The first compact vehicle ever created by M-B's primo performance division, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz A 45 AMG made its debut in Geneva. While this hatchback variant of the new A-Class won't be coming to the U.S., its  potent AMG-designed 2.0-liter turbocharged/direct-injected 4-cylinder engine will make the Atlantic crossing under the hood of it's equally intense American cousin, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG Sedan. Like the baseline M-B CLA250, it's set to arrive in showrooms here late this year.

As with all AMG-spec vehicles, the new Mercedes A 45 AMG benefits from a comprehensive array of bespoke cosmetic enhancements and running gear upgrades. However, the new 2.0-liter engine will no doubt remain the single biggest talking point of this truly impressive package. Hand built and cranking out 355 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque, it blasts onto the scene as the world's most powerful series-production 4-cylinder turbo. By comparison, the 2.0-liter turbo four in the standard-issue CLA250 Sedan is tuned to produce 208 horses and 258 lb-ft of peak twist.

Also: The all-new cars of 2014

Backing this new AMG engine is the AMG SpeedShift DCT-7 dual-clutch automatic transmission that features steering-wheel mounted paddles, three different program modes, double-declutching function and a "Race Start" setting for maximum off-the-line quickness. The A 45 AMG also comes with the new performance-oriented AMG 4Matic all-wheel drive system that also will be fitted to the CLA45 AMG. While sharing all of the design basics with M-B's new smaller, lighter and more efficient 4Matic application that was specifically designed for use with a transverse-engine installation, this enthusiast-oriented variation is programmed to put greater emphasis on performance and fun-to-drive qualities.


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