The hot-rod A-Class, known as the A 45 AMG, has been around since 2013, and overall, it’s been quite good. This year, the car receives an update, and Mercedes left nothing to chance in catapulting the five-door to the top of the pile, infusing it with aerodynamic updates, state-of-the-art performance technology, and an absurd amount of power.

It ticks all the right boxes, with stiff suspension, sport seats, oversized brakes, and aggressive looks. But as 2015 passes the halfway point, the battle for hot-hatch supremacy seems to be reaching a boil. Pumped-up, teardrop-shaped commuters with an odd number of doors and loads of performance are popping up at a steady rate, with examples coming from Volkswagen, Ford, Honda and Mazda, among others. Of particular note is the new 2015 Audi RS3, with 367 horsepower, ousting the 360-horse A 45 AMG for most powerful hatchback on the road.

The new A 45 is Merc’s response, fulfilling the prophecy made by AMG boss Tobias Moers when he proclaimed that the new car “...will be the most powerful again.”

Updated 06/29/2015: Mercedes dropped the official details on the facelifted A45 AMG.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG.

  • 2015 Mercedes-AMG A 45 4MATIC
  • Year:
    2015
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    381 @ 6000 (Est.)
  • Torque @ RPM:
    350 @ 2250
  • Displacement:
    2.0 L (Est.)
  • 0-60 time:
    4.2 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    38200
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2015 Mercedes-AMG A 45 4MATIC High Resolution Exterior
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2015 Mercedes-AMG A 45 4MATIC High Resolution Exterior
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2015 Mercedes-AMG A 45 4MATIC High Resolution Exterior
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The A 45 AMG may share most of the same visual cues as the normal A-Class, but I’m okay with that.

To help differentiate the A 45 AMG from its more conservative A-Class counterpart, Mercedes is throwing a catalog of aerodynamics at it, adding a good deal of visual flair in the process.

The base model boasts excellent proportions and sporty styling, with a front end that’s chunky and a profile that curves nicely around a gently sloped roofline.

Around back, you’ll find hatch access that’s low and wide, with dual-exhaust tips flanked by faux vents.

However, to help differentiate the A 45 AMG from its more conservative A-Class counterpart, Mercedes is throwing a catalog of aerodynamics at it, adding a good deal of visual flair in the process.

The new front bumper design draws inspiration from motorsport, offering features normally associated with high downforce, including a three-dimensional A-wing, canards on both flanks and enlarged intakes.

Above this you’ll find standard LED headlamps with “eyebrow” daytime running lights.

The back is also decked out with a rear diffuser and a large spoiler mounted to the trailing roof edge.

Mercedes says all these enhancements aren’t just for show – they really do provide increased handling stability and balance.

Side-by-side comparison

2015 Mercedes-AMG A 45 4MATIC
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Interior

2015 Mercedes-AMG A 45 4MATIC High Resolution Interior
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The interior of the A 45 AMG is all about reminding its occupants of the prodigious power output at the driver’s disposal. That means sheet upon sheet of carbon-fiber overlay on the dash and behind the gauge cluster. There’s also a grippy, multifunction sport steering wheel with a flat bottom, perforated leather, and red contrasting stitching.

The interior of the A 45 AMG is all about reminding its occupants of the prodigious power output at the driver’s disposal.

As expected, the seats are well bolstered, and feature seat cushion depth adjustments as standard to fit a wider range of body sizes. Leather upholstery covers most surfaces.

The air vents are adorned with brushed metal and contrasting colors, and up front and center sits a good-sized navigation display screen.
It’s high-end build quality in a machine designed to be more affordable than the usual AMG suspects.

For infotainment, customers can opt for Comand Online with a WLAN module that offers extended functions like smartphone integration through Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink. Autonomous features include Collision Prevention Assist Plus, Traffic Sign Assist, and Attention Assist.

