Mercedes A45 AMG
The 355bhp Mercedes A45 AMG has been unveiled in Geneva wearing a wild aerodynamic bodykit
While we already know about the hot A-Class' impressive statistics - faster from 0-62mph than a Porsche 911, four-wheel drive, seven-speed automatic gearbox and 450Nm of torque - this is the first time we've got to see the new car in the metal.
The A45 AMG on show was the Edition 1 version. On sale for just the first year, this car gets the additional aerodynamics package, which includes a larger rear spoiler and a bigger front splitter for an even more aggressive stance than the standard AMG version. There's also a special white paint with grey stripe up the bonnet and side of the car. Inside, the tighter body-hugging upgraded performance seats were finished with red piping, along with splashes of red around the rest of the cabin and carbon-fibre inserts.
It wasn't all about the performance A-Class, however, as we were also given a sneak peak at the new CLA 45 AMG, which is set to debut at the New York Motor Show later this month. The hot saloon gets carbon-fibre detailing, such as side skirts and wing mirror casing, along with black alloys and black exhausts to help it stand out from the standard CLA.
In terms of performance, it uses the same 355bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged engine as the A45 AMG. This is driven through the firm's four-wheel-drive system with the same seven-speed automatic gearbox as the A-Class AMG model.
That 355bhp output is the highest specific power output of any 2.0-litre production petrol engine, and fires the A45 AMG from 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds, while top speed is limited to 155mph - expect similar performance in the CLA.
Also on show was the new four-wheel-drive E 63 S-Model, the ultimate SLS AMG Black Series and the upgraded C63 AMG Edition 507, which gets a 60bhp power increase to take it to 507bhp. The manufacturer is hoping the performance side-arm will be a major part of its sales growth over the next four years.
With the AMG brand set to celebrate its 50th birthday in 2017, Merc is looking for annual sales of AMG models to grow from 20,000 in 2011 up to 30,000. In order to help push this 50 per cent rise in sales, Mercedes is planning to offer a range of at least 30 separate AMG models.
Ola Kallenius, Chairman of the Management Board Mercedes-AMG, said that the A45 was an important part of the sales increase: "This is a vehicle to open a completely new gateway to the AMG world at an attractive entry price that will make an AMG attainable to new target groups," he said, adding that it will appeal to younger customers.