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The next-generation Mercedes-Benz A-Class has already been spied testing, and now it is the AMG-fettled variant’s turn. Our European spies tell us that this test mule is thought to be a new AMG model, expected to wear the “A 43” badge which denotes a milder performance variant to be slotted under the full-fat A 45.

There is still plenty of camouflage cladding on the test mules, but what is apparent is the relative restraint exercised on the front bumper treatment – the air intakes are larger than on the more mainstream models, but not quite as assertive as the current A 45’s.

Behind the test mule’s wheels are larger brakes with cross-drilled rotors, though this too is expected to be a middling rung on the performance ladder; the Mercedes-AMG A 45 can be expected to sport even larger items, and even more gaping intakes to feed air to them and the engine.

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In that regard, it’s likely that the A 43 will be positioned closer to the 300 hp Audi S3 rather than the range-topping 400 hp Audi RS3 and 345 hp Ford Focus RS, leaving the task of taking those on to its bigger AMG A 45 brother, which currently has 381 hp, and is expected to breach the 400 hp mark in its next iteration.

Positioned so, the upcoming A 43 is expected to be powered by a variation of the marque’s 2.0 litre, turbocharged engine producing around 310 to 320 hp, mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. This can be based either on the mainstream M254 engine (successor to the current M274) or a detuned version of Mercedes-AMG’s M133 unit that powers the current A 45.

The 45 AMG range has always been endowed with 4Matic all-wheel-drive, and the same can be expected for the middle-weight A 43. With the all-new A-Class set to make its debut at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, in time for customer deliveries in 2018, the Mercedes-AMG A 43 might follow closely after the standard car’s launch, if not at the same time.