First Test: Mercedes-Benz A 45 AMG review

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AMG aims to make it big with the A 45 AMG by going small. Melvin Tang sees if it succeeds

Although its two-litre turbocharged engine could be seen as “small” when compared to the rest of Mercedes-Benz’s five to six-litre AMG range, the A 45 AMG is a veritable giant in terms of horsepower.

After all, its 360hp and 450Nm of torque make it the most powerful series production four-cylinder engine in the world, with a power-to-capacity ratio to rival even the fastest supercars.

As if that wasn’t enough to make this pocket rocket special, it’s also got four-wheel drive, claimed consumption of just 14.5km/L, and 165g/km in carbon emissions. In a car that goes from 0-100km/h in just 4.6 seconds, that’s really quite something.

Design

The A 45 might look pretty similar to the regular A-class, but there’s no mistaking that distinctive AMG styling. It’s hard to deny it looks every inch a high-performance vehicle either, especially the “Edition 1” variant that comes complete with aerodynamic bodykit and racing stripes. Strangely, the car feels much bigger than it really is while driving, so tight spaces will induce copious sweating and possibly swearing.

Interior

It may be a performance vehicle, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be well put together. Sporting (hah!) a high level of finish with solid, premium materials all round, the A 45’s interior is top-notch.

Red trim and stitching tastefully accent the black leather nicely, with the carbon fibre-like dashboard adding a racy (double hah!) feel. Comfortable, electrically adjustable, and ergonomic, the fantastic seats also do a great job of holding people in place whenever the car is pushed… to extremely safe and responsible limits.

Ride

When cruising along the highway, the 
A 45 can almost seem luxurious, being so stable that going at 90km/h feels more like 60. It doesn’t help that the speedometer goes up to 320km/h, meaning 90 is barely a third of the way round.

Steering is really precise, though it can feel a bit emotionless, while the stiffened ride makes cornering a breeze. However, while the suspension is fine for smooth roads, encountering consecutive humps, bumps, and unpaved roads can make passengers wish they took a taxi instead. 

More after the break...

Power

Make no mistake, the A 45 is fast, almost devilishly so. What’s more impressive is that it can perform almost like a regular car one moment, and go completely primal in beast mode the next.

A special AMG sports exhaust system also enables the car to moderate its generous amounts of power according to the situation, leading to really smooth delivery. That’s complemented nicely by the excellent transmission, which snaps through gears crisply and effortlessly even at low speeds, unlike many other performance vehicles. The fact that each change is accompanied by awesome pops and crackles from the rumbling exhaust makes everything even better.

Efficiency

Going by Mercedes-Benz’s figures, we expected to get around 14-14.5km/L on the A 45 with a combination of highway and city driving. However, being stuck in city traffic for almost the entire test period quickly reduced that figure, though not by much. The A 45 actually managed 12.5km/L, which isn’t far from what a regular car would manage in similar conditions. That’s quite a feat, especially considering the amount of power and performance the car has, and the less-than-ecological driving habits it inspires. 

Verdict

The A 45 AMG is stupendously fun when unleashed, and will definitely surprise you the first time you try it. It’s a very easy car to enjoy even if you’re not a petrolhead, though we’re not sure passengers will share in the enthusiasm. On the other hand, given its $300,000 price tag, it’s highly likely only enthusiasts would buy it, unless someone’s going through a mid-life crisis.

More test details can be found in the March 2014 issue of Stuff Singapore magazine.

says

First Test: Mercedes-Benz A 45 AMG

If you like fast cars, you’ll love the A 45 AMG

First Test: Mercedes-Benz A 45 AMG
4 stars
From S$296,888
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