The most hotly anticipated small Mercedes-Benz model since the 190E 2.3 16v (at its time, it was considered a small car for the German brand), the new A45 AMG, has been exposed for the first time with scarcely any camouflage.
In these fresh pictures, the final production model wears some black tape on the lower part of the front bumper, the grille wings, the Mercedes-Benz monikers, the center section of the rear diffuser and the side skirts, but other than that, it’s as naked as a newborn baby.
Those of you paying close attention to the new A-Class will likely have noticed that the A45 AMG's aero kit is identical to the AMG Sport styling package offered on the regular hatchback, with the only true differences between the two coming from the bigger, 18-inch multispoke alloy wheels, the honeycomb grille inserts, and the trapezoidal (instead of oval) tailpipes.
Underneath the body, however, it's a different story as AMG engineers have made some serious modifications to the A250's 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with direct injection and turbocharging technology.
Mercedes-Benz had told us earlier this year that the tuned engine would make around 330hp (335PS) and over 295lb ft (400Nm) of peak torque, but now we learn that AMG has managed to drill more power out of the four-banger, which is now rated at 350-horsepower and 332 lb-ft (450Nm).
In the A45, an AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed sports transmission with dual clutch technology will work together with an all-wheel drive system to transfer power to the road.
The chassis of the five-door hatchback has been reworked and features new suspension and steering system settings and components, wider tracks, reworked electronic aids and stronger brakes.
The A45 AMG, which will not be sold in North America where Mercedes-Benz will instead offer the CLA 45 AMG sports sedan with the same powertrain, is scheduled for a world premiere at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show next March before it goes on sale later in the year.