It's the 45th anniversary of Mercedes-Benz's AMG division, and the company is celebrating with yet another new model introduction: the long-rumored A45 AMG hot hatchback.
We learned this week that the first 45th-anniversary model to go on sale was the SL65 AMG, a 45-unit special edition of the V-12-powered hardtop convertible that should be as insanely fast as it is luxurious and expensive.
If you're looking for both speed and economy, however, the AMG division has another option: the A45 AMG. Based on the A-Class hatchback released this spring at the Geneva Auto Show, the A45 AMG will feature a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the AMG Speedshift seven-speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive.
As for the output of that engine, we originally heard that it would make 250 hp, but that number grew to at least 330 when we learned that the then-rumored baby AMG was benchmarking the 320-hp BMW M135i and 335-hp Audi RS3 hot hatches. Mercedes hasn't released any finalized numbers, but it did say that the car will produce "maximum torque significantly above 400 Nm (295 lb-ft)," meaning that an A45 AMG with 350 hp and 350 lb-ft wouldn't be out of the question.
Along with plenty of power, AMG promises that the car will also get speed-sensitive AMG electromechanical steering, uprated brakes, and a sportier, three-stage traction/stability control system.
The car will make its world debut some time early next year, just a few months after the November 2012 release date for the M135i. Pricing and a final sale date haven’t yet been announced.
In the meantime, Mercedes also released a family photo of every AMG model, from the small SLK55 AMG to the gigantic GL63 AMG. Parked in the back are a few models under wraps, which likely include the final A45 AMG hatchback, as well as some sort of CLA compact sedan, and the SLR AMG "baby supercar."