Sprint Review: Mercedes-AMG A45 S 4Matic+

If you haven’t done so yet, meet the second generation of Mercedes-AMG’s hatchback monster…

You should know: The A45 is bonkers. Like, properly bonkers. Swivel-eyed, flailing tongue, crazy-haired lunatic in a strait-jacket insane. And as if its ancestor wasn’t loopy enough yet, this new version produces a completely implausible 420 horsepower from a two litre turbo-petrol engine.

How? At first I thought that those AMG boffins had simply strapped a Scania turbo on some hapless A-Class motor but – as was to be expected – a quick look under the bonnet proved otherwise. Read up about the A45’s development and it soon becomes clear that they basically used every trick in the proverbial book.

More info: Two decades ago we marvelled at the Ferrari 360, then the Honda S2000, for pushing 120hp per litre from their naturally-aspirated engines. And although turbochargers can easily double the power of just about any engine, they’ll only do so briefly. If you want that engine to last… that’s where the real know-how steps in.

Why you shouldn’t: Sure, an A45 S will never be as unstressed (and hence, long-lived) as a 1980’s Mercedes 280E and I know of two people who will vouch for A45’s not putting up with sustained abuse for very long… that also seems to be the general opinion of the public, judging by the comments of our drag-race between these two motor vehicles…

Why you should: The A45 S isn’t just a mind-bending bullet of a car; thanks to modern advances in suspension components, it can even deliver a modicum of ride softness. No, it’s true! We still had to be mindful of its low ride height, but this white press demonstrator was shockingly light and easy to pilot around town in Comfort mode.

Which isn’t its primary purpose, of course. Sport mode livens things up, Sport+ and the hooligan exhaust setting make it even edgier while Race mode takes you to white knuckle territory. Insane traction, thanks to expensive tyres. Suicidal grip limits, thanks to 4Matic+ adaptive all-wheel drive system.

In this demented state, the A45 S will hit 100km/h in 3.9 seconds (our best was 4.06) and hit its electronic reigns around 270km/h (we didn’t test that). Moreover, this 8-speed dual-clutch gearbox is one of the best ones we’ve recently piloted; with very little parking speed lurches and unbelievably fast changes in full savage mode…

What else? Have I mentioned the premium cabin finishes and sci-fi technology yet? Everything in this top-dog base-Mercedes is a melting pot of stylish design, quality surfaces and cutting-edge gadgetry. From multi-mode digital instruments to wireless charging, voice control and touchy-feely areas of the brash steering wheel.  

The Mercedes-Benz A45 S 4Matic+ hatchback is a complete mold breaker. Its engine pumps out preposterous amount of power. The handling is unbelievable, too. It’s the fastest four-cylinder we’ve ever tested. Plus it just broke the word count limit for our sprint reviews. And last but most certainly not least…

It costs around 1.2 million bucks.


Engine:2.0L i-4 Turbo-petrol
Transmission:8-speed DCT, AWD
Max. Power:310kW
Max. Torque:500Nm
Avg. cons.:Claimed 8.4L/100km
0-100km/h:4.06 seconds (claimed 3.9)
Top Speed:Claimed 270km/h
List Price:From R1,196,840

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