By Mark Atkinson for MSN Autos
We praised Mercedes-Benz' second effort at a front-drive five-door hatch after testing the all-new B250 last fall, and the swoopy four-door CLA-Class 'coupe' based on the same mechanicals wowed us at the North American International Auto Show. And although not familiar to most Canadians, the smaller A-Class hatch - the third sibling -has been a similar success in Europe.
Given that AMG, the company's in-house go-faster division, has been tasked with transforming every single product Mercedes-Benz offers (except the Sprinter), we knew a high-powered compact based on these kissing cousins wouldn't be far along. Guess we were right: this is the A 45 AMG.
The car has been officially revealed ahead of its debut at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show and we'll give you a run-down on the juiciest details. Somehow, AMG managed to tweak and boost the 2.0-litre four-cylinder found in the B 250 from 210 horsepower to over 360 in the A45. Torque takes a similar jump: up from 260 lb-ft to 330. The seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual has been beefed up to handle the extra power, but the A 45 AMG does get help with traction thanks to 4MATIC all-wheel drive.
The combination means the A45 does the 0-100 km/h sprint in just 4.6 seconds and tops out at a limited 250 km/h. Amazingly, Mercedes-Benz also claims fuel consumption average of only 6.9-7.1 L/100 km on the European cycle. The Canadian B 250 does 7.9 L/100 km in the city and 5.5 on the highway, so that's some impressive work.
As you'd expect, the front and rear suspension components are heavily revised, including an AMG-spec four-link axle in the back. High-performance 235/40R18 rubber on twin-spoke AMG wheels is standard, while larger drilled and slotted brakes work to bring the A 45 AMG down from speed quickly and without drama.
The visual changes are equally dramatic with different and more aggressive fascias, vents and twin square tailpipes. The interior boasts more supportive front seats, an AMG-specific steering wheel and more.
We're guessing the A 45 AMG won't come to North America, but we'd bet our lunch that the upcoming CLA-Class will certainly benefit from the same attention in a year or two. Maybe even the B-Class, but that's less likely...
What's your take on AMG's effort? Worth the money? Trying too hard? Do you like it or not?