First Look: Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG Previews CLA45

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Mercedes-Benz unveiled its A45 AMG hot hatch Monday night, offering a sneak peek of what we can expect from the CLA45 AMG that premieres later in March at the New York show. AMG says the engine is substantially different from the standard 2.0-liter turbocharged four powering the CLA250 that arrives in the U.S. this fall. The A45 AMG 2.0-liter four uses a twin-scroll turbocharger producing 26 psi of boost, almost twice the level of the base engine’s turbo.

It will make 360 horsepower as measured in Europe, which translates to 355 horsepower in the U.S. That’s 127.5 horsepower per liter, which Mercedes claims is the highest specific output of any production engine built today. Torque is 322 pound-feet, and Mercedes expect a 0-to-60 mph time in the mid-four-second range.

AMG sprays an iron protein onto the cylinder liners. The engine has an aluminum sand-cast block, new connecting rods, forged pistons, and a reworked cylinder head for better cooling. It has a water-to-air intercooler for better air charging and an all-new exhaust system. The A45 is available with all-wheel drive only. Its 7-speed dual-clutch transmission has different gear ratios than the AWD versions of the A250 and the CLA250 for the extra power transferred to the rear Haldex clutch.

The chassis is stiffened, and the A45 comes with Mercedes’ Sport Select -- not available in the standard A- or CLA-Class – with Comfort, Sport, and manual modes. The car also has a “race-start” setting.

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