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Juliet McGuire

First drive in the Mercedes-AMG A45 S 4MATIC+

Gone are the days when the only time you saw crazy performance figures were in massive V8 cars sporting hefty price tags. The hefty price tag remains, but the engine sizes have changed drastically. The new Mercedes-AMG A45 S is taking things to a whole new level, a level we have never seen before. And damn it is exciting.

LEVELS OF INSANITY

Having spent a week in this beast I cannot for the life of me understand why you would buy one, and I also cannot understand why you wouldn’t?! This hotter-than-hot hothatch is almost too much for our roads to handle. Mainly because whatever you want to do with it would be deemed illegal. With 310 kW and 500 Nm on hand, can you just imagine the fun at your fingertips. This will get you to 100 km/h in just 3.9 seconds. That is faster than a Porsche 911. Do you see what I mean, people? It is a beast!

The 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine is a piece of genius engineering. What it can do is unreal. In a straight line, with the Race Start function, you’re able to get off the line with minimal tyre screeching or smoke, blasting down a straight in the most composed of fashions. But it is not just in a straight line where this car is fun, it is also what it can do in the twistys. Because of the setup, there is minimal understeer and the grip is going to keep you exactly where you want to be…which is on the road at all times. No matter how fast you chuck this in to a corner, it seems to come out the other end without having broken a sweat. The line from Pretty Woman, “Man, this baby must corner like it’s on rails,” was in my head the whole the time I was driving this through a mountain pass.

Mercedes-AMG A45 S

COCKPIT CRAZY

The cabin is as modern as they come with Mercedes’s IMBUX infotainment system taking centre stage. While easy to use, it offers a lot! You could spend hours getting lost in it, finding new things to play with. Which I guess, like with any new gadget, it adds to the excitement. But with so many options, for example which combination of dials and displays, it can be a bit overwhelming. The important stuff is easy enough to find, but like I say, you can go deep in to the caldron and get rather swept away.

It is all very sophisticated inside the A45 S and one thing I am so grateful for is that fact that the air conditioning is still manually controlled and not a part of the touchscreen system…which is a pet hate of mine.

Mercedes-AMG A45 S interior

SHOULD YOU BUY ONE?

Look, like I mentioned in the beginning, buying one is something I want and don’t want to do at the same time. It doesn’t come cheap so you would really need to be sure. At a cost of around R1.15 million, you are throwing a lot of money at an impractical hatchback. But it is a hothatch after all and who cares about practicality? I recently reviewed the A35 and I think that some might find it a bit more appealing, if only from a price point of view. It is still a fun car to drive, but I am afraid that nothing can quite match this A45 S in all its beastliness. And that’s exactly how Mercedes-AMG want it to be!

For more info, head to Mercedes-AMG.

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