Drivetrain

2015 Mercedes-AMG A 45 4MATIC High Resolution Drivetrain
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Audi’s attempt at bringing superior firepower to the hot-hatch segment with the 367-horsepower RS3 was short-lived, as it seems like those AMG guys take this whole “most powerful” thing pretty seriously. The old A 45 AMG brought 360 horsepower to the party, but to best Audi, Mercedes endowed the new model’s turbocharged four-cylinder engine with a stout 381 horsepower. That’s an impressive 191 horsepower per liter, which allows Merc to once again claim the top spot.

Max torque comes in at 350 pound-feet. This outrageous amount of muscle squirts the A 45 AMG to 62 mph in 4.2 seconds, almost half a second quicker than the last model. Max traction is provided by the standard all-wheel drive, which ranges between FWD-only and a 50:50 front-to-back power distribution split.

The old A 45 AMG brought 360 horsepower to the party, but to best Audi, Mercedes endowed the new model’s turbocharged four-cylinder engine with a stout 381 horsepower.

Despite the increased output, the powerplant is still as green as before, consuming just 6.9 liters of fuel every 100 km (or the equivalent of a little over 34 mpg). CO2 emissions are 162 g/km.

Mercedes says the folks at AMG achieved this mainly through a newly configured valve assembly. The combustion cycle was optimized with reconfigured timing and turbocharging, while max boost pressure stays at 1.8 bar (26.1 psi).

The exhaust system comes with an automatically controlled flange as standard, allowing the driver to select the preferred exhaust note at the touch of a button. This corresponds to a slew of different driving modes, a feature pulled from the 2016 Mercedes-AMG GT and 2015 Mercedes-AMG C 63.

It’s called Dynamic Select, and it allows the driver the choose between “Comfort,” “Sport,” “Sport+” and “Individual” modes that alter things like engine noise, gear changes, throttle response and traction control. The only mode of the four that requires explanation is the Individual mode, which can be preprogrammed with a variety of customized settings. There’s also a “sailing” function that saves fuel in conjunction with the ECO start/stop system.

To up the ante, Mercedes is offering a new optional package called AMG Dynamic Plus, which throws in several motorsport-inspired goodies. For example, there’s a newly developed mechanical front-axle locking differential, which significantly improves traction out of corners and should help to minimize power-on understeer. The package also includes the AMG Ride Control sport suspension, which offers fully automatic damping that adapts to the given road conditions. The driver can also preselect basic damping characteristics in two stages for a custom ride.

Anyone looking to get just the adaptive suspension without the entire Dynamic Plus Package can select it as an individual option. Finally, the package also adds a fifth drive setting called “Race.” You can guess what that one’s for.

Speed-sensitive steering is another included electronic performance enhancer. This is automatically adjusted depending on which damper setting the driver has selected, either offering sharp response and a taut feel, or more relaxed input characteristics.

The gearbox also sees a refresh. The AMG DCT 7-speed sport transmission now comes with lower ratios, with a shorter 3rd and 7th gear for quicker acceleration.

Drivetrain Specifications

Number of cylinders/arrangement 4 in-line
Displacement (cc) 1,991
Rated output 381 HP @ 6,000 RPM
Rated torque 350 LB-FT @ 2,250-5,000 RPM
Combined fuel consumption from (l/100 km) 6.9
Combined CO2 emissions from (g/km) 162
Acceleration 0-100 km/h (s) 4.2
Top speed (km/h) 250

Prices

2015 Mercedes-AMG A 45 4MATIC High Resolution Exterior
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Unfortunately, the A 45 AMG won’t make it to the U.S., but if you’re reading this in Britain, then you’re in luck. However, don’t expect to get this vehicle cheap: pricing is expected around £40,000, which in America money is $62,834 at current exchange rates (6/15). Then there’s the option list, and well… you get the point.

Competition

2015 Audi RS3

2015 Audi RS3 High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Breaching European dealerships this past March, the RS3 is every bit as handsome as the A 45 AMG. In fact, to my eye, it actually looks better, with a solid design that appears much more serious and “car-like” than the swoopy Merc. With an upgraded, 367-horsepower, 2.5-liter, five-cylinder engine, the RS3 uses a seven-speed S Tronic transmission and the legendary quattro all-wheel-drive system to make a blitz to 62 mph in just 4.3 seconds. Top speed is set at 150 mph, but Audi says the limiter can be raised to 174 mph “upon request." The suspension system has been upgraded as well, with optional magnetic ride adaptive damper control and carbon-ceramic brake discs.

