Have Mercedes-AMG just quietly revealed the power output of the new A45?
Sometimes it pays to check your emails!
As anybody who spends a fair amount of their time writing about cars will tell you, my email inbox is not bursting at the seams with offers from supercar manufacturers to jet off to some far-flung exotic destination for a blat in the latest, greatest exotic machinery to hit the market, followed by complimentary dinner with cocktails and a free spa day before flying home first class.
No, sadly the majority of emails you get are press releases from car makers of such unimaginable dullness that after a while you start to harbour deep-rooted concerns about the mental health of the people writing them in the first place. Here's an example of some of the scintillating prose that dropped into my virtual lap yesterday...
"Vauxhall has launched a new Extended Warranty service, specifically created for the Vauxhall Corsa driving school market. Cars used for driving instruction are typically excluded by most extended warranty providers because of the higher annual mileage they incur. However, recognizing that the Vauxhall Corsa is one of the UK’s top two models chosen by driving schools, Vauxhall has expanded its partnership with Allianz Partners UK to further enhance the ownership experience for this important customer base."
Can you imagine going on a date with the person who wrote that? By the time the main course came along you'd be seriously considering how long it would take for you to saw your own head off with the butter knife, and whether or not it would be preferable to listening to them talking at length about the new design of parcel shelf fitted to the Toyota Corolla. It would.
Very occasionally though, I spot a manufacturers press release that might actually be worth talking about, and one such document found its way into my inbox late last night and caused me to actually sit up and take notice. It was from the nice people at Mercedes-Benz and it was titled "New Mercedes-AMG four-cylinder turbo engine from ultra-modern production". Now I know that doesn't sound any more exciting than any of the others, but don't worry, because the really juicy part comes on the very first line; "...with an output of up to 310 kW (421 hp), the completely newly developed Mercedes-AMG 2.0-litre M 139 engine is the world’s most powerful turbocharged four-cylinder engine in series production. "
The new 421hp M139 engine continues AMG's famed 'One Man, One Engine' tradition.
Yep, that's AMG's fairly casual way of announcing that they've laid claim to the title of the most powerful series production four-banger turbo engine. More important though, is that power output figure; 421 horsepower. Think about that for a second, four hundred and twenty-one horsepower from just 1991cc. That's over 211 bhp per litre. When you consider that the 8.0 litre W16 engine from the Bugatti Veyron with its quad turbos can only muster around 125 bhp per litre that's a pretty bloody impressive achievement.
It's also the first hint from official quarters as to the power output we can expect from the upcoming Mercedes-AMG A45. Earlier in the year it was reported that a German insurance firm appeared to have dropped a bit of a bollock by adding details of an 'A45 S 4MATIC 421' to their online quotation system, but this is the first time we've had any officially sanctioned information from Mercedes on the power unit that looks set to make its debut in the incoming A-Class range-topper and in turn knock the five-cylinder, 400 horsepower Audi RS3 off of the hyper-hatch power throne.
Of course, two-litre turbocharged cars with crazy horsepower figures are nothing new. Tuners and enthusiasts have been ramping up the boost for years. I once drove a Ford Sierra Cosworth with a claimed 450 horsepower and the sort of turbo lag that made every journey seem like one of those slow-mo fight scenes from 'The Matrix'. You'd put your foot down and pull out to overtake someone and you could almost see the world seem to slow down as the gap got smaller and smaller until BANG, the under-bonnet Morpheus woke up and kicked you square in the face.
I'd expect that AMG, because they're AMG, will have made a rather better job of getting that prodigious power onto the road. I've made my position on the excellent 'junior' 306hp A35 (pictured above) very clear, so with 421 horsepower on tap the A45 should be perfectly capable of warping minds when it launches later this year.
And if the engine doesn't, knowing Mercedes, the price tag probably will.