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Future models - Mercedes-Benz - CLA - 45 AMG

New York show: Hottest Benz CLA blasts in

Master blaster: The CLA 45 AMG’s fire-breathing 265kW/450Nm turbo four is familiar, since it is shared with the recently revealed A45 AMG hot hatch.

Mercedes tears covers from brutal 265kW turbocharged CLA 45 AMG sedan

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Mercedes-Benz logo28 Mar 2013

IT SET jaws dropping when revealing the A45 AMG uber-hatch last month, and now Mercedes-Benz has repeated the trick with an AMG version of its new CLA sedan.

Making its first global appearance today at the New York motor show, the fiery four-door uses the same remarkable 265kW/450Nm 2.0-litre turbo as the A45 on which it is based, and has the same supercar-like zero to 100km/h acceleration time of 4.6 seconds.

Billed as a smaller but conceptually similar take on the rakish CLS63 AMG, the hottest CLA sends power from its hand-built engine – the most powerful engine of its kind in the world today – to all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission with paddles.

As we have reported, the CLA45 AMG is due to hit Australia in early 2014, a few months after the regular CLA range launches. The CLA, along with the A-Class with which it shares a modular platform, is tasked with giving Mercedes a leg-up into more youthful markets.

Further Australian-specific details such as local pricing are undecided. As a guide, note the mechanically identical A45 AMG hatch will be priced from $74,900 plus on-road costs when it launches in September.

Along with genuine sportscar pace, the CLA 45 is frugal enough to undercut the 7.0-litre per 100km luxury car tax cut-off, although it is unclear if the car will come in under the circa-$75k threshold.

Just like the larger eight- and twelve-cylinder engines in AMG’s arsenal, the fire-breathing four-pot in the CLA (and A45) is hand-built to AMG’s “one man, one engine” philosophy.

Despite having half the cylinders of its AMG brethren, Mercedes claims to have retained the signature throaty exhaust note found on models such as the C63 thanks to a sports exhaust system that adjusts outputs depending on driving style.

The German brand designed the A-Class’ modular platform to accommodate AWD from the get-go, and the four-paw system under the A45 is said to be 25 per cent lighter than rivals. In normal driving it is front-biased, but can split torque 50:50 in more slippery situations.

Suspension, electro-mechanical speed-sensitive power steering and high-performance brakes (350mm front discs and 330mm rear) have also been tuned by AMG.

The big daddy of the A-Class range is differentiated externally from its more humble siblings by its aggressive front and rear diffusers, side sills, AMG ‘twin-blade’ radiator grille, matte grey front apron, greyalloy wheels, square chrome-tipped exhaust pipes and ‘Turbo AMG ’ lettering.

If, as expected, the CLA’s specification closely mirrors the A 45, expect Australian-delivered versions to come with a higher level of standard equipment than in Europe, including a rorty AMG sports exhaust, an AMG Driver’s Package that increases top speed to 270km/h and 19-inch alloy wheels.

For point of reference, further Aussie additions on the A45 will include adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, adaptive headlights, a panoramic sunroof, heated leather seats and top-spec COMAND infotainment system with sat-nav, internet access and Harman Kardon premium audio.

Australia is the world’s sixth largest AMG market and the biggest by volume per capita, with the C63 AMG the current best-seller. Entry models such as the A 45 and CLA 45 have the capacity to push our market even higher up the chain – if, that is, Mercedes’ local arm can get its hands on enough supply.

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