound to jump right to the top of the hot hatch power ladder. A replacement for AMG’s rapid hatchback has never been in doubt, but with the current car often criticised for its sterile handling, AMG will be hoping this new model will be able to address this, while also usurping the Audi RS3 as the fastest, and most powerful, hot hatch on sale.
Like the current A45, the basic ingredients should remain much the same, 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. Power is rumoured to be over 300kW according to industry insiders, 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 have criticised the new A-class as still lacking in real driver engagement, but let it off lightly as the standard model has not really been designed for on-the-limit handling finesse.
The new A45 won’t be given such an easy time, 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 including bucket seats, an AMG sports steering wheel and contrasting stitching added to the already excellent A-class interior.
We expect to see the AMG A45 early next year, but this will not be the only AMG A-class offering in this generation, as Mercedes-AMG will also be targeting cars like the Audi S3 and Golf R with a lesser-powered, cheaper AMG A35. This model will likely share much of the A45’s hardware, just with the wick turned down a little and running the standard car’s narrower body. Styling should also be more subtle, mimicking standard AMG-line A-class models. With two hot hatch offerings, the new A-class will have the spread to rival Audi and VW at the top of the hot hatch class. Whether it’ll be able to entertain as much, we’ll have to wait and see.