While regulations are forcing automakers to clean up their products’ emissions, the horsepower wars still appear far from over. Mercedes-AMG boss Tobias Moers now confirms to Car Advice that the next-generation of its A-Class hot hatch (and presumably the matching version of the CLA-Class saloon) is under development with at least 402 horsepower (300 kilowatts) in mind.

“We don’t want to give a tip or an advantage to our competitors, but we do need to be over 300 kW – that’s the new standard,” Moers told Car Advice. He also indicated that the company is at least considering whether to put an electric compressor on the engine. The company has already confirmed plans to use one on its 3.0-litre inline six. “Yes an electric turbine is something we have a close link to, but maybe not in that first version,” Moers said.

2018 Mercedes A-Class new spy photo

Rumours of a next-gen A45 with over 400 hp date back a couple years. At the time, Moers promised the future model as the most powerful model in its segment upon release. About a year later, more alleged details leaked out. The new mega-hatch will also apparently have a nine-speed DCT auto, allowing it to reach 62mph from rest in less than four seconds.

Undoubtedly, Mercedes-AMG is targeting 400 hp because of the latest Audi RS3. The model from the Four Rings has 400 hp and 354 pound-feet of torque from a 2.5-litre turbocharged inline-five-cylinder engine. It gets to 60 mph in less than four seconds, too.

Audi's new hot hatch benchmark:

Spy shots indicate the next-gen A-Class grows larger, which should allow for a more spacious cabin. The chassis should be lighter, too. The photos show a bevy of sensors on the outside, and top trims should boast a high-tech interior, too. Features such as a digital instrument panel aren’t out of the question, either.

Source: Car Advice

Gallery: 2018 Mercedes A-Class new spy photos