The Mercedes A45 AMG is small but packs a mighty punch
When it comes down to a proper hot hatch, there are very few cars that deserve the title. It takes a lot to be crowned a worthy hatch, it needs to be the perfect blend of power and control, and that is where the Mercedes Benz A4 AMG shines bright.
Featuring intelligent all-wheel-drive system that only engages when it detects slip, and combined to the most powerful four-cylinder production engine ever made and you have a true monster of a machine. Some say that the asking price is a little too steep for such a small car, but then they would not really understand the joys of having controllable power. Flip the page to read about the car that has taken Malaysian car enthusiasts by storm.
Ultimate hot hatch
Mercedes A45 AMG is the ultimate balance of power and control
It was not too long ago that auto makers though they had reached the limits of a front wheel drive machine. That was when Renault packed about 250 horsepower and the world was at awe. But then Ford came and blew everyone away with the 300 horsepower Focus RS, and that is where the power war started, and right now Mercedes Benz occupies the throne with its latest AMG models.
The Mercedes Benz A45 AMG is not your ordinary A-class. From the outside it may look as if a boy racer had his way and plonked on those aggressive looking wings and blades. And those black rims may look like they came from a mod shop somewhere in Sunway, but there is a lot more to the A45 than meets the eye.
You see, the A45 is a case of form following function; those wings and blades aid aerodynamics to keep the car planted at speed, and those rims are bigger and lighter to give you better control. It also idles with a mean sounding burble and it works through the gearshifts with a loud bang which is bound to terrify the uninitiated. It is nothing like the standard A-class, and that is just on the outside, step inside and everything is yet again very different from the base car.
For starters the overall design of the dashboard is similar to the standard car, but is differentiated with some carbon fibre effect trim running across the dash and some ruby red highlights around the air-conditioning vents. This lends an air of sportiness, but it is the form fitting seats that are the real highlight here.
Sports seats are usually a nightmare for big sized drivers, but in the A45 you can electronically adjust the amount of support your upper and lower body needs. Get the settings right and the seats clasp you perfectly in place through the hardest of corners.
Interior build quality also feels better than the standard A-class thanks largely in part to the generous use of Nappa leather. The most noticeable difference here is the centre console mounted gear selector. While the standard A-class features a steering column mounted shifter stalk, the aluminium shifter in this AMG is much welcomed. It is a solid piece of metal and has an expensive, chunky feel to it. Even the steering mounted aluminium shifter pedals are made of aluminium, and unlike the usual plastic shifters, the ones here feel rock solid.
The interior comes with all the driver comforts you expect like bluetooth with USB connectivity, navigation and such. And it is of course very sporty when compared to the standard A-class, and rightfully so as the A45 packs a very special punch. Powering this small package is the most powerful series-production four-cylinder engine in the world. The 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged engine is, like every other AMG engine, hand built by a single engineer. It outputs 360 horsepower and 450Nm of torque, which is good enough to catapult the car to 100km/h in just 4.6 seconds, and on to the electronically-limited 250km/h.
All that power is normally transferred to the front wheels via the AMG SpeedShift DCT 7-speed sports transmission. But in the event the front wheels are overloaded with power, which happens a lot when attacking corners, there is a multi-disc clutch with electro-hydraulic control that allows variable torque split. This channels power to the rear wheels to a split 50:50 (front/rear) of power distribution, providing maximum control when you most need it. But there is no indication of it working, no blinking lights, no sound, nothing, just maximum control when things get hairy.
There is no doubt that this A45 AMG is a very fast car, there are very few cars that could hold a wheel to it out on the open road. It drives beautifully and picks up the slightest change of direction thanks to a brilliant chassis and suspension. It is as responsive as a hardcore hot hatch should be, but it throws all delicacy to the wind and picks up all the bumps on the road and hops and skips over inundations. This makes the car feel rough and too taut for regular highway cruising. Your wife or girlfriend will not be impressed by the ride quality, but find a winding road and the A45 comes to its own. It lets you brake late with gearshifts banging home complete with engine blips. As with a lot of modern sports cars, it makes you feel like a proper driving hero simply because there is so much power to compensate for the lack of driving skill.
The A45 AMG is the perfect driving machine for those who like small fast cars. It may not be very comfortable if you want something for long distance comfort cruising, but there is the GLA 45 AMG if comfort and power is your thing. It rewards drivers who are willing to brave its limits, and that is what it does best, driving hard. The asking price is steep, but if you are in the market for a proper fire breathing hot hatch, then this A45 AMG is the finest monster you will get.