While not as flashy as the Mercedes, the Audi’s cabin is just as comfortable, with Nappa leather and Alcantara upholstery spread throughout, plus standard bucket seats, MMI infotainment, and Parking System Plus.

I think the Audi is as good as the Mercedes in pretty much every place it counts, but with a more mature attitude. The Merc may be more powerful, but it isn’t a whole lot faster.

Read our full review here.

2016 Volkswagen Golf R

2016 Volkswagen Golf R High Resolution Exterior
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At just £30,000, the new Golf R looks to be the hot-hatch bargain-buy of the year. With a turbocharged, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine producing 290 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque, plus the optional six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission, this super Golf can hit 60 mph in under five seconds. If you were so inclined, you could even row your own with a six-speed manual.

Much like the Merc, there’s permanent all-wheel drive, plus standard 18-inch alloys and oversized brakes in the front. The interior has leather, a three-spoke sports steering wheel, and a navigation touchscreen, all with that characteristic VW fit and finish. It even gets good mileage, at a combined figure of 33 mpg.

Read our full review here.

Conclusion

2015 Mercedes-AMG A 45 4MATIC High Resolution Exterior
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The A 45 AMG is based on the pint-sized A-Class, the smallest Mercedes of them all, which represents the German marque’s bid to reach past the six-figure, caviar-and-champagne types normally associated with a three-pointed-star badge. Instead, the A-Class takes aim at a crowd that’s a bit more broad. You know, the kind of people who own only one car, which they happen to drive themselves.

But sometimes, that market segment wants speed. Gratuitous, butt-clenching, pinned-in-the-seat speed. These folks have a little bit more tucked away in the bank, and they’re looking to blow it on a luxury ride that can kick-start the old adrenaline reserves.

That’s who this car is made for, and if you absolutely must have that Mercedes feeling, this is obviously the way to go.

But in my eyes, the real problem with this car isn’t the boy-racer attitude or showy aerodynamic doodads – it’s the price. For £40,000, there are a ton of competitors to choose from, and it’s hard to not want something like the Volkswagen Golf R instead. Even at full spec, the VW is still significantly cheaper than the Mercedes, and while the AMG might be faster, I’m not convinced it’s fast enough to justify the price discrepancy. And yes, the VW doesn’t have the AMG cachet of the A 45, but the Golf is still put together with excruciating attention-to-detail and finesse.

At the end of the day, the A 45 AMG is a great car, but in this segment, I don’t think it’s the best choice.

  • Leave it
    • Very expensive
    • Might be too boy racer for some
    • Many other options to choose from

Spy Shots

May 27, 2015 - Mercedes A45 AMG testing in Germany

2015 Mercedes-AMG A 45 4MATIC Exterior Spyshots
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2015 Mercedes-AMG A 45 4MATIC Exterior Spyshots
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2015 Mercedes-AMG A 45 4MATIC Exterior Spyshots
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Press Release

Following a comprehensive upgrade, the Mercedes-AMG A 45 4MATIC opens up a new dimension in vehicle dynamics. With peak output of 280 kW (381 hp) and a maximum torque of 475 Nm, the entry-level model from Mercedes-AMG is the world’s most powerful compact sports model. The revised gear ratios, aerodynamic fine-tuning and the new DYNAMIC SELECT driving modes raise overall performance to a higher level, underlining the claim to leadership in this market segment. The compact saloon absolves a sprint from standstill to 100 km/h in 4.2 seconds, 0.4 seconds faster than the preceding model. Maximum traction also on tight bends is ensured by the standard all-wheel drive and the optional front axle differential available for the first time. At the same time fuel consumption has remained as before: no other high-performance model in this class can better its NEDC fuel consumption from 6.9 litres per 100 kilometres (corresponding to 162 g/km CO2).

