There’s a moment of “Who cares?” we feel when there’s a cool car that makes headlines overseas with no hope of crossing the pond. What’s the point of mentioning it if most people will never have a shot of even seeing one in person?
That’s mostly the case with the upcoming Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG, a hotted up version of the smallest hatchback this side of a Smart that the German automaker sells. With a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that will make 350 horsepower routed to the ground via a new all-wheel-drive system, it’s forbidden fruit if ever there were some because you’re never going to drive it in the U.S.
But that doesn’t mean that you’re not going to have the engine to sample at some point in the near future. Mercedes-Benz has been hot to trot its Concept Style Coupe around all the hottest modern art museums, very quickly coming out with a more production-ready version called the CLA-Class. It’ll be sized below the C-Class, but it’ll be based on front- or all-wheel-drive architecture versus the C-Class’ rear- or all-wheel-drive system. It’ll also be paired exclusively with four-cylinder engines, whereas the the larger C-Class will have four- and six-cylinder engines as well as the possibility of another V-8 engine for the C63 AMG’s replacement.
Working between the engine and wheels of the A45 AMG’s engine will be a new seven-speed automated dual-clutch gearbox, likely also destined for the hot rod version of our Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class.
Mercedes hasn’t launched an assault on the newly emerging compact luxury sub-segment, but the CLA will likely be the first foray into it. And the sport model by way of the turbocharged four-cylinder engine is a given for it. BMW has a new 135is coupe with 320 horsepower for the U.S., and it’s all but confirmed that the next-generation 1 Series will be heading to the U.S. with more variants than just a coupe and convertible body style. While we’re not likely to get the hatchback 1 Series in the U.S., a sedan is in the works. Audi will be following a similar strategy, so Mercedes-Benz will definitely be in the thick of things.
According to Carscoop, the A45 AMG will be making its official debut in March at the Geneva Motor Show with the CLA45 AMG following shortly thereafter. Both will be going on sale within months of their debut.