The company’s cool hatchback goes wilder than ever!

The Mercedes-AMG A45 is a high-performance version of the fourth-generation hatchback. The five-door model was spotted testing numerous times in Europe, and it will break cover in production form by the end of 2019. The AMG A45 will join existing versions of the regular model as well as the AMG A35 that the company introduced earlier in 2019. Although the A-Class is now in its fourth-generation, this will be only the second generation of the AMG A45 model.

Much like its predecessor, the upcoming AMG A45 will look like a beefed-up A-Class on the outside. We’ve already seen the AMG A35, so it’s safe to assume that Mercedes-Benz will only enhance a few features. The two hatchbacks will be very similar inside the cabin, where Mercedes brings together the A-Class’ impressive design and tech with unique and sporty features. Under the hood, an AMG-prepped four-cylinder will deliver close to 400 horsepower. For the first time ever, Mercedes will roll out an AMG A45 S version with more than 400 horses. Let’s find out more about that in the speculative review below.

Exterior

  • Similar to AMG A35
  • Race-inspired Panamerica grille
  • Larger bumper vents
  • Black trim
  • New wheels
  • Big tailgate wing
  • Redesigned diffuser
  • Quad-exhaust layout
  • Very aggressive overall
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The AMG A45 features the Panamericana grille that Mercedes-Benz introduced with the AMG GT supercar

Having already seen the AMG A35, it’s easy to predict how the beefed-up A45 version will look, but these new spy shots also provide some valuable hints. The front fascia remains familiar, with angular headlamps that become thinner toward the sides and wider toward the grille. The latter retains the traditional shape seen on all new Mercedes-Benz models, but it’s notably bigger and extends more into the bumper. This element is also the only one that’s notably different when compared to the AMG A35. Instead of the two horizontal slats, it has 12 vertical bars, and it’s painted black. All told, we’re looking at the Panamericana grille that Mercedes-Benz introduced with the AMG GT supercar and then added to all range-topping AMG models. The A-Class is the smallest Merc to benefit from this grille.

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The bumper also retains the A-shaped design with two vents to the sides and a longer opening in the center, but all have been revised compared to the AMG A35. The side vents are a bit bigger, but they each still feature a couple of thin, horizontal, black slots. The center intake is similar to the AMG A35’s, but the grille has a different design, most like to provide the extra cooling that the more powerful engine needs. Finally, the center splitter doesn’t seem to be integrated into the lower apron like on the AMG A35. Instead, it appears to be a separate piece. The camouflage also seems to hide small winglets similar to those seen on the AMG A35.

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The dual exhaust pipe layout of the AMG A35 was ditched for a four-quad configuration

The profile doesn’t change much compared to the AMG A35. At least not on this prototype. We can see camouflaged side skirts that are a bit more aggressive and new wheels, but everything else appears to be the same. Actually, some features are still similar to the regular A-Class, such as the chromed window frames and the body-colored mirror caps. Both will be black on the production model.

In the rear, the AMG A45 prototype is still an A-Class with mild revisions. The roof spoiler, for instance, is similar to the entry-level model and has an almost vertical element attached to it. Looking at the AMG A35, which features a sporty wing, it’s safe to assume that Mercedes-Benz will make more changes here. Expect a wing similar to the A35, but notably bigger. While the side vents in the rear bumper are similar to the regular A-Class, the lower section and diffuser are unique to this model. The camouflage prevents us from seeing any actual features, but it’s obvious that the A35’s vertical flics are missing. As expected, the dual exhaust pipe layout was ditched for a four-quad configuration, which is similar to other range-topping AMG models.

2020 Mercedes-AMG A45
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All told, the AMG A45 isn’t radically different from the AMG A35, but the front grille and the rear bumper give it a more aggressive, race-inspired vibe. A larger roof spoiler should add more sportiness to the final version of the hot-hatchback.

Interior

  • Similar to AMG A35
  • Sportier setup
  • Leather upholstery
  • Alcantara inserts
  • Sportier seats
  • Black color overall
  • Colored stitching
  • Big displays
  • MBUX infotainment system
  • Trunk slight bigger than the competition
2019 Mercedes-AMG A35 Interior
- image 796024
Just like the AMG A35, the AMG A45 will stand out thanks to a number of unique features

Just like the exterior, the interior is a slightly beefed-up version of the AMG A35 that’s already in dealerships. We already know that the cabin borrows heavily from the bigger Mercedes-Benz models. It includes the same wing-shaped, multi-tier dashboard, high-tech-looking center stack, and the turbine air vents. It also features the company’s latest 10.25-inch displays placed next to each other, which makes it seem like the car has one large screen stretching from behind the steering wheel to the passenger-side dash.

