According to an Autocar UK report, the next-gen Mercedes-AMG A 45 is currently in its early stages of development, and will likely come with a 400 hp engine. The push for more power is due to the need to fend off increasing levels of competition from rivals such as the BMW M2 and Audi RS3.

The new A 45 is said to retain the M133 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, albeit with a series of upgrades – revised fuel injectors, new turbocharger and tweaked combustion process. Put together, the updates will allow the engine to hit the 400 hp mark, significantly more than what the BMW and Audi (not sure about the new one, though) has to offer.

Compared to the current A 45 (pictured here), which has 381 hp and 475 Nm at its disposal, the next-gen A 45 will see a gain of around 19 hp (or possibly more). Other enhancements to the AMG powertrain include the use of a nine-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, replacing the seven-speed unit of the current model. The car’s 4Matic four-wheel drive system and electric differential will also get a few tweaks as well.

In terms of performance, sources within the German carmaker told Autocar UK that the next A 45 will aim to accomplish the 100 km/h sprint in under four seconds, besting the current car’s recorded time of 4.2 seconds.

In other areas, the new A 45 will utilise more aluminium in its construction to ensure that the vehicle’s kerb weight doesn’t exceed the current model’s 1,555 kg. Change to the car’s body structure is also to be expected, making it marginally longer than current.

While the A 45 will continue to be the flagship of the next-gen A-Class, the report also confirmed that Mercedes has plans to introduce a second-tier model for the A-Class, in the same path as the C 43, GLC 43, SLK 43 and E 43. Such a model will have the Volkswagen Golf GTI in its sights, and will opt out of the updated M133 engine mentioned above. Additionally, a new plug-in petrol-electric hybrid model may also make its way into the new A-Class line-up, although details are scarce at the moment.

GALLERY: Current Mercedes-AMG A 45 in Malaysia