2014 Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG: Forget Hot Hatch, This Is a Fire-Breathing Five-Door [2013 Geneva Auto Show]
Hot hatches aren’t what they used to be, and that’s a good thing, because they’re now much more than what they used to be. The latest example of this evolution comes from Mercedes-Benz, whose A45 AMG finally provides the three-pointed star a combatant to take the fight to the Audi RS3. Benz’s compact hatchback—a prototype of which we’ve been taken for a ride in—is fitted with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four that makes 360 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque. That power is routed to all four wheels through a front-biased all-wheel-drive system, which can send up to 50 percent of the torque to the rear wheels.
The only available transmission in the A45 is a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, which features an AMG gear selector mounted in the center console rather than the steering-column-mounted device in the plebeian A-classes, as well as paddle shifters for manual operation. The brand claims a 0-to-62-mph time of just 4.6 seconds with top speed governed at 155 mph. Although the only fuel-economy information Mercedes has made available is via the optimistic European cycle, the Stuttgart-based brand claims the hatchback will be good for 34 mpg.
In order to cope with all that extra power, AMG has modified the A-class’s suspension, including standalone front and rear axles. Standard 18-inch aluminum wheels are wrapped in 235/40 tires, and 19-inchers shod with 235/35 rubber are optional. The electromechanical power steering is specially tuned, and the braking system has been upgraded, too. The electronic stability control adds Sport and Off settings to the standard function, although nanny aids return under braking when operating in Off mode.
The aerodynamics are improved as well, even though the A45 AMG doesn’t improve upon the top speed of the A250 Sport—which we’re told actually can achieve 155 mph rather than the claimed 150-mph electronic limit. But the front splitter and aeroflics make the car look even more sinister than its already-impressive sibling. On top of that, buyers can opt for an even-more-aggressive aerodynamics package, and a carbon-fiber exterior package. Inside, a sport steering wheel, sport seats, and red seat belts and contrast stitching set the A45 apart from lesser A-classes.
- First Ride: 2014 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG
- Comparison Test: 2012 BMW M3 Coupe vs. 2012 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe
- First Drive: 2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT Coupe
The Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG won’t be sold in the U.S., but it gives us an excellent idea of what to expect from the upcoming and U.S.-bound CLA45 AMG. It won’t be a hot hatch, but if the A45 is any indication, it may well be the hottest compact sedan.
By Jens Meiners