2020 Mercedes-AMG A45 S Review | carsales

2020 Mercedes-AMG A45 S Review | carsales


All-wheel drive, drift mode and potent turbocharged
engine. If this sounds the recipe for a potent sports
car, well it is. This is the 2020 Mercedes-AMG A 45, and I
reckon it’s fair to say the baby ‘Benz has graduated from the hot hatch ranks. The A 45 has been a cult favourite for Mercedes-AMG
ever since its introduction in 2013. Tasked with bringing a new wave of buyers
in into the fold, it did that and more, driving record sales for Benz’s performance division. Now, the second generation has arrived in
Europe, before its Australian touchdown in 2020. And key to it is the world’s most powerful
four-cylinder production engine – 310kW and 500Nm. Now as a reference, that’s a higher output
per litre than many Japanese super-bikes, and it doesn’t hang around either. The all-important nought to 100 time takes
3.9 seconds, but the more telling trait with the A45 is the manner in which it delivers
that power. AMG said it want the linearity of a naturally-aspirated
petrol, they haven’t quite got that but it’s more linear and less elastic than the
original. Those feelings are supported by a torque peak
that materialises early in the rev range, and a new eight-speed automatic that is rapid
and well-timed in its shifts. Elsewhere, the A45 employs six-piston brakes
up front, a stiffened body shell and a reengineered steering rack. There’s also a new all-wheel drive system
with torque control function, to electronically vary the amount of power sent to each rear
wheel, while inside, the baby AMG picks up the latest infotainment, tech and safety. It’s noticeably more refined on the road,
too, but not everyone will love to softer exhaust note. Then there’s the other party trick, drift
mode. There are two multi-disc clutches on the rear
axle, one on each wheel. Now if this sounds familiar, it’s a very
similar set-up to one originally used on the Ford Focus RS… and like that car, it’s
not hard to get the baby AMG sideways. Elsewhere the car’s dynamics have matured,
you can really lean on the front axle, there’s good weighting to the steering ,though not
a lot of feedback, and the car feels tied down to the road, even on a circuit. There’s only been a couple of occasions
where it has been floaty, but never disconcerting. This is something else, closer yet again to
a sports car.. (use whatever works here)
In many respects, this is the new battleground for luxury sportscars… And what I love is that this new benchmark
will be tested when Audi brings out its next-generation RS 3.. For the meantime though, this car is likely
to sit atop the hot hatch pile, because it feels like a genuine sports car.