Somewhere in the upper echelons of the hot hatch market, a power war has been brewing for some time. Mercedes-AMG was the first to jump on the bandwagon with the original A 45 in 2013, whose hand-built 2.0 litre M133 turbo mill – the most powerful series-production four-cylinder in the world, no less – churned out a stout 360 hp.

Just a year later, Audi swooped in to take the lead with the RS3 and its 367 hp 2.5 litre five-cylinder turbo; Mercedes then retook the crown with 381 hp from 2015’s facelifted A 45, which was then beaten this year with the revised RS3, now with 400 hp. Ingolstadt won’t hold that advantage for too long however, as Affalterbach is set to one-up its compatriot with the next-generation A 45, according to CarAdvice.

Mercedes-AMG CEO Tobias Moers told the publication that when the new car does arrive – which could still be as many as two years away – it will come with a new, more powerful engine. “The new 2.0 litre will be an all-new engine,” he said.

When asked if the engine will come with a rumoured electric turbocharger, following in the footsteps of the facelifted S-Class‘ new 3.0 litre straight-six, he answered, “Yes, an electric turbine is something we have a close link to, but maybe not in that first version.”

Moers said that while it is too early to talk about specifics, “we have to do something special,” adding that the car will go over the 400 hp mark. “We don’t want to give a tip or an advantage to our competitors, but we do need to be over 300 kW (402 hp) – that’s the new standard,” he said.

Apart from that, the 4Matic all-wheel drive system could also feature elements from the fully-variable 4Matic+ system on the new E 63, although Moers stressed that “it’s really not easy to scale that AWD technology down from the E- to A-Class.”