- Stunning performance
- Brilliant all-round package
- Raucous engine and exhaust note
- Possibly too firm for some
- Not a practical daily driver
Mercedes-Benz has made a cracker – the A 45 AMG is a high performance hot hatchback based on the regular A-Class. No offence to any A-Class owners, however, this may share part of the name and the chassis but this is a performance hatch at its ultimate best.
Just like the rest of the A-Class range, the A 45 AMG was facelifted in September 2015. Mercedes-Benz increased the power by 21bhp and 25Nm from the 2-litre turbocharged engine. The A 45 AMG now produces 376bhp and 475Nm of torque.
What’s not to like? It offers tons of grip, stunning performance times but it is on the expensive side – can it really lead the charge against rivals, which include the Audi S3, BMW’s M135i and the VW Golf R? Read on to find out…
On The Road
Blink and you’ll miss it, okay maybe an overstatement but this A 45 AMG is quick, in fact it offers performance that will wow you.
The A 45 AMG is fitted with a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, which produces 376bhp and 475 Nm of torque and this is mated to a seven-speed auto gearbox. The ‘box receives shorter ratios allowing quicker shifts meaning the car feels even quicker than before while the exterior shape has been tweaked to offer better aerodynamics. It will get from a standing start in 4.2 seconds and goes on to an electronically limited top of 155mph.
Feather the throttle and the A 45 AMG feels alive, floor it and the hatchback is off, the four-wheel drive allows you to get traction down instantly. The sheer power shoves you back in to your sporty seat.
Three driving modes are available and you select each style while on the move. The C mode is ideal for daily driving as it is the most comfortable, dulling throttle response and activating the stop/start system to make the engine as efficient as possible.
Choose the S mode and this makes the A 45 AMG more sporty. Acceleration is sharper, while the exhaust note is enhanced.
Opt for M and this gives the driver full control via the paddle-shifters. Enthusiasts are in for a treat, the bark from the turbo-charged 2.0-litre engine will put a smile on your face while the steering is direct and so, so sharp – the weighting is pretty much perfect. The boffins from the AMG department have done a cracking job on this car.
Getting traction is not a problem, that’s largely thanks to Mercedes’ four-wheel drive system. The good news is that the aforementioned system gives you tonnes of grip through corners whether you are driving in wet or dry conditions. The lowered stance of the A 45 AMG makes the Mercedes great fun when cornering.
The A 45 AMG is brilliant fun on twisty roads, it’s agile and nimble and the well-weighted steering gives you lots of confidence while there’s almost no body roll
A three-stage traction control system comes as standard. You can leave it in default mode, or engage Sport handling which allows more driver control before the electronics cut in and then of course you can go the whole hog and turn the system off altogether – in this mode, it’s all up to you.
Chassis options available on the A 45 AMG include, AMG Sports Suspension and AMG Performance Suspension.
If you are looking for a comfy cruiser then you may look elsewhere. The A 45 AMG up front has brilliant sport seats, they have high side supports while the bolstering for your back is extremely good. However, the ride is definitely on the ‘firm’ side. It feels like concrete, and almost needs a smooth race track or motorway to feel okay.
The exhaust noise is superb, the turbo, the burble on the upshift and the down shifts, it really is a first class soundtrack and who needs a stereo when you’ve got tunes like these from the exhaust?
Road and tyre noise are quiet but don’t expect to have a nice quiet cabin, which engine and exhaust will see to that.
In The Car
Behind the Wheel
Thanks to A 45 AMG being the flagship car, you will plenty of kit as standard and it’s just as well as this version starts from £39,995.
Standard kit on the A 45 AMG includes the seven-speed semi-automatic gearbox and sports suspension, AMG bodykit, heated electrically adjustable door mirrors, bi-xenon headlamps, tinted windows, LED rear lights, a sports exhaust and a tyre sealant kit, ambient lighting, sports seats, AMG badging on the seats and floor mats, a centre armrest, two cup holders, electric windows all round, illuminated door sills, an exterior temperature gauge, a sports steering wheel, sports pedals with rubber studs, an adjustable steering column, a trip computer and sun visors with vanity mirrors, high performance brakes with three-stage ESP traction control, black roof lining and leather/Alcantara seats, ISOFIX child seat mounting points, rain-sensing wipers and an electronic parking brake.
There are a few options packs if you want to upgrade your car further. Highlights include the AMG Aerodynamic Pack, the AMG Exterior Carbon-fibre Trim Pack, an AMG performance exhaust, a Performance Suspension system, an AMG Exclusive Package and the Lane Tracking Package.
Space & Practicality
The A 45 AMG shares an identical load space with the standard A-Class. Boot space stands at 340-litres, smaller than the majority of rivals. Fold the rear bench and the boot space expands to 1,157 litres.
For a car that is so quick, running costs may be a major factor. The starting price is £39,995, so it’s not cheap to start with. Emissions stand at 162g/km, which is not actually too bad for a high performance car. Mercedes claims that the A 45 AMG will return 40.9mpg on the combined cycle, get anywhere near that and you should be over the moon. We expect you to tell us that you are returning a figure of closer to 30mpg than 40mpg.
Quality & Reliability
Mercedes-Benz is a standard bearer for quality and good reliability. The German premium maker is well known for its bullet-proof reliability and performs well in such surveys.
Safety & Security
Safety levels on the A 45 AMG are high, as you might expect. Euro NCAP awarded the car five stars when crash testing it.
Standard equipment includes Active Park Assist, hill-start assist, nine airbags, high performance brakes, a three-stage electronic stability control system with traction control, ABS and an electric parking brake.
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