Just like the AMG A35, the AMG A45 will stand out thanks to several unique features. Leather upholstery will be standard, but it will be all-black, a trend in modern performance vehicles. Mercedes-Benz offers a black and grey combo in the AMG A35, so maybe there hope for an optional two-tone layout. If not, you’ll have to settle for red contrast stitching and piping for a dash of color. While red will be standard, Mercedes could offer other accent colors, like blue or green, too. These accent colors should also adorn the A/C rings.

2019 Mercedes-AMG A35 Interior
- image 796023
Carbon-fiber trim might be standard in the AMG A45

The steering wheel should be very similar to that in the AMG A35. It should have a flattened bottom, perforated leather on the grip area, and red contrast stitching. It should also include built-in touch control buttons that can be used to intuitively select the displays of the instrument cluster and the multimedia system by means of horizontal and vertical swiping, just like on a smartphone. However, the round controlled that’s optional in the AMG A35 might be standard in the A45. This feature adds an integrated display beneath the right-hand steering-wheel spoke and two vertically positioned color display buttons with switches beneath the left-hand steering-wheel spoke. You can use these to activate and change the AMG drive programs.

The AMG-specific center console, already seen in the AMG A35, features additional buttons that control the manual transmission mode, the Adaptive Damping System, and the ESP. It features either a piano lacquer or silver chrome finish in the A35, but it could change to carbon-fiber in the A45 model.

2019 Mercedes-AMG A35
- image 841692
The two displays should also have bespoke start-up screen and apps

Just like its predecessor, the AMG A45 will feature the sportiest seats you can get in an A-Class. These new seats will provide increased lateral support not only for spirited driving on the highway but also for track performance.

The two displays should also have bespoke start-up screen and apps. The Supersport mode, for instance, will show a central, round rev counter and information presented in the form of bars to the left and right of the. The AMG menu will also enable you to select various special displays such as Warm-up, Set-up, G-Force, and Engine Data, just like in the AMG A35.

2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class Exterior
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Of course, the AMG A45 will also come with the company’s latest MBUX infotainment system. It has the ability to learn thanks to artificial intelligence, it’s highly customizable, and includes all the latest apps and connectivity features. The A45 should also feature the AMG Track Pace, a virtual race engineer that keeps you posted on track performance. It records more than 80 performance-related data and displays lap and sector times if you’re using it on the track and it keeps track of reference times so you can improve your benchmarks.

AMG Track Pace also uses GPS and other sensors to detect when you leave a race track or shorten your lap. The app already includes maps for tracks like the Nurburgring or Spa Francorchamps, but you can record your own circuits.

With the rear seats folded flat, the AMG A45 will be able to swallow up to 42.7 cubic feet of luggage

Despite the increase performance, the AMG A45 will remain just as practical as the regular A-Class. The hatchback now offers 13 cubic feet of cargo room, a minor one-pound-foot increase compared to the outgoing model. That’s 1.1 cubic feet more than the Audi RS3 Sportback, the A45’s closest rival, which is rated at 11.8 cubic feet. BMW doesn’t offer a full-fledged M version of the 1 Series, but we can compare it to the M140i. The Bimmer offers a bit more room than the RS3 Sportback, but it falls behind the AMG A45 at 12.7 cubic feet. It’s worth noting that the new-generation 1 Series could climb above with a larger trunk.

With the rear seats folded flat, the AMG A45 will be able to swallow up to 42.7 cubic feet of luggage. That’s 1.2 cubic feet more than the Audi RS3 Sportback and a minor 0.4 cubic feet more than the BMW M140i. These rival hatchbacks are rated at 41.5 and 42.4 cubic feet, respectively.

Compared to its sedan counterpart, the A-Class Sedan, which will also spawn an AMG A45 version soon, the hatchback offers less luggage room behind the second-row seats. The sedan is rated at 14.8 cubic feet, which accounts for an extra 1.2 cubic feet. It’s not much, but it could make a difference. Obviously, the hatchback wins by a large margin when the second-row seats are folded.

