It’s time in the Mercedes A-Class’ life for it to receive a mid-life refresh. There’s all the usual extra bits and pieces that comes with an update halfway through a model’s life; cosmetic changes here and there, more power and efficiency throughout the engine range, and extra equipment thrown in.
New tech for the A-Class includes optional LED headlights, DYNAMIC SELECT drive mode functions, and from 2016, Apple CarPlay. As well as extra goodies and an increase in power throughout the range, A200 models and above get a special “Motorsport Edition”. There’s no changes in performance, but it does get some “petrol green” highlights on various bits and pieces to pay homage to the AMG Petronas F1 car.
The big news comes from the top of the A-Class range, the new Mercedes-AMG A45. The outgoing A45 is a mighty quick little car. With 355bhp/261kW, it has more than enough to fend of rivals from BMW and Audi. However, that hasn’t stopped the engineers at AMG squeezing an extra 26bhp/19kW from the 2.0-litre engine. Yes, this little four-cylinder hatchback now produces 381bhp/280kW, more or less the same as Merc’s old 5.5-litre V8 were producing in their poshest cars not that long ago.
As a result of the extra grunt, the A45 now gets to 100 km/h from standstill 0.4 seconds quicker than before, 4.2 seconds to be exact. That’s edging to serious sports car territory. And remember this is a small hatchback with five seats and a boot. The A45 also gets an optional front axle differential. Changes have also been made to the transmission, suspension, and electrics to help extract the extra power.
The A45 also gains AMG DYNAMIC SELECT as seen on the new AMG GT and C63. This allows the driver to select from Comfort, Sport, Sport+, and Individual modes. The optional AMG DYNAMIC Plus package takes it further by adding a ‘Race’ mode. The DYNAMIC Plus pack also adds AMG RIDE CONTROL sport suspicion which comes with two-stage adaptive damping. There’s also a mechanical front axle locking diff. It’s one serious little machine, but might this be a bit overkill for a hot hatch?
To differentiate the new A45 from the old one, there’s now a new front bumper which takes inspiration from Mercedes-AMG’s latest products. It’s not a massive change but it does tie in Mercedes-AMG’s baby with the rest of the range quite nicely. The AMG Sport pack for the They also say it’s more aerodynamic than before.
The question is, where will hot hatches go from here? It’s starting to get to a point where these power outputs are starting to become ludicrous. BMW and Audi will surely respond to this with equally insane numbers for their hot hatches. Not to mention VW’s utterly bonkers 400bhp Golf R400 that’s due soon. Does having the most power make for the best hot hatch or perhaps something more, rounded, might make a better choice?