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The new Mercedes A45 AMG is once again the fastest hot hatch

It may only be a mid life facelift that Mercedes AMG has bestowed upon the A45 AMG, but that doesn't mean they've simply followed the usual path of new headlights and some fancy trim. Perhaps upset with briefly having their hot hatch crown (briefly) swiped by the 362hp Audi RS3, AMG has seen fit to squeeze a further 21hp and 18Ib ft of torque out the car's already insane 2.0 litre turbo engine.

The approximate 5 percent increase in power brings the total up to a staggering 381hp and has been combined with shorter gear ratios to give the hyper hatch the sort of acceleration (particularly with the launch control function) to briefly turn your insides into jelly. Interestingly it's not just a quick remap to boost turbo pressure either - Mercedes has actually done some work on the camshafts and valves among other things.

Let's just take a step back and think about what we have here for a second. You have 2.0 litre 4 cylinder engine that develops more power than V8 engined super cars from a little over 10 years ago, and considerably more torque. Combine this with the fact that it comes with a warranty and (supposedly) can achieve 40mpg on the combined cycle -  yes really. It seems like a combination of the "mine's bigger than yours" hot hatch power race together tougher emissions regulations that have led to a staggering achievement in engineering, and that's really something to be celebrated regardless of where you stand on this car.

The increase in power for the facelifted A45 AMG means that on paper the car can now complete the 0-62mph sprint in an incredible 4.2 seconds vs the Audi's 4.3 seconds - OK not a monumental increase here but remember this is a humble hatchback at heart that still works perfectly well in a Tesco car park. This thing also has a top speed north of 160mph meaning that it really is capable of upsetting more than a few Porsche drivers on a clear stretch of Autobahn.

The 7 speed dual clutch gear box set up is also said to be a big improvement on the facelift car. It reportedly changes faster and with more obedience than before and will even let you hit the rev limiter and refuse to kick down on it's own (listen up Golf R). The shorter ratios have been designed to make acceleration frankly brutal rather than just fast.

Other notable changes to the car include AMG Dynamic Select, a feature that allows the driver to cycle the car through several stages from "comfort" to "race", with the car altering things like ESP, noise, gearshift speed, steering weight, throttle response and damping respectively.

If speed and power, plus having the fastest (standard) hot hatch of them all is your thing, then the Mercedes A45 AMG could well be the car for you. Whether it will have the dynamic driving enjoyment found in other less powerful rivals (*cough Golf R*) remain to be seen but what we do know is it sure will be interesting to see where this game of hot hatch Top Trumps goes from here!

James Mosley

James Mosley

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