The top of the range A-Class model marks the first time Mercedes-AMG is offering a high-performance vehicle in the compact class.

Mercedes-Benz has teased the A45 AMG compact hatchback with initial details and prototype photos.

The top of the range A-Class model marks the first time Mercedes-AMG is offering a high-performance vehicle in the compact class. As such, Mercedes-AMG is targeting a new demographic group with an age range from 30 up to around 45 - much younger than the usual AMG customer. Mercedes has identified these individuals as successful professionals looking for a compact, dynamic vehicle from a recognised performance brand as an expression of their stylish, trendy lifestyles.

Despite neglecting to tell us the horsepower, which is rumored to be 330 hp (246 kW / 335 PS), Mercedes confirms the A45 AMG will use a new 2.0-liter turbo engine with maximum torque significantly above 295 lb-ft (400 Nm). Via the AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed dual clutch transmission, power is directed to the standard all-wheel drive system. The AMG hatch also features an AMG sports suspension with independently developed front and rear axles, electromechanical AMG speed-sensitive sports steering, AMG high-performance braking system and 3-stage ESP with "SPORT Handling" mode.

The A45's 2.0-liter turbo engine will be the first AMG engine not produced in Affalterbach (AMG HQ). Instead it will be built at the Mercedes-Benz MDC Power engine production plant in Kölleda where four-cylinder engines for the A- and B-Class are normally produced. However, a dedicated assembly line is being set up for the new AMG engine. Mercedes insists the traditional AMG philosophy of "one man, one engine" will remain intact as each engine will bearing the signature of the engineer who built it.

The A45 AMG will have its public debut in the first quarter of 2013 - most likely at the Geneva Motor Show. Mercedes hints, "Further AMG high-performance compact cars with a variety of different characteristic features are already in the pipeline and will follow on the heels of the A 45 AMG." Perhaps a Black Series variant?

Check out the press release below for a market analysis and details on the global AMG expansion plan.

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Mercedes A45 AMG first details and photos teased - Black Series hinted?