Mercedes-Benz has finally whipped the covers off the new Mercedes-AMG A45 and CLA45, offering the pair of compact performance vehicles in both standard and “S” guises.

As we’ve already reported, urge comes from Affalterbach’s “newly developed” 2,0-litre engine that Mercedes bills as the “world's most powerful turbocharged four-cylinder engine” used in a series production vehicle.

In the base A45 and CLA45, the four-pot churns out 285 kW and 480 N.m, while the S-badged variants offer 310 kW and 500 N.m. Mercedes-AMG says the A45 will hit 100 km/h from standstill in 4,0 seconds, with the A45 S taking one-tenth fewer at 3,9 seconds. The CLA45 will complete the sprint in a claimed 4,1 seconds, with the CLA45 S again one-tenth quicker at 4,0 seconds.

The top speed of the base models is electronically limited to 250 km/h, while the S variants keep going until 270 km/h (something the A45 and CLA45 can achieve with the optional AMG Driver’s Package fitted). In terms of braking, the base models use four-piston monobloc fixed front callipers on 350 x 34 mm discs and single-piston floating rear callipers on 330 x 22 mm items. The S models, meanwhile, gain six-piston fixed callipers and 360 x 36 mm discs up front.

All variants employ an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission (with launch control) and the German firm’s fully variable 4Matic+ all-wheel-drive arrangement. The latter distributes oomph to the rear axle “wheel selectively” thanks to a new differential featuring two multidisc clutches. A dedicated drift mode is standard in the S models and included in an optional AMG Dynamic Plus package for the basic models.

While the A45 and CLA45 – which employ MacPherson struts up front and a four-link arrangement at the rear – feature two round twin tailpipes (each 82 mm in diameter), the S models are set apart by 90 mm exhaust tailpipes with internal fluting and AMG lettering.

Inside, the base models feature black artificial leather and microfibre, with double topstitching in red (a colour echoed on the seat belts and facia trim), along with the MBUX infotainment system with AMG-specific displays. The A45 S and CLA45 S, meanwhile, gain yellow highlights.