Performance car of the year 2022 Finalist: Mercedes-AMG A 45 S
Seven years ago, Mercedes rewrote the hot hatch rulebook with the first A 45 AMG. That caused Volkswagen’s ever-improving Golf R, the Audi RS3 and one or two others to react. So AMG struck back with this, the fastest 2-litre and hatchback on earth.
A 45 S IS IMPOSING FOR SURE
Imposing with its new AMG grille, jet-wing apron, broader wings and flared arches. To fit n wider front track and slick new AMG alloys wearing fat Michelin Sport Pilots. Add fatter skirts and that aggro rear wing above quad 90 mm AMG tailpipes. Ballsy. Even if some of its fit was a bit disappointing.
But 45 S however stands head and shoulders above from the moment you finger the starter button. And that One Man One Engine 310 kW 500 Nm 2.1-bar twin-scroll roller bearing turbo M139 2-litre 4 pot now spun 180 degrees to turn its inlet to the front, shakes to life. It feels like a race car. There’s no velvet glove. Just the naked iron fist. Taut and stiff. Not enough? Never fear! Add AMG’s new Speedshift DCT 8G dual-clutch auto and 4-Matic all-wheel drive, Race-Start launch control and Drift Mode too.
The Race Start is a peach. Just find Race mode, stand on both gas and the brakes, let it crackle for a second and slip your left foot off the clamps. That launches A 45 S like the bullet out of a gun. It squashes your back into the racing seat and rockets to the horizon.
To deliver its claimed record 3.9-second dash with metronomic consistency, all day long.
MORE THAN JUST A DRAG KING
But there’s far more to it than just the drag strip. A 45 S demands to be manhandled. The harder you steer, the better it responds. Even those Sport Pilots complain. Be greedy with the throttle. Pin the throttle real early. Sense the systems working under you. Spilt central and totally variable AMG Torque Control rear differentials apportion power between the four corners. For a wonderful rear-wheel drive like feel. It even becomes tail happy with some proper turning moment induced.
There’s hardly any lean and it feels just like a race car. It corners hard enough to make you brace your neck. You can play Nürburgring 24 Hour too. Those Sport Pilots simply don’t drop off. And did someone say Drift Mode? Aah! Drift Mode! If you ever tire of chasing tenths of a second every lap, Drift Mode replaces the go with a little show at the prod of a button. Gruffer exhaust tone, pops, bangs and all! The brakes love to be abused. Jump on them way beyond your comfortable markers and still A 45 S retards splendidly.
Of course, AMG A45 S has a really cool cockpit to offset its W12-like ride (that’s Lewis’ weekend wheels, by the way). Complete with the ultimate man to machine interface. Merc’s impeccable Starship Enterprise instrumentation and MBUX infotainment crosses the dash to deliver a choice of Classic, Sport. And particularly striking Supersport modes. It even works with My Mercedes’ Track Pace virtual race engineer data logger to hone your driving skills.
A 45 S – LONG LIVE THE KING?
Yes, it’s expensive. But the Mercedes-AMG A 45 S is a huge fun, great looking and still practical ultra-performance hot hatch that ticks every dynamic box with distinction. But is it the hot hatch King? Keep following Performance car of the year to find out!
PERFORMANCE CAR OF THE YEAR 2022 FINALIST: Mercedes-AMG A 45 S Engine: 310 kW 500 Nm 2-litre turbo petrol I4 Drive: 8-speed DC auto AWD TESTED: 0-100 km/h: 3.88 sec 0-160 km/h: 8.32 sec 400m: 11.9 sec @ 192 km/h 80-120 km/h: 2.28 sec 120-160 km/h: 3.21 sec CLAIMED: VMax: 270 km/h Fuel: 8.4 l/100 km CO2: 192 g/km Warranty/Service: 2y unl./5y 100K km LIST PRICE: R1.231M
Performance car of the year 2022 Program Pcoty ‘22 Introduction Audi RS 6 Avant BMW M5 Competition Ford Ranger Raptor SE Jaguar I-Pace Mercedes-AMG A45 S Mercedes-AMG E 63 S Mini Cooper SE Toyota GR Yaris Volkswagen Golf 8 GTI Pcoty ‘22 Electric Shootout Pcoty ‘22 Super Hatch Shootout Pcoty ‘22 Super Saloon Shootout Pcoty '22 Top Three Pcoty ‘22 Winner