When we talk about AMG cars, it’s the sedans, coupes and the big SUVs that come to mind. But the folks at Affalterbach, home of AMG, sure know how to pack a wallop even in their smallest of cars. And we’ve had a fair bit of fun in those too. The AMG 45 range has been in India for a while but with the new-generation A-Class and GLA, we got the friendlier and liveable AMG 35 line-up in India. However, the AMG 45 now packs a solid punch over its predecessor as the unadulterated performer. And that’s exactly what the new Mercedes-AMG A 45 S promises to be. We not only get the more powerful version but also in its top form. This is the hottest production hatch on the planet and we drove it at the NATRAX high-speed test track.
WATCH:Mercedes-AMG A 45 S 4MATIC+ Review – Top Speed Run At NATRAX[embedded content]
What Is NATRAX?
Spread over 3,000 acres, the Natrax Automotive Proving Ground includes its crowned jewel – the High-Speed Track (HST) measuring 11.3 km in length. It is the longest high-speed test track of its kind in Asia and the fifth-longest in the world. In fact, the NATRAX facility is one of the best in the world right now and it is certainly a proud moment to see this place up and running. There are over 14 types of test tracks and multiple testing labs that promise the best standards for our future vehicles.
Vehicles on the HST can attain a top speed of 375 kmph with 2 km long straights and gentle banking on the long parabolic curves. So, just the place where you would want to test the hottest production hatchback in the world to its limits. And that’s exactly what we did.
The baby AMG A 45 S 4MATIC+ sits on top of the A-Class family in India and it packs a solid, heavy punch in every way. Don’t go by its size but go by its engine. The 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder motor is the most powerful series-production engine in the world and packs 415 bhp at 6750 rpm and a whopping 500 Nm of peak torque available between 5,000-5,250 rpm. All that power is laid to the four wheels via an 8-speed DCT AMG tuned gearbox.
And the AMG A 45 S was right at home on the test track. This car is of epic proportions. We entered the parabola doing well over 250 kmph and were up to 260 km in no time. Compared to the AMG A 45, the S version packs an additional 33 bhp and also the AMG Driver’s Package that limits the top speed to 270 kmph. So India gets the more performance-friendly car in every sense. It gets a stiffer suspension, larger brakes and even a different steering wheel.
On the parabola, the digital speedometer was quick to indicate 270 kmph and there was still ample room to push the engine forward. And so we did hit a top speed of 279 kmph. To be fair, there was still ample room left for the engine to keep pushing forward before hitting the redline coming at 7,000 rpm. 0-100 kmph comes in 3.9 seconds. The 8-speed AMG tuned DCT unit works seamlessly and gear changes are simply phenomenal in the sport mode. There’s minimal lag albeit you will notice the slight jerk when the gears shift at triple-digit speeds. It’s absolutely seamless in the Comfort mode that you would choose off track.
You constantly have a planted feeling coming from the AMG A 45 S and a tonne of it comes from the 4MATIC+ all-wheel-drive system that makes for ample grip throughout. The Michelin low profile tyres on the car performed brilliantly and at no point did we feel the car wavering off. All we had to do was ensure minimal inputs to the AMG steering wheel and it took good care of us.
When you compare AMG A 45 S to the A 35 AMG, which is the next most affordable A-Class that you get in India, there is a world of a difference in terms of performance. That’s far more liveable and it’s much smoother. This one though is all about acceleration and outright power. The AMG A 45 S is a proper sports car and don’t let that body shell make you think otherwise. And if you still don’t find it believable, there are the enjoyable pops and bangs from the mighty four-cylinder that will keep reminding you.
All that performance goes with what is easily the most stunning hatchback on sale in India. Look at it dead front and it looks like a baby AMG GT. The Panamericana grille is gorgeous and differentiates it from the milder AMG 35 range. The muscular haunches on the bonnet add heft to the design and are specific to the 45 range. The slimmer Multibeam LED headlamps look mean and you know right away it means business. The wider fenders accommodate the massive 19-inch alloy wheels and the brake calipers are finished in a menacing red. At the rear, the signature LED taillights are beautiful while the quad exhaust tips tell you that this is a pure-bred AMG. The A 45 S surely knows how to make a power statement.
The cabin too is equally stunning with the AMG treatment all over. The sporty front seats have been accentuated by the yellow highlights and contrast stitching. The dual screens are rich in features and carry the latest MBUX user interface. Personalised themes, ambient lighting, access to vehicle settings and more, the screen does it all. It’s also a familiar space when compared to the newer lineup of Mercedes-Benz cars on sale.
You can also select from the different driving modes and the AMG A 45 S gets a dedicated Race mode. If you are feeling a little too excited, there’s a drift mode too that will help you go sideways. There’s also the AMG steering wheel with those lovely shortcut keys. You can select from the different driving modes using the dial or change the exhaust note or suspension settings.
Rear Seat Space
Now, you wouldn’t ideally want to sit in the back seat of the AMG A 45 S but it has the potential to be your daily driver. The cabin is fairly spacious in the second row and definitely larger when compared to the previous generation A-Class hatchback. You do get decent enough legroom but the under-thigh is definitely lacking. There’s also a panoramic sunroof that makes for a roomier cabin at least in the sense of it. And there’s just enough headroom as well. All 3 passengers get a headrest and seatbelts, while there’s an armrest in the centre with cupholders.
The Mercedes-AMG A 45 S is as practical as the standard A-Class hatchback when it comes to day-to-day useability. And that’s exactly what makes AMGs so popular in the first place. You get a boot capacity of 370 litres and the rear bench comes with a 40/20/40 split to further maximise the cargo space. The lip is also lower so, getting your luggage in and out will require minimal effort.
But as far as practicality for our roads goes, the low ground clearance of 113 mm still means you need to be extremely careful of the nasty bumps. The suspension is stiffened too and that means comfort is a virtue, especially with those high-performance 19-inch alloy wheels wrapped in low profile rubber.
The A-Class hatchback lives on in this new AMG avatar in India. But it isn’t a product that will appeal to many. Instead, it’s for those few who like their hatchbacks fire-breathing hot. The A 45 S AMG is all about raw power. It snaps, growls and will pounce as soon as you floor the pedal. Just what you need to get your heart rate through the roof every morning…
Priced at ₹ 79.50 lakh, it’s substantially more expensive than the A 35 AMG that’s priced at ₹ 57.49 lakh (ex-showroom). And it’s no surprise then that the 45 S AMG has very little competition in India. Because the AMG A 45 S 4MATIC+ is for the chosen few who can appreciate performance over sheer size.