Long before Mercedes-AMG’s A-Class had one of the most powerful 4-cylinder engines on the market, its engineering team packed two 1.9-litre motors into the original chassis to create an insane twin-engined car.
After failing the elk test, the original Mercedes-Benz A-Class had a bit of a PR job to do – and the way it decided to demonstrate the safety and versatility of its W-168 platform was to create the A190 Twin – or A38 as it was sometimes known.
The exercise also illustrated the versatility of the A-Class’s sandwich floor – which allowed a second engine to be installed in the back without compromising on cargo space or interior comforts.
It still had all its seats and a completely flat floor and boot.
Each engine powered its own axle and delivered 93kW – producing a combined output of 186kW and 360Nm.
Without any forced induction, the A38 was able to sprint to 100km/h in 5.7 seconds – and on to a top speed of 230km/h.
Smart electronics from the automatic transmission then synchronised the engines, while the rear motor could also be switched off at the press of a button.
This turned the A38 back into a conventional 93kW, front-wheel-drive hatchback.
With the help of the AMG department’s suspension tuning, improved weight distribution, and braking system from the E55 AMG, the A38 was said to offer exceptional handling and performance – despite weighing considerably more than the standard A190.
Only four versions of the A38 were ever built, however, and sadly such wild technology has never made it into series production due to complexity and costs.
The press images below provide a rare glimpse of the Finnish F1 driver Mika Hakkinen approving of the A38.