The world’s fastest all-wheel-drive hot hatches have Porsche-beat­ing per­for­mance for a frac­tion of the price, says Joshua Dowl­ing

Herald Sun - Motoring - - PRESTIGE HEAD TO HEAD -


The price of the A45 AMG crept up with the ar­rival of the jus­tre­leased Se­ries II model (new front bumper, more power, im­proved sus­pen­sion) from $75,800 to $77,900 but it is loaded with more stan­dard equip­ment, most no­tably the ad­justable Ride Con­trol sus­pen­sion.


With its bold front and rear bumpers and big wheels and brakes, the A45 looks like a race car straight off the show­room floor. In­side, there is a faux car­bon-fi­bre weave on the dash, race-car-style seats and steer­ing wheel with mas­sive grips. It’s a class act in­side and out, al­though not as roomy as the Audi.


The A45 has the most pow­er­ful mass pro­duc­tion 2.0-litre turbo en­gine in the world (now with 280kW/475Nm, in­creases of 15kW and 25Nm). Matched to a seven-speed twin-clutch auto with new ra­tios, it can now do the 0-100km/h sprint in 4.2 sec­onds — a claim we were able to match in launch mode. In sport mode it does 4.9 sec­onds.


It’s hard to see how Mercedes can squeeze nine airbags into such a small car but it has done so, with two front, two cur­tains, one for the driver’s knee and then side airbags in each front seat and the left and right rear seats. Be­fore they go to work, though, there is a col­li­sion warn­ing and auto emer­gency brak­ing In fact, it lacks noth­ing.


New sus­pen­sion has trans­formed the A45 from be­ing bone-jar­ring to pam­per­ing. It’s now us­able as a daily-driver. The new trans­mis­sion ra­tios and en­gine tune help it get off the line quicker but there is still a no­tice­able lack of torque at low revs in nor­mal driv­ing. To get the most out of the per­for­mance you have to go through four time-con­sum­ing se­quences be­fore you can take off, which kind of de­feats the pur­pose.



Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.