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The Mercedes A45 AMG will start from less than £40,000 when it goes on sale next summer, a senior AMG source has confirmed.

"Our target is to sell it for less than 50,000 Euro," Tobias Moers, head of product development at AMG told Auto Express. "We want it to cost slightly less than the Audi RS3."

The 335bhp four-wheel-drive RS3 is now out of production, but a number of pre-registered models are still available to buy on the UK market. The A45 AMG's biggest rival therefore will be the rear-wheel-drive 316bhp BMW M135i, which costs from a remarkable £29,995.

However, with four-wheel drive and around 350bhp at its disposal (the exact power output is yet to be confirmed), the A45 should blow the competition away. A 0-62mph time of around 4.5 seconds - a tenth faster than the Audi RS3 - was suggested by Moers.

The A45 has already been proving its pace on the track, too. "We've been timing the A45 around the Nurburgring and the BMW 1 Series M Coupe was our benchmark," Moers revealed. "Let's just say we're extremely happy with our work."

The 1M's fastest recorded lap around the 'Ring was 8 mins 15 seconds, this suggests Merc's hot-hatch will go even quicker.
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