They're the first of eight body styles planned for Mercedes' new generation of compacts. Another is a redesigned B-Class minivan.
Some of those eight body styles will have high-performance variants developed by Mercedes-AMG. And this time around there will be direct replacements for the current crop of 45 series cars, plus the new crop of slightly tamer 35 series cars, the first of which is the A35 hatch that debuted at last month's 2018 Paris auto show.
We now have spy shots and video of a prototype for the A45 hatch. We know this is the A45 because it sits lower and sports wider fenders than the regular A-Class. It also has quad-exhaust tips to differentiate it from the A35 which has dual-exhaust tips.
Also fitted on the prototype are AMG-style wheels, performance brakes, and enlarged intakes in the front fascia. You can also make out the vertical slats of the AMG-specific Panamericana grille. The finished product should look very sporty. The A Sedan concept (shown below) unveiled at the 2017 Shanghai auto show hints at what's to come.
AMG’s current compact range, which consists of the A45 hatch, CLA45 sedan and GLA45 SUV, comes with a top rating of 375 horsepower. The next-gen range will likely be rated at more than 400 horses to ensure the cars have the edge over their Audi Sport counterparts. Recall, the latest RS 3 is delivering 400 hp.
Mercedes-Benz A Sedan concept, 2017 Shanghai auto show
The cars will draw their power from an uprated version of AMG's existing 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4. Enhancements are thought to include new fuel injectors, a new turbocharger and changes to the combustion process. For subsequent performance increases, AMG engineers are thought to be dabbling with electric compressors and hybrid systems.
Beyond the more potent powerplant, the cars are expected to benefit from a new eight-speed dual-clutch transmission and drift mode. One of the performance targets is a 0-60 mph time of under 4.0 seconds. Top speed will likely remain capped at 155 mph.
Look for the new A45 hatch to debut in the first half of 2019. While we won't see it in the United States, some of the other 45 series models in the pipeline, like A45 and CLA45 sedans, should make it over.