Soon to enter Europe's hot hatch segment is Mercedes-Benz's AMG operation with its own powered-up version of the third-generation A-class. The new entry-level AMG model, which will feature a supercharged four-cylinder power and four-wheel drive, is expected to compete with the next-gen Ford Focus RS and Volkswagen Golf R.
It will start selling about a year after the 2012 introduction of the standard versions of the new A-class. "A breakthrough project" for Mercedes' performance car division is how many are referring to AMG's A-class. Ola Kallenius, AMG's newly installed boss, said that this marks the start of a new direction for the company.
This project is also seen to expose AMG to an entirely new, younger and more dynamic customer base. The development of a new four-cylinder engine, which runs both forced induction and the latest multi-cycle direct injection, is already well-advanced, according to engineers at the company's Affalterbach headquarters on the outskirts of Stuttgart.
This engine, which is based on Mercedes' existing M271 EVO unit, will be the first AMG engine to be equipped with wave-pulse supercharger technology designed with partner, Swiss company Hyprex.
Since the Golf R is considered to be its performance benchmark for the hot A-class, the engine is expected to have an output of 270bhp and 280lb ft of torque.
A new dual-clutch gearbox and the multi-plate clutch four-wheel drive system, which Mercedes-Benz is preparing for the new GLC junior off-roader, will be channeling those reserves. According to AMG insiders, the four-wheel drive system will be specially adapted using exclusive software to give a distinct rear-biased distribution of power.