The template for this post said, "Add a Catchy Title." If you have any idea of performance cars, the name of this pocket-sized missile is catchy enough. Hence the title.
Val said, "Gee this is comfortable. Quiet too." I had the car set to Comfort mode and was easy on the throttle. She would have changed her mind if I had rotated the steering wheel mounted Mode dial to 'Sport,' would have probably complained if I selected 'Sport +,' and I don't want to imagine what she would have said if I clicked it all the way through to 'Race.'
Mounted just below the right spoke, the dial smacks of some highbrow Italian coupes that have grabbed my attention in the past. It's a great way to dial in the level of feel and auditory reward that your mood demands - and the car has to offer.
Sport injects a bit of boom into the exhaust, tightens up the chassis and speeds up the gear shifts. Sport+ adds a higher level of ignition interruption to spit and pop on the overrun and the change up, while Race packages all that and more into a track-ready car that isn't really at home in the suburbs, or even on the highway.
There's also Drift mode for the undeclared hoon in you.
For this iteration of the A Class front runner, the Benz engineers have gathered a swathe of technology and high performance engineering and crammed it into the fastest and most powerful production hatch on the planet.
The 2-litre four cylinder twin scroll turbo engine is a case in point, Built by a single technician at the AMG plant - and signed on the rocker cover - it churns out 310kW and 500Nm of torque at a screaming 7,200rpm.
That generates awesome heat, so the turbo is cooled by water, oil and air. The intercooler and engine block each have their own electric water pump, and the head has a mechanical unit that can pump 280-litres per minute. That's about double your SUV yawn-mobile.
The block is unique to this car and will take 160bar in the combustion chamber.
That kind of output simply cannot be tamed effectively through front or rear drive. This car has the Benz 4MATIC+ AWD system which features clutches for each rear wheel. The software reads a host of sensors and G-meters and delivers fully-variable torque distribution so crazy stuff like 'Drift Mode' can be enabled.
The eight-speed SPEEDSHIFT DCT transmission snaps through the gear changes in a blink with no discernible drop to the urge. The 'blink' is faster depending on the mode selected. My only faintly negative comment would be that the box sounds like you're going for it even on light throttle. It grabs second very quickly and snaps through the bottom end of the box in quick-fire fashion - and everyone outside can hear it. Mind you, if you're a poseur, that's exactly what you want. But it's one thing you'd probably want to avoid if you had some coppers alongside or behind you when accelerating. "Ello, ello ello. Think we're on a race track do we? Licence please . . ."
That minor item aside, when you head out and wrap the A45 S around yourself, any trip, for any purpose, is a stimulating, exciting and ultimately rewarding experience.
The feeling you get when you go deep in a corner and unleash those
massive discs and six-piston front callipers inspires a rare level of confidence, and the drive system encourages you to get back on the loud pedal well before mid-corner.
Then the A45 growls at you, digs in to the bitumen and slingshots out the other side looking for the next bend. This is not transport - it's entertainment.
Inside, the designers have taken the container-load of gizmos from the engineers and arranged everything to allow easy management of the car's systems. The quality of materials, switchgear and displays accurately reflects the $100,000 on-road cost.
Seats are built with high-speed cornering in mind, but worked in harmony with the Comfort mode when Val was on board. With the steering wheel in the perfect spot, seat settings as you like it, and mirrors adjusted so you can instantly see who you've left behind, the whole car merges into a component of your personal mobility.
As for the interior light display at night - it's worth going out to the car, leaving the garage lights off and just enjoying the feeling of sitting in a space ship.
What's the rear room like, are there any child seat restraints, and what about boot space? Ok; yes; fine. Who cares?
Ultimately this A Class is a daily drive that you can take to the track any time you want. In previous years, you had to put your race car baby on a trailer, take it to the track, unload, warm up, and then check everything before you could put down some hot lap therapy.
Not so with this little weapon. Just turn up, twist the dial, and go for it, blowing the rest of the visitors into the weeds in the process.
Models: Mercedes-Benz AMG A45 S
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol twin-scroll turbo
Transmission: Eight speed SPEEDMATIC DCT
Performance: 0-100km/h 3.9 seconds
Safety rating: Five-star ANCAP