Confirmed to feature a new all-wheel-drive system with tail-happy capabilities.

Not content with the Mercedes-AMG A35 recently launched in Europe? Enter A45. Coming in 2019, the range-topping version of the fourth-generation A-Class will offer more of everything to challenge Audi’s RS3 Sportback. Here we see a couple of prototypes in their natural habitat, undergoing intense testing at the Nürburgring where AMG is currently based to perfect its furious hot hatch.

Looking as if it’s glued to the road, the A45 is hiding the Panamericana grille at the front that will make it easy to distinguish the model from the lesser A35. It’s the same story at the back where the prototypes are not shy to show off their quad exhausts compared to the dual tips of AMG’s cheapest car. We have a feeling the final production version will look even more aggressive considering these test vehicles only had a roof-mounted spoiler whereas the A35 comes with a look-at-me big wing.

We already know a great deal about the A45’s juicy specs, with AMG boss Tobias Moers announcing earlier this year the performance hatch will use a newly developed turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine. It will push out in excess of 400 horsepower, but even more power is on the way as a hotter A45 S has already been confirmed.

Gallery: Mercedes-AMG A45 Spy Photos

Not only will it boast a new four-cylinder mill, but the feisty Mercedes is going to use a new 4Matic all-wheel-drive system with a drift mode akin to what you’ll find in the E63 S. Another major difference between the two AMG-branded A-Class models will be the A45’s dual-clutch eight-speed automatic transmission whereas the A35 uses a seven-speed unit.

“Unbelievable” is the term used by Moers to describe the chassis of the new A45 compared to its predecessor. Another ace up its sleeve will be a special screen mode for the digital instrument cluster further distancing the A45 from the more humble A-Class versions.