Once upon a time, hot hatchbacks were fun, tossable cars with around 200 hp. How times have changed. Mercedes-AMG has just released a hatchback with 421 hp, more than the previous Porsche 911 Carrera S.
The 421 hp comes from a new turbocharged 2 liter 4 cylinder engine, which also puts out 369 lb ft. Mercedes claims that it’s the most powerful production 4 cylinder engine (cue Jeremy Clarkson voice) in the world. That’s for the S version- if you want, you can get a non-S version, with 382 hp. But why would you get that? Regardless of which engine you go for, they are handmade and signed by the person who built it, as is AMG tradition. They should also be loud.
The engine is linked to an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (no manual here) which sends power to all four wheels. It also has a drift mode, which is becoming an increasingly common feature in AWD performance cars. It works by changing the settings of the electronically controlled rear differential which can send 100% of the available torque to either wheel, as opposed to it being a RWD mode.
Other changes over the standard car include stiffened suspension with adaptive dampers, larger brakes, and a reinforced body structure.
Unfortunately, the US won’t be getting the A45 hatchback. But the US will still be getting the mechanically-identical CLA 45. No word in prices yet, but you can bet on it being more expensive than a Honda Civic Type R.