We’ve already had a ride in the new Mercedes performance saloon, which allowed us to experience the ferocious 4.6-second 0-62mph time and the handling benefits brought about by the new stiffer AMG sports suspension and AMG-developed ESP system.
Visually, the CLA 45 AMG follows on from the standard CLA in AMG Sport trim, adding entirely new front and rear bumpers, deeper side skirts and lashings of gloss black trim. Inside, the dash is lifted by a carbon-fibre trimmed panel, while there are red seatbelts, plus red trim on the deeply bolstered sports seats.
Despite the blistering performance, Mercedes claims it can do 40.9mpg and emits between 161 and 165g/km of CO2.
The 2.0-litre engine is built according to AMG's 'one man, one engine' tradition, with a single worker hand-building each engine. The CLA 45 AMG arrives here in the autumn, and will cost from around £40,000.
The standard Mercedes CLA is available to order now, with a starting price of £24,355. That buys an entry-level CLA 180 Sport, powered by a 1.6-litre petrol engine with 120bhp. The only other engine is a 168bhp 2.1-litre diesel in the CLA 220 CDI Sport, priced from £29,355.
Sport models come with 18-inch alloys, leather sports seats and a multifunction steering wheel. Upgrading to AMG Sport trim – £2,200 extra – adds 18-inch AMG wheels, sports suspension and an AMG bodykit. You can specify a leather dash, velour mats and heated front seats for an extra £1,970 on Sport models and £1,640 for Sport AMG versions.