A jack of all trades is a master of none but often better than a master of one.
The Indian market is no stranger to hot hatches, but for most of us, it's been an itch that just has not been scratched. Now don't get me wrong, most hot hatches already in India are quite accomplished in their own right, but none that do it with such a high amount of vigour and proficiency. The A45 S AMG is a thoroughbred hot hatch straight from the AMG stable.
Globally, the A45 is recognised as a fine blend of performance and practicality, but just how ergonomic and accessible can this performance be out on our streets. Well, fortunately for me, I was one cold morning and a hot yellow AMG away from finding out.
Despite being a hatchback, this Mercedes Benz AMG A45 S has one mean looking stance!
Credits where credits due this bright sun yellow paint job doesn't fail at turning heads. However, I would have preferred the mountain grey finish. The new front end looks purposeful and especially menacing with its intelligent headlamp design, flared arches, side vents, canards and relatively low ground clearance.
As I walk past the beautiful 19-inch wheels, I remember wondering how well all this aggression and girth would be to manoeuvre on our busy roads. Well, it's not the width but instead its height as it prowls around our pothole-riddled streets and unusual speed breakers.
The A45 S does a reasonably good job for the most part, but there will be days you will not be as attentive, or the road won't permit any evasive manoeuvres. So I suppose you could mentally prepare to watch your glances turn into close observations of these aggressive side skirts. However, I doubt you're going to be thinking about any of those things when you take a look at this gorgeous rear end.
Believe me, this beautifully designed rear end is hard to miss, even at triple-digit speeds. I don't get the new trend that brands seem to be taking on with fake exhaust tips; it's something even this A45 S AMG has fallen victim to!
That being said, I really don't mind Mercedes fooling me by piping the exhaust note through the speakers. I'd rather not disturb my neighbours and horde all the pops, bangs and drama to myself.
Fire up the A45 S AMG, and a quirky light show greets you as the multi-beam LEDs gently glows up. You can either choose to start it guns blazing with the exhaust turned up or in a more tiptoe stealthy manner.
Now though this interior is one that's percolated down Mercedes's portfolio, it still somehow doesn't fail to amaze. I suppose that shows what a brilliant job Mercedes Benz has done with its interior design, and the AMG spice thrown in definitely adds a lot more character to this cabin.
The seats are pretty comfortable and supportive despite their rather aggressive appearance. The lack of yellow seatbelts to go with all the other yellow inserts are a sore miss, though I imagine that could be too much yellow for some.
I'm quite a fan of the Burmester 12 speaker system with its 590W output that sounds sensational. The overall interior space and ambience are pretty accomodating and doesn't really feel congested at all. You could comfortably drive around with four passengers and, dare I say, even an occasional fifth passenger. Mercedes's new multimedia interface is another major hit and, in my opinion, one of the best out there. It's elementary to use, visually rich and very accessible. For instance, you've got a clever touchpad that makes it convenient for you or your passenger to operate if you don't feel like reaching out and using the touch screen. However, you can operate the touchscreen without letting go of the wheel.
Infact you could practically toggle through both screens, and the heads up display without ever having to take your hands off the wheel, which makes driving a lot easier. I can go on and on about the amount of tech that's packed into this interior, and frankly, I'm sure it's pretty secondary to most buyers.
Their primary concern is this 2.0-litre, 4-cyl engine that puts out an insane 421bhp of power and 500Nm of torque. No wonder this is the most powerful four-cylinder engine currently in production, and that is quite a heavy burden to carry. Marketing aside, though, this motor is no joke and will shove you harder in your seat than you'd expect and propel you to 100 kmph before you can even finish saying its name. Mercedes Benz claims a 0-100kmph figure of under four seconds, and I don't doubt them one bit.
It's fascinating that we get to experience a hatchback accelerate harder and faster than most sports cars and supercars of a bygone age. Unfortunately, fuel efficiency figures are nothing to brag about, and I could care less in such a purpose build machine; however, what does bother me is the relatively small 51-litre fuel tank that feels just about adequate.
The A45 S brakes just as hard as it accelerates, and the 4-Matic drive train does a fantastic job at putting the power down with little to no loss in traction. Unfortunately, we didn't get a chance to play with the cool drift mode or the race start, but they're were extremely easy to activate should you find yourself in a playful mode. Now, to talk about the jarring ride quality, to be fair, our roads lie at the crux of this problem. The A45 S rides adequately on smooth tarmac, but don't expect yourself to get going when the going gets tough. It's bad enough that the ride height is low, but the rather stiff suspension can throw you around undulations at triple-digit speeds.
I can see now how Mercedes Benz AMG A45 S manages to earn itself its somewhat accomodating title despite its sporty prowess. Going up against the BMW M2 Competition and the Porsche 718 Cayman, the A45 S certainly holds its own against these cars. Though it may not possess the in-line 6 appeal of the BMW and the driving dynamics of the Porsche, the A45 S certainly poses as a bargain compared to its closest rivals. It packs a lot of character, thoughtful tech and exotic looks to go with, and if you're in the market for a sporty car around this price point, then I'd definitely recommend checking out the AMG A45 S.
– 2.0- litre, In-line 4 cyl, turbocharged petrol engine
– 421hp @6750rpm
– 500Nm @5000rpm
– 8-Speed DCT
Price – Rs 79.50 lakh (ex-showroom, India)
For – Brutal power, practicality, beautiful interiors
Against – Small fuel tank, low ground clearance