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Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG review - prices, specs and 0-60 time
There are few quicker ways of getting down a twisty road in poor weather than the Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG. Its combination of huge power and four-wheel drive traction gives it the sort of cross-country ability that used to be the preserve of rally homologation specials. Combine this with Mercedes desirability, quality and day-to-day liveability, and you have an appealing package. Unfortunately the poor ride, hesitant dual-clutch gearbox and one-dimensional approach to speed all conspire against it. Others may not be as fast, but several are more fun.
'The A45 AMG is deeply impressive on wet and cold roads. The 355bhp 2-litre turbo four-cylinder engine is almost lag-free despite its 178bhp-per-litre, the balance remains neutral at road speeds where many of the corners are blind or simply too narrow to really fling the car into, and the grip and traction provide the sort of cross-country pace that might worry a 911 Turbo driver who isn't right on his game.' - Jethro Bovingdon, Contributing Editor (evo 194)
Among the A45 AMG's specification options is a box marked 'AMG Performance suspension'. Given how firmly the car rides in its standard form, we'd steer clear of that particular £765 option. However, there doesn't seem to be a great deal of difference in ride and handling between the standard 18-inch and optional 19in alloy wheels, so we'd be tempted to opt for the latter - they're a little more suited to the car's exuberant appearance.
If the A45's performance appeals but you can't get on with the styling, the same drivetrain is also available in the CLA 45 AMG saloon, CLA 45 AMG Shooting Brake and the GLA 45 AMG crossover. All are more expensive, but each offers its own unique take on the all-wheel-drive-and-powerful-engine formula that makes the A45 appealing. Unfortunately, they also share many of its negatives.
Performance and 0-62 time > Sports and supercars alike should be worried because the four-wheel drive A45 AMG is staggeringly fast in a straight-line. Acceleration is fairly linear, however, so it's swift rather than terrifying.
Engine and gearbox > Gear changes are fast thanks to the fitment of a paddle-operated seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. Unsurprisingly, given the 2-litre engine's heavy turbocharging, there is some turbo lag at lower revs.
Ride and handling > The ride is hard thanks to a very aggressive suspension setup. This does enable the car to stay planted at high speeds, but can be a litte unforgiving on British roads.
Prices, specs and rivals > The Mercedes is a far more premium place to spend time than say, a Renaultsport Megane, but the French hatch and its competitors are arguably more playful for a fraction of the price.
Interior and tech > The overall layout is pleasing, but the odd touchscreen and soft touch fake carbon-fibre let the side down.
Design > There's no confusing the A45 AMG with the rest of the range, 18-inch wheels, a large rear wing and winglets confirm its more aggressive nature.