The Mercedes A45 AMG reigned supreme as the fastest hot-hatch on the market, until Audi showed up with the bonkers RS 3 Sportback and ruined everything. Now it’s Merc’s turn to reclaim top spot.
A mid-life facelift for the A45 AMG – as part of the 2016 A-Class facelift – brings with it power hike from 355bhp to 381bhp, beating the RS 3 Sportback by 19bhp. Revisions to the 2.0-litre turbo’s timing, valve assembly and turbocharging are responsible for the increase.
0-62mph now takes 4.2 seconds, 0.4 seconds quicker than its predecessor. That means the RS3 Sportback and its snarling 2.5-litre five-cylinder lump will be a whole tenth of a second slower to the same speed.
Mercedes claims the extra grunt has no effect on fuel economy, with the German manufacturer claiming fuel consumption up to 40mpg is still possible if you can somehow resist burying the accelerator.
Buyers will be able to spec a new option knows as Dynamic Plus, which adds a mechanical axle-locking differential to try and cope with the sizable helping of torque, even though the car is already four-wheel drive as standard. There’s also a Race mode for launch controls.
Visually there’s little change to the 2016 A-Class beneath but slower models have seen modest power hikes and the option of a manual gearbox for the A250 AMG. Apple’s CarPlay infotainment system will also debut – and not in the C-Class as previously expected.
A Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One motorsport edition will be available on the A220d model upwards except the A45 AMG, which is strange given it’s fast enough to warrant it. Taking the upgrade gets you different alloys, revised front grille, green accents and a few other tweaks.
No doubt the new Mercedes A45 AMG will cost around £40,000 as it does now, making it a dreadfully expensive hatchback. But with that much performance on tap and a fair dollop of practicality, some of you may be able to justify it.