UPDATE: Mercedes-Benz South Africa has now performed a swift U-turn, saying it will in fact offer only the flagship 310 kW “S” models. Read more here...

When the new Mercedes-AMG A45 and CLA45 were officially unveiled in the first week of July, all the focus was on the full-fat “S” variants. But now Mercedes-Benz South Africa has told CARmag.co.za only the base models will be offered locally at launch.

The new A45 and CLA45 are scheduled to arrive in South Africa in "early 2020”. But local hyper-hatch buyers will have to be content with 285 kW and 480 N.m from the new M139 2,0-litre four-cylinder engine, rather than the full-fat outputs of 310 kW and 500 N.m offered by the S-badged versions.

Also read: New Mercedes-AMG A35 in South Africa: check out local pricing…

The decision to go only with the base versions – for the time being, at least – differs from Mercedes-Benz SA’s usual policy of offering only “S” models locally (as is the case, for example, with the C63 S, the E63 S and the GLC63 S) and eschewing base versions sold in some overseas markets.

For the record, the Mercedes-Benz's Affalterbach-based performance division 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). All variants employ an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission (complete with launch control) and the German firm’s fully variable 4Matic+ all-wheel-drive arrangement.