AMG Readies “Entry-Level” Hot Hatch

December 06, 2017 at 12:08 PM

Daimler AG’s Mercedes-AMG performance unit plans to offer a detuned version of the A45 AMG compact hatchback.

The new A45 and A35 models will be based on Mercedes’ next-generation A-Class hatchback that’s due next year. The two-tier approach will be similar to that of the AMG “43” and “63” versions of the C- and E-Class sedans, AMG boss Tobias Moers tells Top Gear.

The 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine in the next A45 is expected to produce 400 hp, according to Top Gear. Other media reports speculate that power in the lower-level A35 likely will be limited to about 300 hp.

“I see a huge opportunity for the A35,” Moers says. In addition to less power, the A35 will have less premium content than the A45, Moers notes without elaborating.

The A35 is expected to compete against other so-called premium hot hatchbacks, such as the Ford Focus RS, Honda Civic Type R and Volkswagen Golf R. AMG’s least expensive offering in the U.S. today is the CLA45, which starts at about $50,000.

Moers also confirms plans for a mild-hybrid “53” series range that will be positioned between AMG’s current 43 and 63 offerings. The first 53 car will be the CLS53 that Mercedes will unveil at next month’s Detroit auto show. That vehicle will team AMG’s 3.0-liter inline-six engine with a 50-kW electric motor.

Separately, Moers says the current AMG S-Class could be the last to get a V-12 engine. He notes that more powerful downsized engines can provide the necessary oomph for future AMG models. But he adds that Daimler’s ultra-luxury Maybach brand may still have a need for the larger powerplant.