AMG, the high-performance arm of Mercedes-Benz, is relying on the new hot A-class to hit its target of raising sales by 50% over the next five years. Presently, AMG sells around 20,000 global units but it hopes to increase the number to 30,000 on its 50th anniversary in 2017. Considered as a key to this plan is the A45 AMG -- the new 330bhp, four-wheel-drive flagship A-class. This is the first of three compact AMG offerings that will be based on Mercedes’ A-class and B-class models. To sum it up, the AMG range will have eight or nine new offerings that are included in a model strategy dubbed AMG Performance 50.
For now, the C-class AMG models make up around 20-25% of AMG’s total sales. However, the company believes that the A45 mega-hatch and other two small cars will later make up around 20%. The A45 AMG will be competing with the RS3 from Audi and the M135i from BMW. According to AMG officials, the A45 underwent dry-weather testing around the Nürburgring Nordschleife where it did better than the RS3 and did the same as the M135i.
But during rain, the four-wheel drive system of the Merc model made it perform better than both. The A45 AMG’s official performance figures weren’t released yet but expect it to have an output of 325-330bhp and a maximum torque higher than 295lb ft. It’s believed to have a peak torque of more or less 4300rpm but about 90% will be available from 1500rpm. A newly designed Recaro bucket front seat will go on the A45 AMG. This seat will later be used throughout the AMG product line. It will also get a redesigned double-blade front grille that will set the styling tone for the cars in the future.