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As part of its 45th-anniversary hoopla AMG has released highlights of its first compact model, the appropriately-named A45 AMG, which is due for world release in the first quarter of 2013.
It's also Affalterbach's first transverse-engined project but no, thankfully it's not their first front-wheel drive - it has a dual-clutch semi-auto gearbox and performance-oriented all-wheel drive.
It'll be powered by an all-new two-litre, four-cylinder turbopetrol for which AMG doesn't reveal power output, but whets our appetite by quoting torque 'significantly above 400 Nm', mated to a seven-speed AMG SpeedShift DCT sports transmission.
AMG chairman Ola Källenius said: “This is going to be the most dynamic, most powerful and at the same time most efficient four-cylinder series production compact car on the market.”
Agile handling also comes courtesy of AMG sports suspension with specially developed front and rear axles, speed-sensitive electro-mechanical sports steering, high-performance brakes and a three-stage electronic stability programme with 'Sport Handling' mode.
According to Källenius the A45 (which will be the top model in the A-Class range) is aimed at a new target group, younger than the traditional AMG buyer at 30-45.
“These customers are professionally successful and independent; they're looking for a compact, dynamic and individual car from a recognised performance brand. The A 45 will to appeal to prospective new customers with attractive pricing and help open up new markets.”
AMG has been involved in the development of the compact Mercedes-Benz vehicle architecture for front and all-wheel drive right from the beginning.
The front axle, tuned suspension, black-painted five-spoked wheels shod with 235/40 rubber and red brake callipers you see on the A250 Sport in the picture - and its A220 CDI Sport diesel sibling - were all engineered by AMG.
All-wheel drive is set to play a bigger role at AMG in the future too, not just on SUV's and G-Class beetle-crushers but on high-performance road cars as well, starting with the A45.