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With claimed 0-100km/h acceleration of 4.6 seconds and a limited top speed of 270km/h, the A45’s hand-built 265kW/450Nm M133 2.0 litre turbocharged engine is touted as “the world's most powerful four-cylinder engine in series production.”
Mercedes-Benz Australia spokesperson Jerry Stamoulis says the A45’s arrival “will not just revolutionise the hot hatch market, but the performance market as a whole.”
Backing that up, the A45’s official 0-100km/h figure eclipses Audi’s $149,400 RS4 Avant by 0.1 seconds, and trails its $154,900 C63 AMG sedan sibling by just two-tenths.
The impressive outputs have been made possible through a combination of piezo direct-injection, twin-scroll turbocharging, water-to-air intercooling, and a forged crankshaft and pistons -- all permitting a stratospheric maximum boost pressure of 26.5psi.
The A45’s grunt is channelled through a seven-speed dual-clutch auto with paddle shifters and multiple shift modes, before being sent to all four wheels via Haldex-type all-wheel drive system that splits drive up to 50 per cent when needed.
Despite all this caged mechanical lunacy, the A45 uses standard start/stop to return an amazing 6.9l/100km official combined fuel figure – less than a base model Toyota Corolla.
The little AMG is the first A-Class to feature all-wheel drive, and includes re-engineered front and rear suspensions and a 350mm/330mm (four piston front) brake package to contain its 1555kg kerb weight.
There’s far more to the A45 story than just performance, with the lengthy standard features list including a panoramic glass sunroof, seven inch multimedia screen, with satnav, 10GB hard-drive and internet capability, plus 12 speaker Harmon Kardon audio, dual-zone climate control and heated seats with memory adjustment. The only remaining options are ($490) blackened wheels, ($1990) 20% stiffer coil springs, a ($1990) aero package, and a spacesaver wheel to expand on the standard puncture kit. An active sports exhaust is also standard, which emits sinfully indulgent cracks and pops when Sport mode is activated, and is reminiscent of a WRC car anti-lag system when in launch-mode.
The A45’s interior is unmistakably AMG, with red highlights against perforated leather and trim, flat top and bottomed leather an alcantara multifunction steering wheel, aluminium and carbon-look details, specific sports seats, and numerous AMG logos. The instrument cluster also includes a lap-timer, which is controlled by the steering wheel’s audio controls.
With standard 19 inch multispoke wheels and 235/35 tyres all round, the only remaining options for Australian A45s are ($490) blackened wheels, ($1990) 20% stiffer coil springs, a ($1990) aero package, and a spacesaver wheel to expand on the standard puncture kit.
The A45’s safety gear builds on the lesser A-Class models’ five star safety rating, with three stage stability control offering three choices of safety net, plus Distronic Plus active cruise control, blind-spot and lane-keeping assist. Despite such performance potential and high state of tune, the A45 maintains Mercedes’ standard 12 month/20,000km service intervals.
The first local deliveries will start on September 1, but Mercedes has already taken 1000 orders for the A45, and expects 300 of these to arrive before the years end. The current A45 waiting list stretches to March 2014, but additional volume will shorten this queue in the new year.
Mr Stamoulis confirmed that Australia’s order bank for the A45 currently ranks third globally behind the UK and Japan, with 60 per cent of buyers new to the AMG brand. Those interested in A45 performance in sedan guise will be able to choose the mechanically identical CLA45 AMG from October, with a pricetag of $87,000.
This reporter is on Twitter: @Mal_Flynn