2015 Mercedes-AMG A 45 4MATIC High Resolution Exterior
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Mercedes-AMG’s entry into the compact class in 2013 exceeded all expectations: the sophisticated A 45 immediately took the top position in its market segment. The sporty and exciting driving experience plus an emotionally appealing design immediately impressed the dynamic and individualistic target group, and gained new customers for the sports car brand.
"We never rest on our laurels, but constantly strive to develop our products further," says Tobias Moers, Chairman of Mercedes-AMG GmbH. "The A 45 still had so much improvement potential that we felt compelled to realise it to the full. Our brand claim simply obliges us to." The AMG development team intelligently optimised numerous features of the compact bestseller to further enhance the vehicle dynamics and driving pleasure.
Modifications to the transmission, suspension, electronics, design and appointments have turned the compact sports model into a completely new car delivering 280 kW (381 hp) and 475 newton metres of maximum torque to enter dimensions previously the province of higher vehicle classes, and unrivalled by any competitior: 100 km/h is already reached from standstill in 4.2 seconds. This means that the new Mercedes-AMG A 45 accelerates 0.4 seconds faster than its predecessor.
Low fuel consumption at the level of the preceding model
At the same time its fuel consumption has been kept at the previous level: no other high-performance model in this class can match its NEDC fuel consumption from 6.9 litres per 100 kilometres (corresponds to 162 g/km CO2). The agile, turbocharged four-cylinder engine combines its power and efficiency to produce a top figure in its class: the output of 141 kW (191 hp) per litre marks a record for a series production four-cylinder engine, and raises the high-performance AMG power unit to the level of thoroughbred super sports cars.

2015 Mercedes-AMG A 45 4MATIC High Resolution Exterior
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The engine specialists at AMG mainly achieved this increase in power output with a newly configured valve assembly. In addition the combustion processes have been optimised by reconfigured timing and turbocharging. The maximum charge pressure continues to be 1.8 bar.
On the road the turbocharged AMG 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine thrills with extremely fast responses to accelerator movements, high torque, enormous flexibility and an emotional engine note. The exhaust system features an automatically controlled exhaust flap as standard. The emotional appeal of the engine sound can be varied depending on driving mode or at the touch of a button.
From the GT and C 63: The new AMG DYNAMIC SELECT driving modes
Already familiar from the Mercedes-AMG GT sports car and the top-of-the-line C-Class model, the Mercedes-AMG C 63, the DYNAMIC SELECT driving modes "Comfort", "Sport", "Sport +" and "Individual" now also allow the driver of the Mercedes-AMG A 45 to preset the handling characteristics according to personal preferences or the driving situation.
Driving mode "Comfort" allows relaxed, non-stressful driving with a subdued engine note and gentle gearshifts. The "sailing" function installed for the first time, plus the ECO start/stop system, help to save fuel. "Sport" mode emphasises agility and driving pleasure, with a sporty engine and transmission configuration. The sound of the turbocharged engine becomes more throaty. In "Sport +" mode the transmission responds even faster to dynamic load changes. The shift strategy of the transmission is optimally modified for the needs of a very sporty driving style – including extremely short shift times, emotional double declutching and faster responses to the accelerator. Over and above the preconfigured modes, the "Individual" driving mode makes it possible to vary individual parameters for the engine, transmission mode and 3-stage ESP® .

2015 Mercedes-AMG A 45 4MATIC High Resolution Exterior
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New: The AMG DYNAMIC PLUS package as an optional extra
Completely new for the Mercedes-AMG A 45, the AMG DYNAMIC PLUS package sharpens up the vehicle dynamics even further. It clearly shows the influence of the numerous motor racing successes by Mercedes-AMG on the development of road vehicles. One major component is the newly developed, mechanical front axle locking differential, which significantly improves traction when driving in a sporty style. The greatest advantages become apparent during fast acceleration out of bends, where the locking differential allows maximum grip and high rates of lateral acceleration. Moreover, the A 45 is stabilised even more effectively during load changes and at high speeds.
The AMG DYNAMIC PLUS package also includes the AMG RIDE CONTROL sport suspension: one of its new features is the two-stage, adaptive damping adjustment. The system operates fully automatically, adapting the damping forces for each wheel according to the driving situation and road conditions. The driver is also able to preselect the basic damping characteristics in two stages for a personally configured setup. The RIDE CONTROL sport suspension is also available individually as a separate optional extra. The speed-sensitive sports power steering of the A 45 fundamentally supports a sporty driving style with its high steering precision and direct self-steering characteristics. It likewise has two different sets of characteristics: depending on which damper setup the driver has selected, it provides a taut, sporty or more comfortable steering feedback.
The fifth DYNAMIC SELECT driving mode "Race" is included with the AMG DYNAMIC PLUS package and the AMG RIDE CONTROL sport suspension: this makes the Mercedes-AMG A 45 ideally suited to fast laps on the racetrack.

