The Mercedes-Benz A-Class hatch’s presence may have been cut short, but the limousine version has been setting buyer’s hearts aflutter. But to send their pulse racing and their adrenaline pumping will need something a lot faster. Something that Mercedes-Benz India decided it was time to bring into its showrooms this year.
The invite for the test drive read “the world’s most powerful turbocharged 2-litre, 4-cylinder series production car”. The launch and test drive of the new Mercedes-AMG A 45 S 4MATIC+ was to take place at Natrax, the swank, new testing facility set up outside Indore. A baby AMG with a four-pot mill delivering 421 unbridled horses being offered for a drive on the fastest track in India; didn’t need any goading to attend this event.
Mercedes-Benz India has been on a launching spree deepening its portfolio including bringing in some of the most coveted vehicles from its high-performance AMG division. Starting from the A 35 limousine, the AMG line up, across body styles, includes the 43, 53 series, the 63 series, the GTs and now will also see the addition of the 45 series in the A 45S, making up 13 AMG models in all. The latest addition is even more of an enthusiast-focused model, and promises to deliver a true hot-hatch experience; what with its rated 3.9 seconds for the 0 to 100kmph sprint.
Design and Build
The new A 45 S 4M+ is not too radically different in its overall design character compared to the A class limousine. Of course, it is a two-box; a hatch with a stance, compared to the classic sedan profile of the A 35 limo. But, the A 45 S gets a lot of kit that makes it easy to identify that it is from the AMG division. The powerdomes on the bonnet, the flared wheel arches, the wider front wings and the red brake calipers within the AMG alloy wheels announce the performance positioning for this pocket rocket. The AMG specific Panamericana bonnet grille with its vertical slats is another clear indicator of its lineage.
Badging that identifies its turbocharged powertrain and its aerodynamic front profile deliver more hints about this hatches’ capability. At the rear of the A 45 S 4M+ dual twin 90mm chrome tailpipes peeping out of the wide rear apron further highlight the car’s sporty character.
The 19-inch AMG alloy wheels are shod with 245/35 profile, ZR rated Michelin Pilot Sport tyres. Overall, the A 45 S has an unmistakable stance and profile. The ‘sun yellow’ and ‘designo patagonia red’ body colours further enhance that young and fast imagery for the performance hatch.
It is a true-blue AMG and that means that the body needed to be reinforced to deliver higher rigidity and high-speed stability. The A 45 S’s shell has been reinforced to offer higher track and camber stability. There are also a bunch of customisation options being offered for customers including the AMG silver chrome package with options to customise the front splitter inserts, performance seats in cabin and the addition of a head-up display.
Speedo @ 278kmph
MB India had organised the test drive of the A 45 S 4M+ AMG on the high speed track (HST) at Natrax. It is a sprawling facility spread over 3,000 acres and houses about 14 tracks of varying lengths, surfaces and testing metrics. The HST is one of the only tracks in the country where speeds of over 250kmph can be experienced safely. The 11.3-km track features straights of about 2kms and an oval turn on either end built with a high banking and radius of one km to ensure that high speeds can be maintained.
The A 45 S 4M+ was a revelation on this track. This a proving ground for speed and so is not meant to be used for braking and overtaking manoeuvres. After the initial acceleration run to get up to speed, I was simply faced with the prospect of putting pedal to metal in the baby AMG, maintaining speeds of over 250kmph consistently.
Well into the first lap and I was already on the top lane of the banking oval and staring at the speedometer read out of 278kmph. The top speed is electronically restricted to 270kmph, the difference probably attributable to an inbuilt reading error.
I look at the fast disappearing track behind my test mule to visually gauge the speed I’m doing and was frankly astonished at how stable and unruffled the A 45 S felt at this ridiculous speed. The engine maintained a steady thrum without ever seeming to be under tremendous strain. The exhaust note is not loud, but is an audibly enhanced junior growl.
The 1,991cc, 4-cylinder in-line petrol engine features twin scroll turbochargers that force feed air and generate 421hp of peak power and 500Nm of torque. The engine’s output is sent to all four wheels using the AMG performance 4MATIC+ with the brand’s proprietary torque control system.
The engine is paired to the quick-shifting 8-speed AMG Speedshift DCT 8G - dual-clutch transmission. The powertrain’s reponse is seriously quick thanks to the engine’s delivery of low-end torque and a lot of the power being available from mid rpm levels.
Like all other AMG engines, this one too is said to be entirely hand-assembled at the performance brand’s factory in Affalterbach, near Stuttgart. The engine features multiple technologies for improved performance starting from the design and layout; and includes features like linings coated using patented Nanoslide tech to reduce friction between pistons and cylinders.
The A 45 S 4M+ is also offered with 6 AMG dynamic select drive modes, including Sport+, Individual and Race, in addition to the usual. There is also the option of a Drift mode for allowing power sliding and a more engaging performance for enthusiasts.
Though it was probably never activated during my drive at the HST, the AMG torque control features two electronically controlled multidisc clutches in the rear axle differential. Each of these clutches are connected to a rear axle drive shaft for distributing drive power to individual wheels.
Cabin and features
The test mule that I was driving at the HST was the top-spec AMG performance package. The cabin of my test car had enhanced features with the most interesting being the contoured AMG sports seats - something that might have seemed overdone if one hadn’t yet experienced the car’s on-track performance.
The standard upholstery is a combo of Artico manmade leather and Dinamica micro fibre and there are highlights and trim elements in this combo around the cabin. The dashboard layout and design is very similar to the A-Class limo. A head-up display is an optional addition, but standard features include dual 10.25-inch screens for the infotainment and instruments, with the MBUX interface built in. A 12-speaker Burmester sound system is also part of the package. Safety kit includes blind-spot assistance, active lane keeping assist and AMG performance braking tech.
Should you get one?
The A 45 S 4MATIC+ is a hatch that can send a few big performance cars into therapy. It doesn’t look as fast as it goes; and it doesn’t put down the output of its powertrain on the road or track with as much drama as a supercar would.
But, make no mistake this is one pocket rocket. At Rs 79.5 lakh (ex-showroom), this could be that one unique AMG in your garage.
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