Drivetrain

  • 2.0-liter four-cylinder
  • Close to 400 horsepower
  • AMG A45 S model with 400+ horses
  • Dual-clutch transmission
  • Less than 4 seconds to 60 mph
  • Top speed of up to 174 mph
  • Permanent AWD
2020 Mercedes-AMG A45
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The hatchback’s upgraded 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine will generate 383 horsepower

The AMG A45 will share drivetrain components with the AMG A35, but all of them will be revised for higher performance. We already know that the A250 model benefits from 224 horsepower and that the AMG A35 comes with 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet on tap, so it’s safe to assume that the AMG A45 will generate significantly more than that.

The previous AMG A45 hatchback also gives us a good idea as to what to expect. Launched with 355 horsepower and 332 pound-feet back in 2013, the A45’s drivetrain was upgraded to a solid 376 horses and 350 pound-feet in 2015. There’s no official info as to how much power will the new A45 arrive with, but Autocar found out that the hatchback’s upgraded 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine will generate 383 horsepower. That’s only a seven-horsepower increase, but the lighter and stiffer platform will enable the redesigned hatchback to be quicker and more agile.

2020 Mercedes-AMG A45
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The German firm also plans to offer a more powerful version with the A45 S badge, rated at 416 horsepower

But Mercedes-Benz won’t stop here. The German firm also plans to offer a more powerful version with the A45 S badge, just like it does with the larger C-Class, E-Class, and S-Class models. This hatchback will generate 416 horsepower, an extra 40 horses compared to the outgoing model. That’s also a whopping 110 horsepower more than the AMG A35. Torque should also increase dramatically with this model to around 400 pound-feet.

Mercedes-AMG A35 2014 Mercedes-AMG A45 2020 Mercedes-AMG A45 2020 Mercedes-AMG A45 S
Engine 2.0-litre R4 with exhaust turbocharger 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder 2.0-liter four-cylinder 2.0-liter four-cylinder
Displacement 1991 cc 1991 1991 cc 1991 cc
Max. output 225 kW (306 hp) at 5800-6100 rpm 265 kW (360 hp) at 6000 rpm 383 HP 416 HP
Peak torque 400 Nm at 3000-4000 rpm 450 Nm at 2250 - 5000 rpm TBA TBA
Acceleration 0-100 km/h 4.7 s 4.6 s 4.1 s 3.9 s
Top speed 250 km/h 250 km/h 250 km/h 250 km/h

Already the most powerful production car with a four-cylinder engine, the AMG A45 will become even more extreme. It will also boast an even more impressive horsepower-per-liter ratio. While the old hatchback is impressive enough at 187.5 horses per liter, which puts it on par with the Bugatti Chiron, the new S model will have 208 horses per liter. That’s 64 more than the AMG GT R sports car, powered by a twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8.

The extra power should enable the hatchback to hit 60 mph around two tenths quicker than the previous hatchback
2020 Mercedes-AMG A45
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The new AMG A45 S will also outgun its rivals. Now the most powerful hot-hatch on the market, the Audi RS3 features a 2.5-liter five-cylinder mill rated at 400 horsepower and 354 pound-feet. The A45 S will deliver an extra 16 horsepower and almost 50 pound-feet more. Also, the AMG A45 will have a bit more oomph than the BMW M2 Competition, which cranks out 404 horsepower thanks to a 3.0-liter inline-six engine. Of course, the M2 isn’t a proper competitor for the AMG A45, but the upcoming 1M, based on the recently unveiled 1 Series, will probably have a similar engine and output.

The extra power, the lighter body and underpinnings, and the revised dual-clutch transmission should enable the hatchback to hit 60 mph around two tenths quicker than the previous hatchback, or four seconds flat. The S model will probably be a tenth or two quicker, so expect it to hit the same speed in 3.9 seconds or less. While the regular AMG A45 will be just as quick as the Audi RS3 Sportback, the AMG A45 S will be at least one second faster. The same comparison is valid versus the BMW M2, which has identical performance specs.

2020 Mercedes-AMG A45
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Top speed will be limited to 155 mph as usual, but Mercedes might offer an option to increase it to 174 mph. Similar options are available for the Audi RS3 Sportback and the BMW M2 Competition, so Merc might want to match that for similar performance ratings.

