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Driven: Monster Mercedes-AMG A45 S storms in

Mercedes expects strong response to explosive 310kW A45 S hyper-hatch, from $93,600

23 Apr 2020

MERCEDES-BENZ has introduced one of the most highly anticipated new models to be launched in Australia this year, unleashing the 310kW AMG-powered A45 S hyper-hatch that is now available in showrooms priced from $93,600 plus on-road costs.


While the coronavirus pandemic has thrown a spanner in the works, Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific remains upbeat about the prospects of the hardcore new-generation high-performance A-Class flagship, which sits above the first-ever A35 that arrived last year with a less frenetic 225kW version of the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine that powers the AMG small cars.


When the industry resets post-COVID-19, the two models are expected to boost sales and AMG’s share of A-Class volume beyond 20 per cent – despite the A45 starting $15,000 higher than the previous generation, which is due mainly to the fact that only the top-spec ‘S’ version is available here this time around and leaves the new lower-tiered 285kW variant to other markets.


We note that A35 hatch pricing has also increased $2100 to $69,300 plus on-roads since launch, although it remains the most affordable Mercedes-AMG model on Australian soil by a long shot.


The A35 is also available in a sedan body style (from $72,500) and in CLA four-door coupe guise (from $85,500), while the CLA45 S has arrived with a sticker price of $111,200.


“Across the portfolio, we typically see the uptake of AMG variants sitting at around 20 per cent,” said Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific media relations and product communications manager Ryan Lewis.


“But I wouldn’t be surprised to see that share increase in the compact segment with the introduction of the AMG 35 variants alongside the new A45 range.”


At the heart of the matter with A45 is the most powerful 2.0-litre engine in mass production.


While all A45 versions globally gain an aluminium crankcase, twin-scroll turbocharger, two-stage fuel injection and a novel high-performance cooling system, the S with a compression ratio of 9.0:1 ups the ante on power and torque to a respective 310kW at 6750rpm and 500Nm from 5000-5250rpm.


All four wheels are driven using Daimler’s fully variable 4Matic+ system via an all-new eight-speed dual-clutch transmission dubbed AMG Speedshift DCT 8G. The A45 S also features AMG Torque Control and Drift Mode functions courtesy of a trick rear differential.


A brace of driver-selectable modes are available, made up of default Comfort, Slippery, Sport, Sport+ and Race, while an Individual setting allows the driver to create a pick-’n’-mix of the various engine, transmission and adaptive damper settings these offer. The latter is a multi-stage AMG Ride Control set-up.


With the aid of the ‘Race Start’ launch control mode, the A45 S can accelerate from 0-100km/h in just 3.9 seconds – 0.3s quicker than before – on the way to a top speed of 270km/h.


Fuel economy also improves, with the new model delivering a combined-cycle fuel consumption average of 8.9 litres per 100km.


Red-painted six-pot brake callipers grip 360mm ventilated and perforated discs up front while a single-pot floating set-up clamps 330mm ventilated and perforated discs at the rear.


Based on the fourth-generation A-Class’ MFA2 architecture, the 1625kg A45 S has undergone extensive bodyshell stiffening to cope with the extra performance demands, including an aluminium plate bolted underneath the engine and strut tower braces for improved torsional rigidity.


Additional reinforcement plates connect the side members to the A-pillars and diagonal struts are fitted to the underbody. These also help better locate the suspension, which consists of MacPherson-style struts at the front and a four-link axle at the rear, both brandishing anti-rollbars and 245/35ZR19 tyres as standard.


Speaking of spec, among the advanced safety systems on-board is the Driving Assistance Package Plus with Active Distance Assist Distronic (including Cross-Traffic Assist) that brings radar sensors and a 3D stereo camera that monitor surroundings and maintain stop/go speeds up to 210km/h.


Other driver-assist technology fitted standard includes Active Brake Assist, Active Lane Change Assist, a 360-degree camera, adaptive LED headlights with automatic high beam, and route-based speed adaptation.


Stepping inside, A45 S buyers score a variation of the regular A-Class’ MBUX multimedia system that adds access to numerous vehicle functions and data including gear speed and warm-up indicators, a G-meter, race timer, telemetry and engine data, as well as multi-configurable digitised instrumentation and the ‘Hey, Mercedes’ voice control system.


Among other cabin highlights are heated and electrically adjustable front sports seats, AMG Performance black microfibre upholstery, a Burmeister audio system, wireless phone charging, smartphone mirroring, keyless entry/start, 64-colour ambient lighting, privacy glass and a panoramic glass roof.


Boot volume varies from 370 litres to 1210L with the split/fold rear seatbacks dropped.


If the bigger, more angular air intakes, AMG-specific radiator grille, wider front wings with flared wheelarches, four 90mm exhaust tips, aggressively styled rear diffuser, lower side skirts and A45 S-specific 19-inch alloys aren’t enough, an AMG Aero Package with a black rear spoiler, larger front splitter with winglets and other spoiler bits is available for $2490.


Other options include the $3290 AMG High Performance Seat Package (bringing contoured sports seats and luggage nets, but deleting driver’s lumbar adjustment), $690 AMG Performance Sound (fruiter exhaust), $790 Climatised front seats and $790 Burmester audio upgrade.


For an extra $8090, a limited-run ‘Edition 1’ variant brings an AMG Aero and Decals package with a rear spoiler, unique AMG Performance seats, AMG Performance steering wheel, racier trim and upholstery, different alloys (still 19-inch) and a ‘Sun’ yellow/black colour combination.


As with all Mercedes-Benz models, the A45 S warranty period is now five years/unlimited kilometres.


2020 Mercedes-AMG A-Class pricing*

A35 4Matic (a) $69,300
A45 S 4Matic+ (a) $93,600
A45 S 4Matic+ Edition 1 (a) $101,690

*Excludes on-road costs

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