Is Mercedes’ fastest hot hatch a genuine giant killer?

I’ve been told time and again that I should stop using the "hot hatch" catchphrase. It’s a lazy and stale blanket term for every fast small car to come out since the ’80s and we, journalists, as supposed wordsmiths, should enrich our arsenal of words, not limit it. But, after watching the video below you’ll agree with me that the 2020 Mercedes-AMG A45 S is a seriously hot little car!

Not quite the most straightforward 1/4 mile drag race

This Video Shows Just How Close the Mercedes-AMG A45 S and Porsche 911 Are in a Drag Race
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The fact that Mercedes is serious when it comes to building pocket rockets is obvious as the sun on a clear summer’s day. Take the first AMG-tuned model that the Germans have treated us with back in 2019, less than a full year after the fourth-gen A-Class was introduced. Called the A35, it cranked out 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, an extra 85 horses and 37 pound-foot over the A250, from a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder turbocharged engine.

Then the A45 arrived and, for good measure, Mercedes-AMG glued a tiny little ’S’ right after the A45 badge to create the craziest A-Class on sale today. In August 2019 we were gleefully reporting that the new A45 S is, unsurprisingly, faster than the old A45.

Porsche 911 vs Mercedes-AMG A45 S drag race

Mercedes-AMG A45 S vs Porsche 911 Carrera. Who wins in a drag race? Watch our video to find out!

Posted by Wheels Australia on Wednesday, April 29, 2020
The first-ever A45, we wrote, was capable of delivering 376 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque from its 2.0-liter four-pot whereas the new car upped the ante considerably with 415 horsepower and 368 pound-feet of torque.

Thus, the sprint from naught to 60 mph was a 3.9-second affair for the A45 S, a whole three tenths quicker than the original A45 and a whopping eight tenths quicker than the A35. Underneath the skin of the A45 S, there’s also a new eight-speed, dual-clutch transmission that sends the power to all four wheels while the first A45 had to make do with a seven-speed, twin-clutch unit.

This Video Shows Just How Close the Mercedes-AMG A45 S and Porsche 911 Are in a Drag Race
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So, there is no point in pitting the A45 S against its older sibling and that’s what the guys over at Which Car Australia thought and, instead, parked a 911 (992) Carrera next to the A45 S at one end of the drag strip. The latest-generation Carrera features a 3.0-liter, twin-turbocharged, flat-six engine making 379 horsepower and 331 pound-feet of torque, all of which gets dispatched to the rear wheels.

While there’s a 35 horsepower gap between the two cars and the 911 also lacks AWD, it’s worth noting that Porsche is well known for not revealing the full potential of its cars on the spec sheet. Sure, anoraks would be quick to point out a Carrera weighs 61 pounds more than the A45 S but there’s one aspect you won’t find on most spec sheets that matters a whole lot here: how easily each car cuts through the air or, in other words, how aerodynamic it is.

Getting off the line, the advantage of AWD shoves itself in the education by vaulting the Merc into the lead, a lead it retains all the way to 87 mph when, finally, helped by less drag, the 911 passes the A45 S.
This Video Shows Just How Close the Mercedes-AMG A45 S and Porsche 911 Are in a Drag Race
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By the time they’ve completed the quarter-mile run, the two cars are separated by just a (one) tenth and both went from 0 to 62 mph in an identical 3.9 seconds. Remember, 3.9 seconds is Merc’s official figure for the A45’s 0-60 mph.

In conclusion, just like the Porsche (whose official 0-62 mph time is 4.2 seconds without the Sport Chrono package that shaves 0.2 seconds off the time), the Mercedes-AMG is faster in real life than it is on paper.

The fastest A-Class is also almost $4,000 cheaper than the 911 at $93,600 before taxes compared to $97,400 for a 911. The small price gap between the two really makes us wonder, regardless of the mind-boggling figures and real-world results, if it’s worth it to effectively dump over $100,000, after all it’s said and done, on a hatchback? Surely you can’t replace the ageless charm of a Porsche with the comparatively bulky proportions of an A-Class, right?

Source: Which Car

Michael Fira
Associate Editor and Motorsport Expert - fira@topspeed.com
Mihai Fira started out writing about long-distance racing like the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans. As the years went by, his area of interest grew wider and wider and he ever branched beyond the usual confines of an automotive writer. However, his heart is still close to anything car-related and he's most at home retelling the story of some long-since-forgotten moment from the history of auto racing. He'll also take time to explain why the cars of the '60s and '70s are more fascinating than anything on the road today.  Read More
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