The AMG has earned a reputation as one of the most powerful hot hatch series currently in production. It was first released in 2013 with a sufficient power outage and more than doubled the sales targets of AMG. It is attributed to an aggressive design, better interior amenities and a powerful engine. For the first time, though, Mercedes is introducing an S badged version of the hatchback that has even more power.
The A45 AMG registers as quite familiar for those already acquainted with the A35. There are a few significant changes to talk about, though. The A45 features the Panamericana element, which we see on the larger AMGs. The front bumper also appears borrowed from the larger AMG units.
There are larger side vents as well with horizontal slats and a revised wing layout into the centre intake. The side winglets illustrated on the A35 are also shown. Other attributes that set the A45 apart from the other A-class models are the broader design of the front fenders and the flared wheel arches. These would allow for a wider front axle.
The interior seems to be an upgraded version of other A-Class models. The material quality is slightly better as well, and the cabin borrows from the larger AMG models. The configuration is based on two main screens which show the occupant anything they would like to know data-wise from fuel economy to tyre pressure monitoring. It entails a high-tech centre stack and turbine air vents. Two 10.25-inch displays appear like one large screen extending from behind the steering wheel to the passenger side of the dash.
The standard upholstery combines such elements as Dinamica microfiber with double stitching in red and Artico leather. The A45 also comes fitted with red seatbelts and chrome A/C vents with red rings. Compared to the sedan counterpart, the hatchback offers less luggage room behind the second row. However, when these are folded, it does allow up to 1,180 litres of luggage.
The Mercedes MBUX infotainment settings remain impressive within the A45 S, the fluid responsiveness and sharp graphics of the displays are quite an asset. The trackpad mounted on the centre console is also user-friendly and workable, though not as intuitive as desired. The touch-sensitive thumb pads on the steering wheel are a great addition.
The S models get the AMG Track Pace app as a standard addition to the Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and DAB radio. It allows the drivers to record lap times and analyze the driving data with ease. The MBUX augmented reality functions could be used to project the ideal racing line on a circuit onto the head-up display.
Mercedes managed to pull a rabbit out of its hat with the power train system. It is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged unit, producing 310 kW. It is currently the most powerful four-cylinder engine in production. The acceleration is 0 to 97 km/h within 3.9 seconds, which is understandably brisk considering the output. The transmission is new as well. Mercedes replaced the previous seven-speed dual-clutch which was on the other A-class models with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic alternative. It features new gear ratios allowing for faster acceleration in all speed ranges.
There are six driving modes available to the A45 AMG. They alter attributes concerning throttle, shift times and transmission dynamics. These include Comfort, Sport, Sport +, Race and Slippery. Unlike its siblings though, the A45 S features a lightweight aluminium plate which is bolted underneath the engine for better torsional rigidity in the front. There is also a strut tower brace between the front suspension struts and pistol-shaped shotguns. The suspension, as well, is a new design from AMG with bespoke spring elements and frequency selective shock absorbers.
Upon hitting the throttle, the four-wheel-drive system activates, thus reducing the nose-heavy understeer that was a previous problem. Whether exiting a corner or on a straight, the AMG S allocates power accurately. There is some lag on the bottom end, but this is a sports car, so it would be better to be focused on 4000 rpm and upwards when possible. The A45 S is also adequate for city driving, and this is where the comfort mode comes in. It is or fuel-efficient and daily driving, utilising early upshifts and comfort settings for the suspension.
The A45 borrows a lot of the packages from the other A-Class models. There is an array of active and passive safety systems assisting the driver. These include the ability to keep an eye on traffic with improved camera and radar systems, allowing it to see up to 500 meters ahead. The use of the navigation data, as well as active distance, assist Distronic systems provides the sedan with autonomous capability, which is one of the unique features in this class. It also includes active brake assist, emergency stop assist, and active lane change assist as some of the available packages.
The A45 S became available in the Australian market in early 2020. The fuel economy registers at 6.9 litres per 100 kilometres even during full throttles. The AMG currently goes for AUD 103,000.
The previous model of the AMG A45 set a standard on the premium performance hatchback market, but this new model has taken it to yet another level. The additional power is something to note with the 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine churning more than 300 kW. The A45 S was meant to be a track car with that amount of power, but its amenities allow for the comforts of city driving without necessarily having to tiptoe on the pedal. The interior accents can be a bit complicated, but it retains the elegance and style of AMG. The A45 S is a great buy and an upgrade if there ever was one.
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