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by Adam Lynton
First undisguised images and details of the hotly-anticipated A45 AMG have been released by the automaker.
Europe's hot-hatch market is a tough one to crack, but with the new A45 AMG Mercedes is well equipped to compete with the likes of the BMW M135i and Audi RS3 Sportsback. AMG has confirmed the A45 AMG will make its world debut at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, a year after the new A-Class made its public debut. We've seen spy shots before, but these are the first images of the final prototype, completely undisguised save for some black tape on the lower part of the front bumper, grille wings, center section of the rear diffuser, MB monikers and side skirts.
The eagle-eye amongst you will note the A45 AMG's aero kit is identical to the AMG Sport styling package offered on the all-new third-gen A-Class. Features unique to the high-performance model include a set of 18-inch multi-spoke alloys, honeycomb grille inserts, lowered ride height, and twin trapezoidal chromed tail pipes. Under the hood, the A250's 2.0-liter four-pot direct injection turbocharged gasoline engine has been tuned to provide 349 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque in AMG's maiden hatchback, a fair jump from the 330 hp and 295lb-ft Mercedes previously quoted.
That's a significant improvement over the A250's figures of 208 hp and 221 lb-ft, and eclipses both the 315-hp BMW M135i and 335-hp Audi RS3. Power is sent to all four wheels via a seven speed dual clutch transmission, which works in tandem with a multi-plate clutch four-wheel drive system. MB officials claim the A45 AMG can sprint from standstill to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds, with top speed limited to 155 mph in standard trim and 168 mph in the optional performance package that also includes a big rear wing.
A reworked chassis of the five-door hatch features a modified version of the A-Class' suspension, lowered by around 25mm and sporting a host of new components, as well as wide tracks, electromagnetic speed-sensitive sports steering and big AMG brakes. Mercedes-Benz will not be bringing the A45 AMG stateside. Instead we'll have to make do with the same powertrain housed in the CLA 45 AMG sports sedan. In Europe, the A45 will be AMG's most affordable car when it hits showrooms next summer priced around 45,000 Euros.