2015 Mercedes-AMG A 45 4MATIC High Resolution Exterior
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The response characteristics of the 2.0-litre turbocharged engine and the accelerator are now even more immediate than in "Sport +". The exhaust system, suspension and steering remain at "Sport +" level, while 3-stage ESP® changes to "SPORT HANDLING MODE" and allows wider drift angles. The transmission activates "Race" mode, which is configured to maintain an optimum engine speed in the lowest possible gear when driving at racetrack speeds. "RACE" mode is rounded off by rapid and responsive gearshifts.
Lower ratios: The AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed sport transmission
Another dominant factor in the agile and dynamic character of the power transfer is the AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed sport transmission. Thanks to the now shorter transmission ratios in 3rd to 7th gear, the driver experiences even more dynamic acceleration in all speed ranges. Together with optimised response and shift times, the closer ratio spread ensures better transitions when upshifting.
Excellent traction and great driving pleasure: The all-wheel drive AMG Performance 4MATIC
The AMG Performance 4MATIC all-wheel drive system combines the best possible traction with outstanding driving pleasure. To suit the dynamic handling requirements, the Mercedes-AMG A 45 features infinitely variable torque distribution. The range extends from front-wheel drive only to a 50:50 percent distribution to the front and rear axles. In the compact class this variability suited to the driving situation results in an optimum measure of dynamism, efficiency and traction.

2015 Mercedes-AMG A 45 4MATIC High Resolution Exterior
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Design and aerodynamics:More stability, more dynamism
The influences from motor sport are immediately apparent in the new Mercedes-AMG A 45: the muscular AMG design with new features impressively accentuates the dynamic design idiom of the A-Class. The front skirt in the new A-wing design gives the compact proportions an even sportier emphasis. The distinctive, three-dimensional A-wing also acts as an air feed to the three exclusively styled, AMG-specific cooling air inlets. New LED High Performance headlamps with "eyebrows" as daytime driving lamps are included as standard. The A 45 also shows clear motorsport influences at the rear: the rear apron with four vertical fins and a striking spoiler lip in the diffuser provides a visual highlight.
Yet it is not only the design, but also the aerodynamics of the A 45 that the AMG developers have improved even further. The aim for a sports car is not only to achieve perfect streamlining, but also the greatest possible downforce. In the A 45 the new combination of a spoiler lip under the front splitter, a rear apron with a diffuser insert and an AMG spoiler lip on the roof spoiler generates even more downforce for increased handling stability. These measures also improve the aerodynamic balance, with a positive effect on handling.
Passion for performance extends into the interior
The dynamic and sports character continues in the interior: the new multifunction sport steering wheel ensures a perfect link between the car and its driver. The steering wheel rim with a flattened lower section, perforated leather in the grip area and red contrasting topstitching is both attractive and pleasant to the touch. For better adjustment to suit different body sizes, the sport seats now feature seat cushion depth adjustment as standard.

2015 Mercedes-AMG A 45 4MATIC High Resolution Exterior
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Thanks to latest-generation telematics, the new A 45 can also be perfectly networked with the modern smartphone and internet environment. Options include e.g. COMAND Online with a WLAN module and extended functions such as optimal smartphone integration by Apple® CarPlay® for iPhones® and MirrorLink®. The Mercedes-AMG A 45 also exudes superiority with respect to safety, for example with improved, innovative safety and driving assistance systems such as the autonomous braking function in COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS, Traffic Sign Assist or the improved ATTENTION ASSIST.

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