Details have been published on an AMG performance version of the Mercedes A-Class hatchback, which is expected to reach showroom in early 2013.
The new third-generation Mercedes A-Class was first revealed back in March during the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, where it was revealed CO2 emissions for the car would start from as low as 99g/km.
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Orders for the standard model are set to open in August 2012, with first customer deliveries reaching the UK in September.
Now Mercedes has revealed details on the range-topping A45 AMG specification for the A-Class. With prices reportedly expected to start from around £32,000, the A-Class should offer the cheapest performance model in the entire Mercedes line-up.
The A-Class AMG should also challenge other performance hatchbacks on the market like the similarly priced BMW M135i and the Audi RS3 Sportback.
Under the bonnet the A-Class AMG will utilise a 2.0-litre petrol engine, similar to the one found on the A250 Sport specification. The output however receives a large boost from 208bhp to 330bhp.
That's 14bhp more compared to the 316bhp BMW M135i and just 5bhp less than the 335bhp Audi RS3 Sportback.
To handle this extra power the A-Class AMG swaps the standard front-wheel drive powertrain with a four-wheel drive set up and a stiffer suspension package. An upgraded steering system and larger vented brake discs are other changes from the standard A-Class.
The anti-roll bars are also thicker compared to the standard A-Class, to prevent extra body roll through the corners.
The A-Class AMG will also feature a seven-speed dual clutch gearbox.
Performance figures for the A-Class AMG have not been confirmed, but Mercedes has hinted the hatchback will match the BMW M135i, which covers the 0-62mph sprint in 5.1 seconds and has an electronically limited top speed of 155mph.
This acceleration time however falls short of the Audi RS3 Sportback which covers 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds.
Styling-wise the A-Class AMG is given an exclusive body kit, to improve aerodynamics and to make the car stand out compared to the rest of the range. The kit includes a new rear bumper with an integrated diffuser, a restyled front grille and a rear spoiler.
Further details including final pricing for the A-Class A45 AMG will be revealed closer to its launch date.