It’s going to take a while to get used to this. Mercedes Benz cars are supposed to be big, imposing and luxurious. Owning a Mercedes Benz means you are a significant member of society. You have the money to buy a Mercedes and the taste to appreciate Mercedes styling and the legacy of the brand.
What if the car isn’t significant in size or looks? What if it doesn’t look like a Mercedes Benz? A Mercedes that looks ordinary is like a three star Michelin restaurant selling Rice Crispy treats. Those treats better have something extraordinary in them. Luckily, Mercedes Benz let the clever people at AMG have the car with permission to do whatever they want. Mercedes-AMG GmbH is the performance expert for Mercedes Benz. They’re responsible for the frighteningly fast Black series of Mercedes Benz performance cars.
The A45 AMG is the same size and shape as any other sub-compact. It’s got five doors, the essentially fastback design with (when viewed from the side) an oval for the passengers and a box for the engine and the general look of a second or third car. It also carries a $50,000 price tag.
AMG delivered. In terms of displacement and horsepower, the four cylinder, 2.0 litre engine is the most powerful engine in production today. Let’s say that again. No other engine of 2.0 litres or less puts out the horsepower that the engine in the A45 AMG does. AMG designed a high pressure (26 psi where most standard turbochargers deliver 10 psi or less) turbocharger and solid pistons to handle the extra heat and produced an engine that delivers 350 horsepower and 331 lb-ft of torque. The little engine that could do more than anyone else propels the 3300 pound car from zero to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds with an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph. Try that in your Toyota Yaris.
There’s more (that’s the joy of any car dealt with by AMG – there’s always more). The A45 AMG has all wheel drive. The specially designed awd cancels out torque steer. They also put in a brilliantly engineered suspension that does away with body roll, dive and pitch. The car is always balanced no matter what the driver does to it. ‘More’ also includes the seven speed, dual clutch automatic and the electronics controlling it. AMG included “matched-rev throttle blips”. When the driver downshifts, the engine hits the throttle momentarily to match the engine speed with the wheel speed.
And Still More. The A45 AMG has three driving modes. You can change between Normal, Sport and Sport Plus. Normal produces smooth up and down shifts or average duration. Sport quickens the changes and Sport Plus introduces the rev-matching throttle blips.
The A45 AMG has something missing from other subcompacts. The average driver simply wouldn’t want to take a subcompact on a long trip. They’re too buzzy, too slow and not enough fun. You can’t wait until your wife is asleep and try some brisk driving in the odd canyon. The average subcompact has no brisk driving. By the way, the website CarZoos outlines a superb trip from Torquay to the landmark called the Twelve Apostles.
Styling is nice. It’s pleasant. It won’t get any second looks in the grocery store parking lot, but it won’t make anyone look away. It’s got some nice swoopy lines on the side and the front includes gaping air inlets that look menacing. But, frankly, it’s nothing special.
In practical terms, the A45 AMG can take on any football-mom driven sub-compact in the school driveway. Better than that, it can thump your self-righteous neighbor and his brand new Porsche 911.