Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG review – furiously fast, but frustratingly, not much fun (2015 - 2018) - Performance and 0-60 time

Dramatic performance and plenty of grip for AMG's smallest offering, but you can find more fun for less money elsewhere

Evo rating
Price
from £41,830
  • Blisteringly quick everywhere
  • Not as rewarding as some slower rivals

Performance and 0-60 time

A familiar trope of the automotive journalist is that a well-driven hot hatchback could show a supercar a clean pair of heels on a tricky, winding back road. Back in the 1990s when the genre was at a low ebb thanks to insurance premiums this was hard to believe; with 376bhp and four-wheel drive at its disposal, the A45's ability to humble even the modern generation of supercars on tight, technical roads looks a lot more likely.

In terms of pure performance, the A45 is impressively fast. Mercedes quotes a 0-62mph sprint of 4.2 seconds, and when we timed it to just 60mph it reached the speed in 3.9sec.

Thanks to the car's launch control mode (hold the brakes, press the stability control button, switch the transmission to manual mode, pull both paddles, pull the right paddle to confirm, floor throttle, release brake, and breathe), it's also endlessly repeatable.

The engine is punchy from low revs and really flies once the tachometer needle passes 2500rpm. Unfortunately, the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission hinders it a little - reaction to tweaks of either paddle is a little too slow, particularly when changing down the 'box. More satisfying, if puerile, is the pop accompanying each full-bore upshift, and it's cacophonous at other times too. First versions of the A45 made a long flatulent parp with every gear change, but it’s now a much more pleasing short sharp crack.

As well as the thunder from the exhaust, the AMG’s engine starts with an industrial chunter and idles with a burble, and brisk acceleration is always accompanied by a hard-edged rasp.

Power delivery is surprisingly linear for such a highly-strung engine, with little of the lag you'd expect from a heavily turbocharged unit. In some respects, it makes the A45's searing speed feel almost normal - there's no distinct rush of acceleration, rather a relentless gathering of pace.

Most Popular

All-electric Ferrari confirmed for 2025 reveal
Ferrari badge
Ferrari

All-electric Ferrari confirmed for 2025 reveal

Ferrari has confirmed its first EV, but first three new models are due in the coming months
15 Apr 2021
Jaguar XJ41 – Dead on arrival
Jaguar XJ41
Jaguar

Jaguar XJ41 – Dead on arrival

The blighted ’80s ‘F-type’, the demise of which led to the creation of the Jaguar XK8 and launched a new era for Aston Martin
8 Apr 2021
Peugeot 508 PSE 2021 review – high performance hybrid takes on S4 and M340i
Peugeot 508 PSE – front
Peugeot 508

Peugeot 508 PSE 2021 review – high performance hybrid takes on S4 and M340i

New 355bhp petrol-hybrid 508 from Peugeot Sport Engineered has Audi’s S4 licked
14 Apr 2021