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Let's not mince words here; the Mercedes-AMG A45 S is insane. As we found out while testing the Mercedes-AMG A45 S for this review, the little animal from Affalterbach, Germany would kick most sports cars where it hurts and steal their lunch money.
Now, if you've seen a regular A-Class from Mercedes, you'd probably think I have a few screws loose. But picture this, a few years ago, 400 horsepower was the realm of supercars with only a few sports cars ever reaching that high mark for power. Now, we've got 421 horsepower under the bonnet of a hatchback, a hatchback for crying out loud.
So what exactly does this hatchback do to entice such a reaction. Sit back and continue reading our review of the Mercedes AMG A45 S.
Mercedes AMG A45 S Exterior Design & Style
When AMG gets its hands on any Mercedes, the styling goes a bit mental. The Affalterbach crew have tweaked the design of the A-Class, but this isn't the full bozo tweakery that we've come to expect.
From the front, the new A45 S looks a lot wider than the regular A-Class. This is both true and also a part of an illusion created by the reworked front end of the hatchback.
Gone is the regular Mercedes grille with its horizontal bars of chrome. AMG has instead popped in the Panamericana grille found in its other vehicles into the face of the A-Class. The new grille features vertical slats and a large Mercedes badge in its centre. Flanking the massive grille are the angular headlamps of the A-Class.
Other changes up front include the reworked front apron with larger air intakes to feed cool air to the monster sitting under the bonnet. The power domes on the bonnet add to the muscular look of the front end which is augmented by the wider front track of the A45 S compared to other A-Class.
On the sides, Mercedes has fitted the A45 S with massively flared wheel arches that play host to some rather snazzy forged alloy wheels finished in black and shod with Michelin rubber.
The brake callipers (6 piston front, single piston rear) for the large ventilated disc brakes are finished in red. Also seen on the front wings is Turbo 4Matic+ badging to remind everyone that this is no ordinary A-Class.
The rear end of the A45 S would look quite ordinary if it wasn't for the A45 S badging, the sleeker rear taillights and two large 90mm tailpipes sticking out of the bumper on either side of the diffuser element. The A45 S also sports a much subtler spoiler which does go unnoticed due to the noisemakers down below.
Mercedes AMG A45 S Interior & Features
Step inside and the regular A-Class's interior design shines through. The standard A-Class's interior is one of the best we've seen in any car to date and AMG didn't really have much to do here.
The dashboard is dominated by the twin displays of the driver's instrumentation and the MBUX powered infotainment setup. The infotainment display can be controlled with the trackpad sitting atop the transmission tunnel or by the controls on the steering wheel or if you're really bored by touching the damn display. The infotainment system also responds to voice commands that follow the words 'Hey Mercedes'.
Other features on the inside include the aforementioned steering wheel, which is an AMG unit and comes decked in leather and microfibre and features a 12 'o clock stripe. Also present is the Burmeister sound system and AMG Performance seats that hold you snugly even when you're driving like a loon.
Mercedes AMG A45 S Engine, Specs & Performance
Before we let you know just how this A45 S drives, we need to talk about the engine. Bear with us, this is now AMG nerdville.
The Mercedes-AMG A45 S is powered by what is put simply, the most powerful four-cylinder engine in production today. AMG has gone to great lengths to make this engine different from the one in the A35.
Firstly, the engine which is still transversely mounted has been rotated by 180 degrees. The intakes now face the front while the exhaust ports and the turbocharger face the firewall. This benefits airflow inside the engine bay which in turn aids cooling. The turbocharger features roller bearings that help reduce friction and the exhaust valves are larger as well which increase the flow of the exhaust gases.
The engine also features a two-stage fuel injection system that helps increase specific output. This means that the 2.0-litre engine under the bonnet of the A45 S has a specific output of 104bhp/cylinder or 208bhp/litre. Also, like every other AMG engine, every A45 S engine is assembled by one technician as per AMG's 'One Man One Engine' philosophy.
