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Is the new Mercedes-AMG A45 taking the power war too far?

By Trent Giunco, 07 Jun 2019 News

Is the new Mercedes-AMG A45 taking the power war too far?

Merc’s upcoming 310kW hot hatch outguns supercars and race cars alike

We’ve known this for a while, but confirmation that the boffins at Affalterbach have generated 310kW and 500Nm from just 2.0-litres (1991cc) is proof that the world has gone power crazy. What’s more impressive is that the four-cylinder turbo has a specific output of 155kW per litre. This level of performance places the M139-powered Merc ahead of some rare, and fancied, supercars and race cars, both past and present.

The list of examples is extensive, but to put the A45’s achievement into perspective, an original Audi R8 V8 extracts 309kW and 430Nm from its atmo 4.2-litre bent eight – and that was in 2006. Prancing horses are even outpaced with the popular Ferrari 360 Modena ‘only’ mustering 294kW from its 3.6-litre V8, 16kW shy of the hypo hot hatch. Such is the rate of progress that even a 991.2 Porsche 911 Carrera S falls a solitary kilowatt short of the 310kW marker.

Other notable notches on the bedpost include:

E39 BMW M5 - 294kW V8

Lamborghini Countach - 276kW V12

Mercedes-Benz 300CE AMG - 283kW V8

Porsche 996 911 GT3 - 265kW flat-six

However, it’s not just supercars of the past and present that the feisty four-pot usurps – even race cars are within its crosshairs. For example, the Hyundai i30 N TCR is a front-wheel drive race car with 257kW and 460Nm, but its 0-100km/h time of roughly 5.2 seconds means it won’t see which way the A45 goes when launching from a standstill.

In terms of a WRC-themed drag race the end result would be a lot closer with a sub four second 0-100km/h time achievable. Yet, the raw figures of 280kW and 450Nm from the Hyundai i20’s boosted 1.6-litre turbo pale in comparison. Most of the lower-rung, winged Formula categories also fall well short of the M139’s on-paper effort.

Mercedes-AMG’s work proves that there’s still a lot of headroom left for the internal-combustion engine. The hand-made, almost entirely new M139 replaces the M133, with the former possessing the ability to rev to 7200rpm. Mounted transversely, the unit uses a twin-scroll turbo (with 2.1 bar of boost and a 9.0:1 compression ratio) and sends its power to all four wheels. Also, allaying fears of longevity from all the increased pressure, the donk is designed to last at least 250,000km.

What do you think? Is the new Mercedes-AMG taking the hot-hatch power war too far? Expect the stakes to be raised further with the upcoming Audi RS3… let the war continue.