The updated Mercedes-AMG A45 hot hatch has seen some fairly significant changes as part of its mid-life update – so many that Matthias Schmidt, Mercedes-AMG product manager of compact cars, said “we made so many changes on the car, it’s almost a new A45”.
Under the bonnet the revamped 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder AMG engine’s outputs are up from 265kW to 280kW, while torque has also increased from 450Nm to 475Nm.
The result, as you’d expect, is a quicker A45 – indeed, the company has shaved almost half a second from its 0-100km/h time, which is now claimed at just 4.2 seconds (was 4.6sec). Fuel use remains at 6.9 litres per 100km.
It sets the scene for a potential future power battle against other hardcore fours. Volkswagen has confirmed it is building a Golf super hatch, the Golf R400. It’s powered by a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder which will have, as the name suggests, about 400 horsepower (the exact power output isn’t yet confirmed, but expect between 294kW and 309kW).
Mercedes-AMG head of marketing Wolfgang Ungerer suggested his brand has no fear of a power battle.
“It’s another segment in which, of course, there is competition. But that’s OK. We’re ready for it. We’re totally confident that this car is going to score well,” he said.
“The A45 has been a game-changer for us, because we actually have a very powerful engine in an entry segment, plus if you understand what the A-Class means for Mercedes as a whole, it was really part of rejuvenating the brand – making it more accessible, and making it cool again amongst young people. And the A45 is always the cherry on the cake,” he said.
“The most powerful, most agile and best performing – it’s more than just the power. It’s important to emphasise it’s more than just the power.”
On that topic, there have been other “tactical changes”, according to Schmidt, including reworking the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
“We optimised the whole drivetrain – this is still the most powerful four-cylinder engine in the world. It’s not only the engine that we changed, it’s also the whole drivetrain – the transmission ratios, the software, the shifting times are faster. So the whole technology is changed on this car.”
As well as that, AMG has added its Dynamic Select programs, as seen on the GLE and GLE Coupe, which offer the driver adjustability of the steering, suspension, engine and gearbox response. There will be three pre-set modes: Comfort, Sport and Sport+, as well as Individual that allows the driver to set their favourite parts.
Further, there will be a new AMG Dynamic Plus package, which includes a front differential lock that is “something totally new to the compact segment in our compact cars” according to AMG. That’s undoubtedly where some of the claimed dynamic performance gains will come from.
Another new feature is the AMG ride control suspension, which is an adaptive suspension system with two modes – Sport and Comfort. According to AMG it was “something our customers demanded with the car” but not because it’s too harsh over bumps.
“They said they’d like to have a choice whether to drive more sporty or comfortable. That’s what they said,” claimed Schmidt. Sounds to us like it was too stiff…
Mercedes-Benz Australia has tentatively confirmed a December 2015 / January 2016 launch window for the updated A 45, CLA 45 and GLA 45 models.