What’s the fastest accelerating four-door sports car you can think of? If you answered Aston Martin Rapide or Maserati Quattroporte then you’d be wrong. A better shout would be the Mercedes A-Class, or more specifically the Mercedes A 45 AMG, the flagship model in Merc’s newly-tweaked range of family hatchbacks.
The A 45 AMG is, as you’ve probably guessed, the ultimate expression of performance in the Mercedes A-Class range. It uses a 2-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine that produces a quite disturbing 360hp, which is a lot. In fact, that number makes it the most powerful four-cylinder engine on the planet. Torque, which is rated at 450Nm, is about as meaty as it gets in a vehicle of its size.
These numbers mean the Mercedes A 45 AMG can outrun most things. 0-62mph happens in a scarcely plausible 4.6 seconds and it’ll keep going until it reaches 155mph, but only because Mercedes has installed software that prevents it going faster. Let off the leash, it would be a truly terrifying autobahn cruiser.
In comparison the Aston Martin Rapide and Maserati Quattroporte achieve 0-62mph in 5 and 4.7 seconds, respectively. Rubbish.
Most Mercedes-Benz A-Class models are front-wheel drive, but that would be next to useless mated to an engine of this ferocity. Fittingly, the A 45 AMG has been fitted with a performance-oriented AMG 4MATIC all-wheel drive system, which is hooked up to an AMG Speedshift DCT 7-speed sports transmission. Power flows to the front wheels by default, but when those wheels begin to slip, as they will if you try to put all the car’s power down, a hydraulic pump enables torque to be sent to the rear wheels.
It doesn’t look as if you’ll be performing any donuts or powerslides in this thing, sadly. Mercedes allows the electronic stability program (ESP) to be switched off so you can generate a bit of wheelspin and slip, but the company says the minute you hit the brake pedal, the car’s fun-robbing ESP system is reactivated.
It might be a relatively small price to pay considering the car’s blistering pace, though. Let’s hope the actual price, which is still to be announced, is small too. The Mercedes A 45 AMG will come to the UK in July 2013.