EVOLUTION OF THE HOT HATCHBACK


The stats for this hot Mercedes-AMG A 45 S 4MATIC + sedan are mind blowing when you stack them up. But could you really justify this car? Jonathan Crouch takes a look.

With all-wheel drive and massive 421 hp, the Mercedes-AMG A 45 S 4MATIC + is the giant killer that Mercedes-Benz enthusiasts have been waiting for. If you want a blazingly fast sedan that can do it all, this is where you should start your search. What not to like? The price? Well, we can’t have it all …

Fund

How far can you take a hot hatch? In terms of price? Performance? Traction? Quality? That’s an interesting question – and maybe here is the answer, the Mercedes-AMG A 45 S 4MATIC +.

The three-pointed star entered the hatchback segment in 2013 with its first-generation 360bhp 4WD model A 45, a car with more power than any commercial rocket has. had never offered before. But straight-line speed isn’t everything in a model like this and it soon became clear that this expensive competitor lacked the smoothness of super-GTi rivals like Honda’s Civic Type-R and Focus RS. from Ford, even when the AMG brand updated the car. with a powertrain of 381 hp in 2015. This power was surpassed two years later by the powertrain of 400 hp integrated in the Audi RS 3: the A 45 was outdated.

The Affalterbach engineers therefore tried again with this second-generation A 45, offered on our market only in the “S” form of 421 hp. There has never been a Mercedes like this. We will take a look.

Driving experience

There’s only one engine offered to UK buyers of an A 45, but that’s quite a powertrain. You get 421 hp of power from a relatively lightweight, hand-built twin-scroll turbo engine. It is in the ’45 S ‘version, the only variant of this car offered on our market. Mercedes claims the engine in this car is the world’s most powerful stock four-cylinder turbo engine and although you might remember the odd Mitsubishi Evo with a few other ponies under the hood, for now at least. , it is impossible to argue with Mercedes demand.

The ride naturally shifts to all four wheels and you get an 8-speed AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT dual-clutch sports transmission with RACE-START function and various AMG DYNAMIC SELECT drive modes enhanced by the integrated AMG DYNAMICS agility control. Cornering traction is enhanced by the AMG Performance 4MATIC + all-wheel drive with AMG TORQUE CONTROL. In addition, there is a bespoke AMG suspension with adaptive damping based on the three modes of the AMG RIDE CONTROL. There’s also a high-performance braking system and the demons of the circuit can play around with an AMG TRACK PACE app.

Design and build

Unlike the lower A 35 model, you don’t have to spend a fortune on additional outer tips to make this A 45 look menacing. The imposing presence is accentuated by the wider front fenders with flared wheel arches enveloping large 19-inch AMG wheels and an AMG-specific grille with a wider lower surround and twelve vertical slats. The front apron features a jet wing design, while horizontal fins in the exterior air intakes and a stretched lower air intake emphasize the impression of width. At the same time, the pronounced “shark nose”, slim and deeply contoured headlights and the flat, aerodynamically favorable hood with powerdomes visually lower the front section to create an impression of extremely dynamic forward thrust.

Inside there are contoured sports seats with firm lateral support, double stitching in the red and red designo seat belts, as well as AMG carbon fiber trim elements in the dashboard bracket. Yellow reflections in the trim distinguish the status of this S model and there is an AMG Performance steering wheel in nappa leather and DINAMICA microfiber with contrasting yellow stitching. Otherwise, that’s the standard recipe for the A-Class, with a dual front display and an advanced MBUX infotainment system.

Market and model

At the time of this test in the summer of 2021, Mercedes was asking around £ 51,000 for the standard version of this 421bhp A 45 S 4MATIC + model – about as much as you would pay for this car’s more direct rival, the ‘Audi RS 3. If this is this A 45 you want, your dealer will want you to consider upgrading to the better equipped’ Plus’ variant – available for around £ 7,000 more.

You get at least a lot for your sizable expense. Besides everything we’ve mentioned so far, there are three styles of AMG bespoke display (“Classic”, “Sport” and “Supersport”) for the instrument cluster. The “Supersport” mode is particularly striking with a round central tachometer and additional information presented in the form of bars to the left and to the right of the tachometer: with a three-dimensional perspective, they plunge far into the background to a horizon.

We also like the standard AMG exhaust system. Depending on the choice of driving program, its sound signature ranges from harmonious and discreet to emotional and sporty. The sound characteristics are controlled by an exhaust gas flap, depending on the engine speed and load. AMG Real Performance Sound is optional.

Cost of ownership

The WLTP emissions figures for this A 45 S 4MATIC + model hardly seem believable considering it’s a 421bhp super hatch that hits 62 in under four seconds. To really put that number into perspective, we’ll tell you that it’s pretty much the same as the Toyota GR86 lightweight sports coupe; a car without all-wheel drive, without usable rear seats, without a turbocharger and which develops less than half the torque of the A 45 AMG. It’s quite relaxing. Equally impressive, considering the performance offered here, is the WLTP combined cycle fuel economy figure, up to 33.6 mpg.

Mercedes is pretty straightforward about how it does these numbers. The combination of multiple fuel injection and multiple spark ignition improves fuel economy and dramatically increases thermodynamic efficiency, leading to low tailpipe emissions. Residuals are bound to be solid. The promise of a hot Mercedes commercial rocket with low operating costs and high build values ​​will not be lost on used buyers.

Summary

In the real world, this is possibly the fastest car ever made by Mercedes’ AMG division. At launch, it was certainly the fastest hot hatch ever. And the best? Everything is here. The handcrafted AMG engine. Manic performance in all weather conditions. State-of-the-art security. The unique high-end interior. For customers drawn to this prospect, this A 45 provides a devastatingly effective declaration of intent. Worth the wait? You bet.

FACTS AT A GLANCE

CAR: Mercedes-AMG A 45 S 4MATIC +

PRICE: £ 57,885 – On the road

INSURANCE GROUP: 41st

CO2 EMISSIONS: [WLTP] 206g / km

PERFORMANCE: 0-62 mph 3.9 s / Top speed 168 mph

FUEL CONSUMPTION: (combined) 33.6 mpg

STANDARD SAFETY FEATURES: Dual front, side, knee and curtain airbags / ABS / ESP / Pre-Safe / Attention Assist / Collision Prevention Assist

Is it suitable for your garage? : Length / Width / Height 4445/1850/1412 mm


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