How does it drive?
It’s hard to sum it up in a short sentence, I think the A45 AMG might just have redefined the performance hatchback arena. In the A45 you get what is now known as the most powerful series production four-cylinder engine in the world. That engine block should come with a warning sticker on it, as it is very quick! It puts out 360bhp, and the car only weighs 1,555kg. This combination means that the car will do 0 – 60mph in 4.3 seconds and will run up to 168mph if you opt for the AMG driver package which removes the 155mph electronic limit. This isn’t your standard hot hatch by any means.
Taking the car out on the first spin in the pouring rain was interesting to say the least, I knew it was going to be quick, but I had no idea what I was in for. Once I had the car on my first clear straight, I knocked the DCT gearbox down into second and planted my foot, needless to say, hell broke loss, the car gripped at all 4 corners and launched like I had never anticipated, hitting the redline and shifting up, I was surprisingly treated to an engineered exhaust pop. Now that is the kind of engineering that sells cars! At full throttle the car sounds amazing, but with the added banging and popping, it will get you curling your toes.
So we know in a straight line the car goes well, you could tell that from the figures really. But how does it work in the corners. This I can summarise, it simply defies science! The levels of grip even in the wet are way higher than you would ever have dreamed of.
I did my testing with understandable caution, but after a while that testing turned into curiosity, even in the wet it was fairly difficult to upset. You could arrive late into a corner, turn in hard and pretty much plant your foot out of the corner, and between the huge amount of mechanical grip and the computers balancing the central differential, the AMG tuned car does the hard work for you, vectors the torque around to the correct wheels then guides you through the corner to the next straight, then gives a nice exhaust pop as a treat for braving some harsh cornering.
It is a very satisfying feeling and the feedback from the car makes you feel that you are in control at all times which feels really rewarding on the road. However, deep down you know this is some very clever AMG trickery keeping you alive. But either way I leave the car feeling smug every time.
As you would expect, you can adjust the setup of the A45 dual clutch gearbox from C (Controlled Efficiency), to M (Manual), to S (Sport). Obviously, I had the car in sport for 99% of the time, you wouldn’t expect any less of me, right? It was impressive to see how much the setup changed the behaviour of the car, and once in Sport mode, it really contributed to a brilliant performance car experience.
The A45 AMG is without a doubt the best hot hatch that I ever driven. There is a demand for high quality, super-fast hatchbacks, with style, and taste and Mercedes have hit the nail on the head with the A45.
The A45 AMG is impressive to look at, and is undoubtedly brilliant when pushing it to the limits on the road. For me sitting inside this car I couldn’t stop smiling with the excitement of driving it. I felt instantly connected to the road and the driving experience of the car was enjoyable and rewarding. You wouldn’t believe it was possible to build a hot hatch this good!
- Price: £51,590
- Engine: 2.0-Litre Turbo
- Power: 360bhp
- Torque: 450Nm
- Transmission: AMG Speedshift DCT seven-speed automatic
- 0-62mph: 4.6 Seconds
- Top speed: 168mph
- Weight: 1555kg
- Economy combined: 40mpg
- CO2: 161g/km