By Sala Masindane
Having been an owner of an A-Class once upon a time, I was extremely excited when the opportunity to test the top of the range A45 S came knocking.
The A45 S is identifiable from the rest the A-Class range with its large Panamericana grille with vertical slats, an aggressive front bumper with large inlets. It rides on 19-inch wheels and our test unit had a distinctive black stripe on both sides. When following the A45 S you notice the rear roof spoiler and two real exhaust pipes behind the four exhaust tips. All this makes for an impressive sight.
Inside you are greeted by dual screens for the MBUX infotainment system and instrument cluster, an AMG performance steering wheel, ambient lighting, and AMG Sports seats. We found that the MBUX infotainment system is still impressive in the A45 S as it is in the other models of the brand.
The front seats are firm, and the seating position is higher in the cabin than generally preferred. Thankfully, they are still comfortable enough for long distance driving and snug your body relatively well with good support. The Alcantara covered steering wheel feels good on the hands and is responsive when required. What’s more admirable on it are the Drive mode knobs on the steering wheel and will help with keeping your eyes on the road without having to look down when toggling from ‘comfort’ to ‘race’ mode.
The A45 S may be a sports hatch, it still has good functionality inside thanks to the decent door bins and cupholders all round. With a similar boot space of 370-litres as the rest of the A-class range, there’s sufficient space for travels as well.
Drive and Engine
Powering the A45 S range is a fire breathing 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine that produces 310 kW and 500Nm which is sent to all wheels via a fully variable all-wheel drive system with AMG Torque Control. Gears are changed via an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
The 2.0-litre engine feels like any other yellow hatchback on the streets at regular speeds. It is light and compliant without bringing attention to itself. Do not be fooled though. The new 45S is quick and maybe too quick for its own good. Honestly, once you stamp your foot on the accelerator then a theatre of crackles and pops sounds can be heard whilst moving the hatch to near illegal speeds in a matter of seconds. The 8-speed dual clutch transmission matches the power delivery very well with shifts that are slick and accurate. The A45S is also not just good for straight lines but manages to hold its own in rear wheel drive territory like challenging bends and mountain twisties. Beware of the confidence. The beast does still require a fair amount of skill to pilot but will never ask more than your talent can handle if you stick to speed limits respect the rules of gravity.
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