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Mercedes-AMG reveals mind-bending A45, CLA45

AMG’s A45, CLA45 significantly up performance ante in new 310kW/500Nm S form

5 Jul 2019

MERCEDES-AMG has once again reset the benchmark for performance in the small-car segment, revealing its second-generation A45 hatch and CLA45 sedan that are both hotter than hot.


Due to arrive in Australian showrooms in the first quarter of next year, A45 and CLA45 will be exclusively offered in their most potent form, the new S variant.


Motivated by the same 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine as the ‘regular’ A45 and CLA45, the S increases its maximum outputs to 310kW of power at 6750rpm and 500Nm of torque from 5000-5250rpm. It redlines at 7200rpm.


As reported, these figures are 30kW and 25Nm more than the previous-generation models could muster at their peak, making AMG’s new M139 engine the most powerful series-production four-cylinder unit in the world today.


Mated to an AMG Speedshift eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and an AMG Performance 4Matic+ variable all-wheel-drive system with launch control, the A45 S sprints from a standstill to 100km/h in a supercar-like 3.9 seconds (-0.3s), while its CLA45 counterpart is only 0.1s adrift (-0.2s). Both share an electronically limited top speed of 270km/h.


For reference, the non-S A45 and CLA45 that are not heading Down Under both develop 285kW at 6500rpm and 480Nm from 4750-5000rpm. The former also bests the latter in the triple-digit sprint by 0.1s, at 4.0s, but both have a terminal velocity of 250km/h before the speed limiter kicks in.


The 4Matic+ system is complemented by a rear differential (with two electronically controlled multi-disc clutches) that provides torque vectoring and allows a Drift driving mode which effectively transforms A45 and CLA45 into rear-wheel-drive powerslide heroes.


A45 and CLA45’s AMG suspension set-up consists of MacPherson struts up front and a four-link axle at the rear with stiffer springs and three-setting adaptive dampers, while their two-mode electric power steering (EPS) system is speed-sensitive and has a variable ratio.


To cope with all this extra performance, AMG reinforced both models’ bodyshell with an aluminium plate bolted underneath the engine to increase torsional rigidity up front plus a tower brace between the front suspension’s struts, both of which help to reduce body roll and pitch during spirited driving.


Styling-wise, A45 and CLA45 stand out from their garden-variety siblings by adopting AMG’s signature Panamericana grille with 12 vertical louvres, and twin powerdomes on their bonnets.


For the A45, flared front wheel arches make room for a front axle that is wider than it is in A-Class, while the CLA45 and CLA already share a wide front track, so the visual difference created by the former’s chunkier fenders is not as pronounced.


Predictably, both A45 and CLA45 gain a sports body kit with jet-wing-like front bumpers, wider side skirts and motorsport-inspired rear diffusers flanked by quad round tailpipes (measuring 90mm in diameter for the S variants) for the bi-modal exhaust system plus a wing (A45) or lip (CLA45) spoiler.


The Australia-bound A45 and CLA45 roll on Tantalum Grey 19-inch alloy wheels with a split five-spoke design, wrapped in 245/35 (A45) and 255/35 (CLA45) tyres. The S variants also pick up an upgraded front brakes package with 360x36mm ventilated discs and red six-piston callipers featuring black ‘AMG’ lettering.


Inside, A45 and CLA45 bear a clear resemblance with their A-Class and CLA counterparts, but the AMG influence is apparent with the contoured front sports seats with firm lateral support, while their S variants go a step further with an AMG Performance steering wheel trimmed in Nappa leather and Dinamica microfibre with yellow stitching and 12 o’clock marker.


The standard yellow theme continues with the piping and stitching on the black Artico leather-accented and Dinamica microfibre upholstery, dashboard trim and air-vent rings, while black is used for the headliner and floormats. Stainless-steel touches come from the sports pedals and the front scuff plates.


Thanks to its slippery shape, CLA45 S is more efficient than its A45 siblings, claiming 8.1-8.3 litres of petrol per 100 kilometres and 186-189 grams of carbon dioxide emissions, as tested on the defunct NEDC combined cycle test. The latter manages 8.3-8.4L/100km and 189-192g/km.


“We have completely redesigned our ‘45’ models – from the engine and transmission through the chassis, the elaborately constructed drivetrain to the body structure and of course the design itself – all with one goal: to raise vehicle dynamics and the sporty driving experience to a level previously unimaginable in the compact class,” said Mercedes-AMG chairman of the board of management Tobias Moers.


“With the presentation of this, our most powerful and most dynamic compact sportscar, we are also reinforcing the significance of this segment for our growth strategy.”


According to Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific, pricing and specification for the new A45 and CLA45 will be announced closer to launch. For reference, the former and latter are currently priced from $78,240 and $93,070 plus on-road costs respectively.

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