United States customers desiring one of the new smaller AMG models from Mercedes-Benz will really enjoy their 2014 CLA45. It's swift, authoritative, more alive in your hands than any other AMG model has ever been, and it's the only compact practical AMG you'll ever be able to get anyway.

Little ghost-like leaks keep on happening from some apparent "source" in Germany, telling young cub reporters from the US that the A-Class hatchback range is also coming to the land of hashbrowns. The way we read it, the A-Class, however, will never come to the States, folks, at least not in this decade, anyway.

More's the pity, because, as we and all others noticed at the recent drive event in Germany, for both the A45 and the CLA45, it's the hatch that truly pulls no punches on dynamism. The CLA has clearly been massaged to be just a touch to be more civil than the excitingly bratty A45.

Driving Notes
  • As we said in the recent First Drive for the CLA45, the A45 is a decidedly different concoction from the usual straight-line marauders of the AMG lineup. The chassis is dramatically more alive and communicative, and we really like it.
  • From now on, AMG is putting some form of 4Matic traction under every car. That means some compromises – good and not so – will happen. In this case, the hang-on all-wheel-drive unit creates a much more capable sporting drive versus a straight front-wheel-drive setup.
  • That said, some people who talk like they've driven the car will shower both the A45 and CLA45 with their prejudiced derision. They'll proclaim – no matter what we say – that these are cheapo overpriced front-drive Euro econoboxes. It also means that there'll be more of these great cars for those of us who dig 'em.
  • While we dashed around on roads and Autobahn, our track time for this event was relegated to AMG Performance chassis-prepped A45 AMG Edition 1 units, a limited-run setup for Europe that pimps the ride out to around €57,000 base price (roughly $75,000 due to exhilarating European taxation policies and an overvalued Euro). Ride along for a spot of this action, in the video below.
  • Realistically, an A45 would need to start at around $45k in the US. The fully tricked Edition 1 as at this track, however, would bring about $60k for starters. Enough to make American blog comments go ballistic.
  • The optional matte Mountain Grey Designo exterior paint and darkened multitudinous-spoked 19-inch AMG wheelset of our street-tester A45, go together like ham and eggs. This unit had everything on it apart from the Edition 1 trickery and overly excited aero bits, and we think it's all the better for it.
  • The experts on hand at this drive event finally admitted that the ratings of the elasto-kinematics fore and aft of the suspension were, in fact, different for the A45 versus the CLA45. The handling that is possible with the hatch is pure premium hot and it's a sensation we've never had before in an AMG.
  • Mercedes conservatively claims a 0-62 miles per hour acceleration time of 4.6 seconds for the A45, but we're certain a 4.2 will be possible and repeatable.
  • This M133 2.0-liter motor is a remarkable piece of work, and it meshes really well with the seven-speed AMG dual-clutch, with shift action that is equal to that in the SLS AMG GT. A manual six with good heel-and-toe pedal placement would have been entertaining, but the automated DCT is hot stuff.
The 2013 Mercedes A45 AMG has already gone on sale in its initial markets in Europe and it is bound to be a popular with compact-performance addicted Europeans. People can say whatever they want about the front-drive chassis, but in Europe, this is how compact sportsters roll, and we wouldn't be at all surprised to see this exact car on the World Rally Championship circuit by next year. The hang-on 4Matic unit is a solid solution for this niche-monger car, and we regret only that we will never drive it on our favorite Stateside highways and byways.

Autoblog Short Cuts: 2013 Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG 4Matic