2018 Mercedes-AMG A 45 to be world’s most powerful hot hatch

Next-generation Mercedes-AMG A 45 hot hatch to have 400+bhp when it arrives in 2018, and our exclusive image shows how it could look

The next Mercedes-AMG A 45 will once again become the world’s most powerful hot hatch, dethroning the 394bhp Audi RS 3 when it launches at the end of 2018.

AMG has seen huge success with the current 376bhp version of the A 45; its importance has meant that AMG boss Tobias Moers and his team have been given the green light to develop an entirely new car, which is previewed by our exclusive image above.

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“We’ve started working on the next generation, and it’s a blank piece of paper for my engineers,” Moers told Auto Express earlier this year.

The existing AMG A 45 was previously the world’s most powerful hot hatch, with its 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo producing 355bhp at launch, before subsequently being boosted to its current 376bhp output. However, Moers has hinted the new car will be even more powerful as when asked whether the figure would be above 400bhp, he replied: “Yes, I think so.”

Like the current model, the next A 45 will stick with its four-wheel drive and dual-clutch gearbox powertrain.

Moers also admitted that the most extreme version of the A-Class could leave space in the range for a slightly more modest AMG edition, in the same way as the V8-powered C 63 AMG has been joined by the V6 C 43.

• New Mercedes A-Class to grow in size

Moers said: “The 43 AMGs are a different segment – a sports segment, where there are natural players from Audi and BMW. The gap between a [not for UK] C 400 and a C 63 was enormous, in terms of driving dynamics and performance, so there was space there.”

Asked if there could be a similarly useful amount of space between the A 250 and next AMG A 45, he stated: “Maybe.”

A more modest AMG A-Class would give Mercedes a rival for the Audi S3 and BMW’s hottest 1 Series, the 335bhp M140i. “The A 45 gives us the volume, and the volume is important for our future,” Moers added.

“The A-Class works well for us. There was a business case for it, it has been selling and the board has been happy with us. It’s not just one car, either; it’s four, with the A 45, CLA 45, CLA 45 Shooting Brake and GLA 45. This gives us the freedom to move forward into the future, with the next generation.”

The new Mercedes-AMG A 45 is likely to follow the Mk4 A-Class to market towards the end of 2018, with prices likely to kick off from around £45,000.

What the new Mercedes-AMG A 45 has to beat

Mercedes-AMG is promising more than 400bhp for the new A 45; we look at what it’s fighting against.

Audi RS 3 (394bhp)

Audi RS3 Sportback - front

The RS 3 is the current power king. Audi’s famous 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo develops 394bhp, while quattro AWD is also fitted.

Ford Focus RS (345bhp)

Ford Focus RS - road corner

At just over £30,000, Focus RS offers the biggest bang for your buck, producing 345bhp. All-wheel drive and a new Drift mode only add to its appeal.

Honda Civic Type R (316bhp)

UK Honda Civic Type R 2017 - front quarter

It’s the only front-wheel drive car here, but it’s arguably the best to drive. The 2.0-litre turbo engine produces 316bhp and 400Nm of torque.

The one that got away

Volkswagen Golf R400 (394bhp)

A victim of Volkswagen’s dieselgate scandal, the Golf R400 project was axed in an increased effort to help dramatically cut costs at the German brand.

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