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Above: 2016 Mercedes-AMG A45 (left) versus 2015 Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG (right)

The 2016 Mercedes-AMG A45 AMG officially launches this week, bringing with it a range of relatively small but important updates to keep it vital against new rivals such as the Audi RS3 and even the forthcoming Ford Focus RS.

You can read our more detailed pricing and specifications story here for more MY16-specific detail, and you can read our first Australian review of the 2016 Mercedes-AMG A45, written ahead of the launch, here.

But in addition, we thought a quick buyer guide comprising a breakdown of the specific changes between old and new would be valuable. The car with the Victorian plates (below left) is the new one, and the car with the Queensland plates (below right) is the old.

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The name

There’s an obvious change here before you step into the new A45 — the name. Mercedes-AMG is now its own designated sub-brand, meaning the name for this car is now ‘Mercedes-AMG A45’. Before, it was ‘Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG’.

Price

The MY16 Mercedes-AMG A45 comes at a $2200 premium over the old model, with a starting price of $77,900 plus on-road costs. That’s still $1000 cheaper than the RS3.

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Above: 2016 Mercedes-AMG A45 (top) versus 2015 Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG (bottom)


Outside

Design changes are typical of a mid-life update. The new model gets a different front bumper and lower intake, a new Diamond grille and LED high-performance headlights. There’s also a new no-cost paint option called Elbaite Green. 

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Above: 2016 Mercedes-AMG A45 (top) versus 2015 Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG (bottom)

At the rear, you get redesigned tail lights and a new diffuser. Mercedes-AMG is claiming better aero.

From the side, you’ll also notice the new dual-spoke 19-inch alloy wheel design. Overall, the new car is 7mm shorter on account of the bumpers.


Inside

Right off the bat you’ll notice the superior new 8.3-inch screen mounted atop the dash, with its revised graphics and infotainment (still operated by the COMAND toggle on the transmission tunnel).

You also get Apple CarPlay connectivity on MY16-built cars.

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Above: 2016 Mercedes-AMG A45 (top) versus 2015 Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG (bottom)

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Above: 2016 Mercedes-AMG A45 in both images. 

The steering wheel and paddle shifters also get subtle redesigns, while there are nice new silver-accented buttons lower on the stack to control various driving functions.

One of these new buttons adjusts the dampers (more on that later), while another makes the exhaust note louder.

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Above: 2016 Mercedes-AMG A45 (top) versus 2015 Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG (bottom)

A close-up will also show you the designed instrument housing, and the new silver seat-adjust buttons on the doors.

The seats themselves remain the hard-backed heated racing units used before, with the familiar red belts.


Under the bonnet

Still just 1991cc, the revised (and still hand-made) engine now produces an extra 15kW of power and 25Nm of torque. This means outputs of 280kW (still at 6000rpm) and 475Nm (still between 2250 and 5000rpm). It’s still the world’s top 2.0-litre.

That power/torque bump is credited to a redesigned valve assembly.There’s also reconfigured timing and turbocharging, though the maximum charge pressure continues to be 1.8 bar.

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Above: 2016 Mercedes-AMG A45 (top) versus 2015 Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG (bottom)

When using launch control, the new 0-100km/h sprint time of 4.2 seconds is four-tenths quicker than the previous model, which is greatly assisted by revised gearing in the DCT dual-clutch automatic gearbox with seven forward ratios.

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Above: 2016 Mercedes-AMG A45 in both images.


Further mechanical upgrades

Headlining the change is the AMG Dynamic Select driving mode adjustment system, lifted from the C63. The old system in the previous model had only had two modes, Comfort and Sport, and one extra for the gearbox’s manual mode.

The new one has five modes: Individual, Comfort, Sport, Sport +, and Race, all chosen via a new dial mounted near the gear shifter and displayed on the new floating interface.

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Each mode still modulates the throttle, the engine note, the exhaust note, but unlike the old version, they also adjust the dampers, which is a huge addition. You can have stiff for softer, the latter making this version much more liveable for the daily commute.

The 4Matic on-demand all-wheel drive system with infinitely variable torque distribution and an AMG electro-hydraulic clutch remains. Only 50 per cent of torque can go to the rear still.

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There’s a new option to improve the car’s lateral acceleration though. For $2000 you can buy a newly developed mechanical front axle locking diff.

MORE: 2016 Mercedes-AMG A45 Review




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