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Mercedes-Benz A-Class A45 2013 Review

EXPERT RATING
8
This is the one we’ve all been waiting for. When we tested the all-new Mercedes-Benz A-Class in Europe at its global launch 12 months ago

This is the one we’ve all been waiting for. When we tested the all-new Mercedes-Benz A-Class in Europe at its global launch 12 months ago, we were given the hint that AMG was deeply into the development of a highly-tuned model. Now the A 45 AMG has arrived down under, only a matter of weeks after its European debut.

ENGINE

The bad news is that the A45 doesn’t have the 4.5-litre engine its name suggests. The ‘45’ is there to celebrate the 45th anniversary of Mercedes-Benz’s high-performance arm - AMG. The good news is that AMG’s engine designers have managed to extract an astonishing 265kW (355 horsepower in muscle car terms, and this most certainly is a muscle car) from a 2.0-litre engine.

AMG proudly says this high-pressure turbocharged engine is quite simply the most powerful four-cylinder mass production engine ever made. And it can all be yours for $74,900 - half the price of what is currently the lowest-priced model in the AMG range, the C 63.

On road costs have to be factored in, but the Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG provides astonishing value for the performance and equipment it offers. Putting 265 kilowatts of power and 450Nm of torque to the road through just two wheels isn’t feasible so an all-wheel-drive system has been developed.

To minimise power loss the system normally drives only through the front wheels, with the rears being brought into action in a tenth of a second when required. Usually only on harsh takeoffs or during really hard cornering.

DRIVE IMPRESSIONS

On the road during the Mercedes-Benz organised Australian launch out of Melbourne we were extremely impressed by the road grip and exceptional cornering ability. Then there are the brakes, when you build a car that can reach 270km/h on the track you need to be able to promptly pull it up without overheating; something we had the chance to experience during time at the famed Phillip Island raceway.

The huge brakes have cross-drilled and ventilated discs. Best of all is the exhaust note, the baby Benz spits, snarls and carries on when thrashed hard; just the way it should be in any high-performance car powered by a small turbo engine. That’s addictive. At Phillip Island we tested the race-start system which electronically makes for the fastest off-the-line figures possible. Simply turn it on, put your left foot hard on the brake pedal, floor the accelerator completely and then let go of the brakes.

It feels brutal and won’t do a lot for the longevity of some of the transmission components so should probably be best left for special occasions such as track days. Phillip Island obliged our test teams by providing a slick surface caused by rain on a track that had been bone dry for many months. The resultant ‘summer-ice’ phenomenon gave us a chance to really explore the varied grip.

This little hotshot is very forgiving and sends its messages to the driver through the steering and the sports seats. Minimal correction is needed unless you really attack a corner far too hard, and the A45 AMG responds in exactly the right manner thanks to its all-wheel-drive and sporting suspension setup. Great fun. If need be, the Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG can be tiptoed gently in traffic so its dual identity means it can double as a hotrod or peaceful daily driver.

The double-clutch seven-speed automatic transmission can crawl along at tiny speeds, something that’s not always guaranteed with this transmission type. The Australian importer has ticked the boxes of the accessories if feels would be chosen by customers - and made them all standard. So we get the 19-inch alloy wheels, panoramic sunroof and a full body kit.

VERDICT

Hotrod performance combined with the prestige offered by the large three-pointed star on the grille makes the Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG something very special. We can see it quickly following the path of the others in the all-new Mercedes A-Class range by creating a queue of buyers.

Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG

Price: from $74,900
Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo; 265kW/450Nm
Transmission: 7-speed auto, all-wheel-drive
Thirst: 6.9L/100km

Pricing guides

$25,990
Based on 123 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$17,980
Highest Price
$43,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
A45 AMG 2.0L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $33,950 – 43,990 2013 Mercedes-Benz A-Class 2013 A45 AMG Pricing and Specs
A180 BE 1.6L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $17,980 – 25,990 2013 Mercedes-Benz A-Class 2013 A180 BE Pricing and Specs
A200 CDI BE 1.8L, Diesel, 7 SP AUTO $21,888 – 27,888 2013 Mercedes-Benz A-Class 2013 A200 CDI BE Pricing and Specs
A250 Sport 2.0L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $19,990 – 34,800 2013 Mercedes-Benz A-Class 2013 A250 Sport Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8