When the A45 was launched there was a huge hype about it and it’s really easy to see why. It was the first all-wheel drive hatch they had produced and, to top it off, it broke all records for being the most powerful 2.0 4 cylinder engine ever.
So there we have it. A powerful hatchback with great handling surely has the world talking and with journos praising it the world over, but what is it like to live with?
From the outside, there isn’t mistaking the AMG factor. The beautiful lines and those chrome badges plastered all over the car have most petrol heads drooling than ever before. It’s not until you drive it that the real personality comes through.
Push the starter button and you immediately have a subtle but yet raspy exhaust tone, with a little bit of a burble to it. It’s one of those noises you can’t just get from going to your local exhaust shop. It sounds exotic and expensive. Almost super car like.
Pop the car in drive and set off; the power delivery is smooth until the power climbs where all hell breaks loose. It’s at that moment you realize that you are still running in comfort mode with economy also enabled. There is no denying that this car is quick. 0 to 100 comes up in a blistering 4.5 seconds and the quarter mile dash is disposed of in a time of 13 seconds flat. A couple of years ago, that was super car territory.
Fuel consumption can be an issue if you like pushing your right pedal to the floor, but under normal everyday driving, numbers as good an 8l/100km can be achieved with very little fuss. We averaged about 10.5l/100km combined with our city driving included.
The interior is beautifully put out with a sporty suede wrapped AMG steering wheel. The dash is covered in a carbon-like soft touch material with a red pinstripe theme running throughout. The air vents are and gear shift are SLS-inspired and I must admit that I do like the minimalistic look. The command center on the dash is the only issue I have. It’s sort of looks like it was an afterthought. A retracting screen would have been a much better and cleaner approach.
The Haldex all-wheel drive system, which is predominantly front wheel drive, transfers grip to the rear when it is needed. This eliminated the drive train power-robbing you find on conventional all-wheel drive cars like the Subaru WRX STi. The handling on the A45 is phenomenal and I did not expect the lateral grip I received from a front wheel drive car with a real time all-wheel drive setup. The brakes are something to get used to as it gives you so much confidence. It makes the power seem tame as they will stop on a dime.
There is no denying that this is the king of the hatches at this point in time. Nothing out there has the power to match. Sure, the golf 7R and Audi RS3’s come close, but they fall slightly short on the straight line acceleration.
Base line price : R599 900
For more information, check out Mercedes-benz.co.za