Following the Geneva debut of the A 45 AMG hatchback, Mercedes-Benz has unveiled its four-door variant, the CLA 45 AMG, just ahead of its 2013 New York International Auto Show debut.
AMG’s four-door coupe comes with the same powerplant from the A 45 AMG hot hatch, the world’s most powerful four-cylinder engine in a series production model today - a 2.0-liter turbocharged unit that develops 355-horses (360PS) and 450 Nm (332 lb-ft) of torque.
The car itself is no longer a surprise, after the leaked photos from earlier this month. However, we now have full technical and spec details. The Euro 6-compliant 2.0-liter engine is rated at 6.9 liters/100 km (34 US mpg), just like in the A 45 AMG. Fuel economy is pretty impressive, given that we’re dealing with a high-performance four-wheel drive vehicle.
Speaking of performance numbers, they are identical to the A 45 AMG’s: the zero to 100 km/h (62 mph) sprint is completed in 4.6 seconds, with top speed electronically limited to 250 km/h (155 mph). Compare that to Audi’s recently unveiled S3 Sedan, and the Merc is 0.3 seconds faster to 100 km/h. However, Audi may also launch an RS3 variant later, which would be the direct competitor to the CLA 45 AMG.
As with the eight- and twelve-cylinder engines, the new AMG four-cylinder turbo engine is hand-built according to the traditional AMG philosophy of “one man, one engine”. The unit is paired to a dual-clutch 7-speed AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7 gearbox, whose software modules have been adopted from the flagship SLS AMG supercar.
The transmission has a so-called “Momentary M mode”, which enables the driver to activate manual mode “M” without having to remove a hand from the steering wheel, simply by pressing the up or down shift paddle once. There’s also an “S” sport mode and a Controlled Efficiency mode “C” which favors fuel consumption over performance. The latter automatically activates the ECO start/stop function.
Under normal driving conditions, the CLA 45 AMG is front-wheel drive, but when driving dynamics require more grip, torque is split between front and rear axles up to a ratio of 50:50 percent. Mercedes says its front-biased AMG 4MATIC AWD system weighs up to 25 percent less than similar systems from the competition.
A 3-stage ESP with Curve Dynamic Assist helps keep the CLA 45 AMG on track, as does the AMG sports suspension with independent front and rear axle that ride on 18-inch AMG light-alloy wheels.
Aesthetically, the CLA 45 AMG uses a similar aero kit as the A 45 AMG, although Mercedes notes the car’s resemblance with the CLS 63 AMG. They’re obviously talking about the profile and the rear end, which could be mistaken for its larger and more expensive brother due to the similar taillights and raked rear window.
On the inside, everything is just like in the A 45 AMG, with an identical dashboard, sport seats and an array of features available.
The CLA 45 AMG will go on sale in July 2013 in Germany, with market launch scheduled for September. Prices there start from €56,078 ($71,981), while in the US, the CLA 45 AMG will be priced from a much more competitive $47,450 (€37,067) with sales to start this spring.
By Dan Mihalascu