AMG does not exist for the sole purpose of building very expensive road-going muscle-Mercs, although they do provide a welcome revenue stream. It also has a thriving competition department, building pukka racing cars such as the SLS AMG GT3, which in 2012 scooped up the European GT3 championship, the GT1 World Championship and the ADAC GT Masters title.
But this is something different: a concept racing car for international series that don't exist - yet.
The Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG Racing Series is intended to offer customer teams a competitive, close-to-standard weapon for classes open to four-cylinder, turbocharged two-litre cars - much like the crowd-pulling DTM series - and could be offered internationally if demand is strong enough.
AMG is willing to the vary the technical specification to suit the rules for a particular series, dialling the engine output up or down to comply with local regulations, with permanent all-wheel drive or conventional front-wheel drive on request.
CHASSIS AND BODY: PURE RACING TECHNOLOGY
The special racing suspension has a wider track, front and rear, than the production CLA; ride height, spring rate and damping are fully adjustable, as are track and camber all round. Antilock braking is standard on the AMG high-performance, ventilated disc brakes, as are forged ultra-light rims and Dunlop slicks.
The carbon-fibre body kit is even more radical than on the street-legal CLA 45 AMG, including a new front apron with a splitter, a rear diffuser with three fins and an adjustable rear aerofoil, flared wings and side-sill panels, a carbon-fibre rear wing and gaping air intakes for engine and brake cooling.
The interior is dominated by a roll-cage made of high-strength steel and a carbon-fibre Recaro P 1300 GT racing bucket seat, complete with clips for an F1-style Head and Neck Support device, a built-in fire-extinguishing system and a racing steering wheel with paddle shifters.