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Mercedes-AMG A 45 (2022 - )

If we can somehow put the high-end price of this amazing hot-hatch on the back burner and simply concentrate on the styling, performance, technology and handling instead, then this car is a firm favourite of ours every day.

Starting price:
£63,285 (without options)

Why we love it:
  • Dynamic styling with blistering pace
  • Innovative tech and refined interior
  • Engaging performance in a practical five-door car
Where it could be better:
  • Costs in excess of £60k
  • You will stand out in any crowd
  • Ride is on the firm side (even in Comfort mode)

Introduction

Mercedes-AMG A 45

The fourth-generation Mercedes A-Class line-up was given a mid-life upgrade earlier this year with some quite subtle cosmetic changes plus a refreshed and improved in-car infotainment set-up across the range. And those enhancements have also been carried through to the all-singing, all-dancing AMG cars – the powerhouses in the family.

AMG A models are available in saloon or hatchback guise and customers can also choose from a range of engines offering differing power outputs.

At the top of the tree is the Mercedes-AMG A 45 S 4MATIC+ Plus hatchback model and that’s the car we clocked up almost 400 miles in during our week behind the wheel.

Mercedes-AMG A 45

Put AMG into any Mercedes mix and it means a dynamically styled car that makes a statement and stands out from the norm. So, with that in mind, our Mercedes-AMG A 45 S 4MATIC+ Plus with its Sun yellow paintwork, certainly lived up to its billing.

There are new headlight clusters along with a redesigned grille with the AMG logo replacing the traditional Mercedes badging on the edge of the bonnet.

There is plenty of AMG-specific features too such as the front and rear apron, a diffuser with four fins, side sill panels, brakes with red-painted calipers, an aerodynamics package, night package, a black spoiler, quad tail pipes, privacy glass and blacked out 19-inch AMG alloy wheels.

Move inside and that dynamic theme continues with black leather sport seats with yellow contrast stitching that can also be seen on the dashboard, steering wheel and doors. There’s plenty of AMG badging, along with metal pedals.

Light floods in through the sunroof, there is 64-colour ambient lighting and the five circular air vents resemble jet engines. A 10.25-inch infotainment screen merges seamlessly into the 10.25-inch digital instrument display behind a single glass panel and these are easy to operate, adjust or read on the move. A head-up display is also handy given the sheer pace this car possesses.

On-board technology impresses with the Mercedes infotainment system, called MBUX, and this introduces the likes of sat nav, smartphone connectivity, Bluetooth, a Burmester surround sound system and access to the ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice assist system which can help with all manner of tasks, such as adjusting the temperature, changing the radio station, making phone calls and much more besides.

If you are planning some more adventurous driving on track, the driver display can be modified to show all things race-based such as timings, a g-meter and lots of performance data.

There is a separate panel for the climate control settings and, in all honesty, this is one of the most beautifully-styled, yet driver-focused cockpits around.

On The Road

Mercedes-AMG A 45

Handling & Performance

Powering the AMG A 45 S is a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engine delivering a whopping 412hp and 500Nm of torque. It can blast out the starting blocks and reach 62mph in just 3.9 seconds and has a top speed of 168mph.

But there is so much more to this car than simple straight line speed and control. Put a challenging course of twisting country lanes in its path and it will show its true capability. The grip, balance and acceleration are outstanding and the 4MATIC traction adds to the confidence of the car, along with the speed-sensitive steering.

Driver interaction is exceptional and the longer you spend behind the wheel, the more adventurous you become. There are steering wheel paddles to take charge of gear shifts, although the eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is perfectly timed.

And there are drive modes called Slippery, Individual, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Race to alter the handling. You can also tweak the engine, suspension and dynamics set-up within some of these modes. There is even a Drift setting that is accessed when in Race mode with the ESP deactivated and the gearbox set to manual. Ideally, this is for track purposes though.

The exhaust sound can be adjusted and can provide a roar similar to feeding time in the Serengeti at its most vocal, while the powerful brakes do an outstanding job of slowing this beast down.

Despite being rather firm, the suspension system does a great job of smoothing out any bumps and dips and when you need to calm things down a bit, flick across to Comfort for some smoother handling. This is ideal for longer motorway miles.

Mercedes-AMG A 45

Space & Practicality

The Mercedes-AMG A 45 S boasts a truly strong road presence especially if supplied with Sun yellow paint as our test car was. The five-door hatchback stretches 4,445mmin length, is 1,992mm wide and 1,412mm tall.

Up front, it’s easy to get comfortable with powered seats and plenty of manual adjustment to the steering wheel. Memory settings can be used to store a favourite driving position which is handy if the car is shared.

A couple of tall adults can fit in back too provided the front seats are not shoved right back, but add a third and it gets a little too tight.

The boot is accessed via a manual tailgate and can accommodate 370 litres of goodies, a limit that increases to 1,210 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat.

In addition, there are a number of storage compartments scattered throughout the cabin. These include an illuminated glovebox, door pockets with a bottle section, front and rear cup holders, a central cubby, a wireless charging pad, along with several USB-C ports to stay connected on the move.

And with 4MATIC all-wheel drive, this hot hatch can tow a braked trailer weighing up to 1.5 tonnes.

Ownership

Mercedes-AMG A 45

Running Costs

The Mercedes-AMG A Class line-up is available in saloon or hatchback body styles and in A 35 or A 45 specification. The latter adds extra power to the mix. Prices start from £46,075 for the Mercedes-AMG A 35 4MATIC Executive model and rise to £63,285 for the Mercedes-AMG A 45 S 4MATIC+ Plus version, as tested. The only additional cost on our car was £625 for dazzling Sun yellow paintwork.

A single glance in the direction of this hot hatch will leave you in little doubt about its fuel efficiency which is officially set at 30.7mpg under WLTP testing. But if you drive the car in a way that matches its styling, expect to see far less.

The official carbon emissions figure of 208g/km will result in a first-year road tax bill of £1,565 dropping to the standard annual fee of £180 after 12 months. But the expense doesn’t stop there. As the car exceeds a  £40k Government threshold, owners will need to fork out an additional £390 from years two to six. 

For any fleet drivers lucky enough to be considering the Mercedes-AMG A 45 S 4MATIC+ Plus as a company car, it has a Benefit in Kind tax rating of 37 per cent and the vehicle, as tested, sits in insurance group 41. 

The car comes with a three-year, unlimited mileage warranty.

Verdict

Mercedes-AMG A 45

If we can somehow put the high-end price of this amazing hot-hatch on the back burner and simply concentrate on the styling, performance, technology and handling instead, then this car is a firm favourite of ours every day.

It boasts looks that are impossible to ignore along with an engine soundtrack that can be heard long before the car comes into view. The driving dynamics are outstanding and it will fulfil the needs of any driving purist, petrol head or adrenaline junkie out there.

By Maxine Ashford
Oct 02, 2023

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