By Otsile Kadiege
We recently attended the local launch of the new Mercedes-AMG A45 S and CLA 45 S. Also joining the hyper hatchback and fastback coupe were the new Mercedes-AMG A35 hot hatchback, A35 Sedan and CLA 35 AMG. The launch took place at the AMG Driving Academy at Zwartkops Raceway in Centurion.
Powering the new 45 S range is a heavily revised, transversely aligned 2.0-litre 4-cylinder M133 engine, now called M139. The engine produces a scorching 310 kW and 500 Nm sent to a fully-variable all-wheel drive system with AMG TORQUE CONTROL. Gears are changed via an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The 35 range is powered by the same 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine which produces a healthy 225 kW and 400 Nm sent to a permanent all-wheel drive system via a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
Here are the 0-100 km/h sprint times claimed by Mercedes-AMG:
- Mercedes-AMG A35 Hatchback – 4.7 seconds
- Mercedes-AMG A35 Sedan – 4.8 seconds
- Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 – 4.9 seconds
- Mercedes-AMG A 45 S – 3.9 seconds
- Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 S – 4.0 seconds
The 45 S range has a top speed of 270 km/h whilst the 35 range are limited to 250 km/h.
To help differentiate the Mercedes-AMG 45 AMGs from 35 AMGs, the 45s are kitted with a large Panamericana grille with vertical slats, a more aggressive front bumper with large air-inlets, AMG 45 S specific wheels and two real exhaust pipes behind the four exhaust tips to name a few. The 35 AMGs have a double-edge sword like front grille with only two split tailpipes. Both can be kitted with the optional AMG Aerodynamic package which adds a rear wing, canards and front and rear splitters.
After a short breakfast and presentation, we started things off on the skid pan. We sampled the Drift Mode which is only available in the A45S and CLA 45S models. The 35 range did not partake on the skidpan because it has permanent all-wheel drive unlike the 45 range which can send all its available torque to the rear wheels allowing the car to drift or do doughnuts. Switching to Drift Mode is a lengthy, but necessary process for safety reasons.
On a wet skidpan, drifting the cars was fairly easy. All one has to do was to activate the Drift Mode, mash the throttle, counter-steer as the back-end comes out and control the throttle and steering on the way out. The A45 S was a bit of a handful possibly due to weight and body style differences. Compared to the CLA 45S, the A 45S felt a bit more tail happy which at times led to spin-outs which were welcomed at times because it allowed us to spin the car.
After a sighting lap in an A35 Sedan, we sampled the Race Start which launched the car quickly down the main straight. Both 35s and 45s were quick off the line. The 45S range has a more violent launch which pushes one’s back in the comfortable AMG bucket seats. The 35 and 45S range remained planted when tackling the apexes and the slalom at high-speeds. The 45s became tail-happy when pushing the throttle in too soon out of corners.
Mercedes-AMG have outdone themselves yet again, delivering cars that are arguably as quick as cars with eight cylinder engines. That being said, there is a lack of aural pleasure. Yes, it does do the pop and bangs, but there is an audible gruff four cylinder note when it is being floored.
Here are the starting prices of the Mercedes-AMG 35 and 45 S range in South Africa:
- Mercedes-AMG A 35 Hatchback: R849,640
- Mercedes-AMG A 35 Sedan: R858,160
- Mercedes-AMG CLA 35: R956,280
- Mercedes-AMG A 45S 4MATIC+: R1,101,000
- Mercedes-AMG CLA 45S 4MATIC+: R1,211,000
These products are already available at dealers.
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