Safety

2020 Mercedes-AMG A45
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The current A-Class is one of the most advanced vehicles in its class in terms of safety features, and the AMG A45 will borrow the same technology. The regular five-door model and the AMG A35 both come with an impressive array of active and passive systems, starting with the car’s ability to keep a close eye on the traffic with an improved camera and radar systems that allow it to see up to 500 meters (0.3 miles) ahead. The use of navigation data and the Active Distance Assist Distronic system will give the high-performance hatchback semi-autonomous capability, a unique feature in this class.

The AMG A45 will also include Active Emergency Stop Assist, Active Lane Change Assist, and Active Brake Assist as standard. The Pre-Safe Plus, borrowed from larger models, will be offered as an option. Passive features will include airbags for the driver and front passenger, a driver’s kneebag, and window airbags on both sides as standard. The latter also covers the A-pillar, yet another class-leading feature. Thorax-pelvis side bags are standard in the front and optional for the rear passenger compartment.

Prices

2020 Mercedes-AMG A45
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Pricing information for the upcoming Mercedes-AMG A45 is not yet available. But given that the AMG A35 version starts from £34,645, the AMG A45 should start from around £45,000. The more powerful AMG45 S model should retail from around £49,000 before options. The hatchback won’t be sold in the U.S., where only the sedan variant will be offered.

Competition

Audi RS3 Sportback

2018 Audi RS 3 Sportback High Resolution Exterior
- image 705088

The RS3 maybe only four years old as of 2019, but it’s actually a bit long in the tooth since it’s based on a hatchback that went into production back in 2012. The good news is that Audi updated the model 2017, so it has a few fresh design cues to brag about. Granted, its interior doesn’t look as cool, and the technology isn’t as good, but the RS3 Sportback has enough power to stand up to the upcoming AMG A45. Its 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine, a rarity among the four-cylinder units powerful most hatchbacks, cranks out a solid 400 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque. The sprint to 60 mph takes only four seconds, while top speed goes up to 174 mph with the Dynamic Package. Sure, the RS3 Sportback won’t be a match for the range-topping AMG A45 S, but a redesign is expected soon, and this means that a new-generation RS3 with more power could arrive in 2020. Meanwhile, the old RS3 Sportback retails from £46,285. Just like the AMG A45, the RS3 isn’t available in the United States in hatchback form.

Read our full review of the 2019 Audi RS3 Sportback.

BMW 1M

2018 BMW 1M Sedan High Resolution Exterior Exclusive Renderings Computer Renderings and Photoshop
- image 683519

The BMW 1M doesn’t exist just yet, but the nameplate might return with the new-generation 1 Series. The brand-new hatchback was unveiled in May 2019 and marks a radical shift from a rear-wheel- to a front-wheel-drive architecture. Until the 1M makes a comeback though, you’re stuck with the old-generation M140i. As the name suggests, this isn’t a full-fledged M car, but a model that’s better suited to tackle the AMG A35 model Powered by a 3.0-liter six-cylinder, the M140i comes with "only" 335 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque on tap. It’s obviously slower than the upcoming AMG A45, as it needs 4.3 seconds to hit 60 mph from a standing start. Top speed is limited to 155 mph, with no option to increase it to 174 mph. The one cool advantage the M140 has is that it can be bought with a six-speed manual gearbox, while the competition comes with automatic transmissions only. But this version is being discontinued as we speak. The 1 Series isn’t offered in the United States. U.K. pricing for the five-door model starts from £35,250.

Read our speculative review of the BMW 1M.

Conclusion

2020 Mercedes-AMG A45
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The previous-generation Mercedes-AMG A45 set a new standard on the premium performance hatchback market and needless to say; the upcoming model is set to up the ante in just about every department. With the existing Audi RS3 Sportback barely able to keep up with the outgoing Merc and BMW not yet offering a proper M version of the 1 Series, Mercedes-Benz will once again dominate this segment. At least of a few more years, until the competition comes up with proper rivals. The sad news is that this hatchback isn’t coming to the U.S., so you’ll have to settle for the sedan version of the AMG A45, also set to debut in a few months. It will be just as cool and fast, but it won’t have the enhanced trunk of a hatchback with the rear seats folded flat.

  • Leave it
    • Not coming to the U.S.
    • BMW might launch a proper competitor soon
    • Expensive

Further reading

2019 Mercedes-AMG A35 Exterior
- image 796015

Read our full review on the 2019 Mercedes-AMG A35.

2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class Exterior
- image 764956

Read our full review on the next generation 2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class.

2014 Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG High Resolution Exterior
- image 492695

Read our full review on the previous 2014 Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG.

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