Review: Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG (2013 – 2018)
First four-cylinder AMG model produces 360PS from turbocharged 2.0-litre engine. Impressive handling and grip levels. As quick as you'd expect
Expensive with a starting price of more than £37,000.
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Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG (2013 – 2018): At A Glance
Be under no illusions here. The Mercedes Benz A45 AMG is a very important car for its maker. AMG has made a name for itself building heavy-hitting V8 and sometimes V12 saloons, estates, coupes and cabriolets - but never before has it built a hot hatch.
This is a radical new direction for AMG and one with clear goals in mind. Firstly to create a halo for the rest of the A-Class range to bask under and to offer a three-pointed alternative to the mighty BMW M135i - the car which has re-defined what performance you can expect for £30,000-and-a-bit.
Good job then, that Mercedes-Benz and AMG decided to crowbar in much more power than the 315PS the BMW can muster. The A45 develops 360PS from its hand-built turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder, sprints from 0-62mph in a claimed 4.6 seconds and comes with a starting price of £37,845.
Visually you're getting rather a lot over the standard A-Class. But then you should - the standard car is a bit awkward to look at from some angles and in certain colours. The AMG gets a new bumper and grille at the front, in order to accommodate the intercooler and supplementary radiator.
It's surprisingly un-aggressive head-on, which adds to the A45's low key appeal. Other visual modifications include lowered suspension, 18-inch diamond-cut alloys, side skirts, and twin exhausts. It's surprisingly subtle - for an AMG - and yet, to those in the know, it's instantly recognisable as a high-performance car.
What does a Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG (2013 – 2018) cost?
Buy a used Mercedes-Benz A-Class from £12,998
Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG (2013 – 2018): What's It Like Inside?
Inside, it's what you'd be hoping for with all the best bits of the A-Class. There's great fit and finish, spot-on ergonomics, a big boot and a good driving position, but with extra AMG-specific additions. The firm sports front seats are wonderfully supportive and look great, while the black trim with red highlights - including seatbelts - works for us. The dashboard's carbon fibre finish might be an acquired taste, though. The Command system is as good as it ever was and the add-on screen is funky, even if looks a little aftermarket at first glance.
Child seats that fit a Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG (2013 – 2018)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG (2013 – 2018) like to drive?
Changes to the steering and suspension are more wide-ranging than the ride-height. The steering has been tuned for sharper turn-in and the anti-roll bars, springs and dampers have also all been uprated, plus there's a new multi-link rear suspension set-up.
The big news is the 4Matic transmission system, with a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. It's not a permanent four-wheel drive system, but rather a part-time traction aid, splitting power to the rear wheels when it's needed. So effectively, for the majority of the time, the A45 is a front-wheel drive car.
When you twist the key and start it up you're greeted with an interesting combination of sounds. The four-cylinder engine sounds distinctly flat and unremarkable at idle, but it's overlaid by a bass-rich exhaust note. The throttle response is keen without being over-sharp, meaning you can moderate your speed easily. And that's a good thing, because when you poke the right-hand pedal hard, the A45 takes off instantly and piles on speed with ease.
If you're using the A45 on typical British roads, you'll be wanting to use the adjustable suspension's Comfort setting. With it selected, the ride quality is suprisingly pliant, but the damping remains controlled on lumpier roads when you head for the corners at speed. In Sport mode it's far more responsive, turning almost aggresively into corners and tracking round them without a hint of body roll. The trade-off is a deterioration in ride quality, which can - on particularly pockmarked roads - literally knock the wind out of you.
Put the A45 AMG in Sport mode and the first thing that strikes you is how quickly it accelerates and how responsive the engine is. There's no epic soundtrack like you get with other AMG models, but the four-cylinder unit revs cleanly, isn't too loud and even under full throttle is remarkably civilised.
And from 2000rpm through to 6000rpm it pulls relentlessly, quickly building to the red-line. The gearchanges are fast and punchy and even mid-corner changes fail to unsettle the car. The brakes are strong, with superb feel and the fruity exhaust works a treat, popping when you back off the gas and fizzing at maximum revs.
The second A45 AMG revelation is that it's better dynamically than you probably hoped for. The incisive steering, flat cornering and huge reserves of grip make the A45 a real hoot. And it would take a very sensitive driver to pick up on what the clever 4Matic system is doing. Just enjoy it for what it is - a responsive super hot hatch.
Back in the real world, there's a final and very convincing string to the A45's bow. Its efficiency. It emits 161g/km of CO2 and returns a combined average of 40.9mpg. Whether your average A45 owner will be quite that restrained with their right foot is another matter entirely.
|A45 AMG||39–41 mpg||4.2–4.6 s||161–171 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG (2013 – 2018)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
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