Okay. Geekville is now officially closed. Let's get to the raw numbers, shall we. The Mercedes-AMG A45 S draws power from a 1,991cc, inline four-cylinder engine with a twin-scroll turbocharger that pushes out 421 horsepower at 6,750rpm and 500Nm of peak torque that is delivered between 5,000 and 5,250rpm. The engine is paired to an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox that sends power to all four wheels.
The A45 S features six driving modes - Slippery (for wet weather driving), Comfort (for the driver who prefers a regular A-Class), Sport (every day) Sport + (for the fellow who prefers a bit more speed), Race (for the raving lunatic who wants all the pops and bangs) and Individual (for those wanting a mix of things). Also for those of you who like to act like a dog and look at the world from the side window, Mercedes has added a Drift Mode that when activated allows the A45 S to chew through its tyres quite easily.
So what does that translate to? Well Mercedes AMG claims that the A45 S will sprint from 0-100km/h in just 3.9 seconds and onwards to a top speed of 270km/h. After sitting behind the wheel with race mode on, we can tell you quite shakily that yes, both figures are totally achievable, provided you have the proper closed-off race track and of course more fortitude downstairs than brains.
Mercedes AMG A45 S Driving Impressions
So let's finally answer that question that made you read through the love fest of AMG geekery above. Just how does the Mercedes-AMG A45 S drive?
Shift to race mode, click the button on the steering wheel to open the exhaust valves...
And almost immediately your experience is elevated. The car transitions like a Cheetah on speed. The pops and bangs get louder and are more pronounced on both up and downshifts.
The Mercedes-AMG A45 S is not just about straight-line speed, we pushed the car through the banking at NATRAX at speeds above 220km/h.
The steering gives you an accurate feel where you can place the car where you want while engaged. This inspires the confidence to go faster, as long as you will it!
The adaptive dampers work like magic. Belt out of a corner or accelerate hard; the suspension firms up and the chassis finds a rhythm, making the car flow with the road.
We maxed out at an electronically limited 278km/h top speed. There wasn't much braking during our speed runs, as the oval high-speed test track is 16 meters wide, with four massive lanes.
But applying the brakes when slowing down to get back to the pit lane, showed us just how promptly they work when needed.
And that sums up our fast and furious driving impression through the 11.3km NATRAX high-speed track, which was completed (1-lap) in under three minutes.
So, what exactly has that insane lap of NATRAX's high-speed track in the A45 S told us about the mad AMG hatchback? We can think of a few things...
Firstly, AMG has built an absolute weapon that could give any sportscar and most entry-level supercars a run for their money. The engine is bonkers and the sound it makes is the only thing most mortals in India will hear before it blasts into the stratosphere when the right pedal is depressed.
Secondly, the AMG A45 S is no slouch in the corners. That all-wheel-drive system and the grippy Michelin PS 4S tyres allow it to grip the road and turn in like no one's business and this is no straight-line special.
Thirdly... Well, this isn't much of a statement but more of a plea to AMG. Can we please have another Go?
Launched in India: November 19, 2021
Price at Launch: Rs 79.50 lakhs (Ex-showroom all-India)
Reporting by Jobo Kuruvilla / Promeet Ghosh; Writing by Dennis James / Jobo Kuruvilla
NATRAX (National Test Tracks) is a State-of-art Automotive Proving Ground located 50 kilometres from Indore on the Agra Mumbai Highway in the Dhar District of Madhya Pradesh. The facility provides a one-stop solution for comprehensive testing and evaluation, Research & Development and Certification to the automotive and auto component industries. NATRAX features a total of 12 test tracks including the fifth-longest high-speed test track in the world that measures 11.3 kilometres. The entire facility occupies approx. 3,000 acres of land.
The High Speed Track at NATRAX is the longest high speed testing track in Asia. The track is built for speeds of up to 375km/h. The High Speed marks a big change for high speed testing of cars. Previously, we've had multiple cars launched in the country with top speeds in excess of 300km/h, though we had no place to test these claims. Now with NATRAX, we have a track to put these top speed claims to the test, So will the speed demons step up? Watch this space...