Review: 2020 Mercedes-AMG A45S Edition 1 – They’ve Found the Sweet Spot
“With great power comes great responsibility” is a proverb that does not only apply to superheroes but other things as well, and that includes cars, especially cars like the one you’re looking at here – the 2020 Mercedes-AMG A45S Edition 1.
However, there is one big difference between being a superhero and driving the 2020 Mercedes-AMG A45S – While superheroes go out of their way to save the world from the bad guys, what happens when you’re in the A45S is that the “bad guys” actually go out of their way and come to you, tailgate, rev, brake check, and do everything they can just to rile you up, and make you floor it.
In fact, that was exactly what happened to us during our stint with the A45S recently, as everyone wanted to see what the new A45S AMG is capable of.
The reason for everyone to be so excited about the car is simple – it is the officially the most powerful production hot hatch in the world at the moment, with a mindblowing 421 hp and 500 Nm of torque at your disposal.
Just to put things into perspective, the predecessor which made about 380 hp was already labelled as “mad” by almost everyone who got behind its wheels, and things have been taken a notch even higher with the new A45S.
Similar to most AMG models, the new 2020 Mercedes-AMG A45 now comes in two variants – the base A45 and the A45S. However, only the latter is offered here in Malaysia.
The difference between the base A45 and the A45S is that the latter makes an extra 33bhp, and comes with more equipment, 19-inch wheels (vs 18-inch), larger exhaust pipes, double the number of diffusers, bigger brakes, and more driving modes.
Priced at RM443,270 on the road minus insurance and SST, the AMG A45S here, which comes in the Edition 1 guise, comes with the Panamerica grille, large air intakes, a jet-wing-profiled front bumper, flared wheel arches, diffusers in front and the rear, 19-inch AMG wheels, AMG Night Package, quad exhausts, as well as a rear spoiler.
Inside, the 2020 Mercedes-AMG A45S features AMG Performance seats, an AMG Performance steering wheel, dark aluminium Edition 1 trim, AMG floor mats, illuminated AMG door sill panels, and the MBUX infotainment system with two 10.25-inch widescreen displays.
One of the coolest features in the A45S model is the AMG Track Pace data logger, which is for use at the race tracks.
What Track Pace does is that it stores all kinds of information from the car such as speed, acceleration, steering angle, and so on, and compiles all of that data to help you improve on the track. There’s even an Augmented Reality function that shows the ideal racing line on a number of pre-stored racetracks, functioning as a virtual instructor.
So, how does it drive?
The issue with the previous-gen A45 was that the level of comfort was almost non-existent. A couple of hours of enthusiastic driving in that thing would probably have you saying “man, I need a massage.”
As crazily fast as it was, it was just too firm and harsh to be driven on a daily basis on our pothole-filled roads. The new A45S, to our surprise however, is actually nothing like its predecessor as the folks at AMG have somehow managed to find the sweet spot between manic performance and everyday usability, resulting in a car that is much more comfortable and refined.
The best part is that performance has not been compromised one bit. In fact, there is so much more power at your disposal and this is exactly what makes the new A45S such a desirable car.
The 421 hp and 500 Nm coming from the engine and the RM443,000 price tag puts the Mercedes-AMG A45S a level well above every other mass-produced hot hatch on sale today.
Be it the Golf R, the MINI John Cooper Works GP, the Megane RS, or any other hatchback for the matter – all you’ll be able to do is smell the A45S’ smoke, and we’re not even exaggerating.
The fact that the new AMG A45S can accelerate from naught to 100 km/h in under four seconds even puts it in the same league as some supercars out there in terms of performance, and what this means is that we have a 2.0-litre hatchback that can mess around with almost anything out there.
You bawalah apa you mau…No problem…
When you drive it in a chilled manner, the A45S is at its best behaviour, calm and composed. And then, once we hit the highway or B-roads, it is a case of “just ask and you shall receive” with the accelerator pedal.
At the same time, it is also a case of “be careful what you wish for” as once you floor it, this thing just goes for it, passing by the rest of the world at unbelievable speed.
Thanks to the 8-speed AMG Speedshift dual clutch transmission and the 4MATIC all-wheel drive system, not only is the power delivery so smooth, but there is always sufficient grip as well.
Throughout our stint with the Mercedes-AMG A45S, about 90% of the time was spent in Comfort mode, in which the car already felt too powerful for our roads. And then we had the Sport and Sport+ mode, which are not for the weak.
Once we switched to Sports, the exhaust note got louder, the steering got slightly heavier, and the throttle got more sensitive, itching to just pounce and eat everything that comes in its way. This firmness and the rawness of this mode actually reminded us of the previous generation A45.
Sports+ on the other hand, is even nastier. This mode is actually ideal only for all-out track driving as the way power is delivered, and the sensitivity of the throttle and what not, was just downright scary. So, after fiddling around, back to Comfort mode we went to enjoy the drive.
On top of the engaging drive and all the power, we have the lovely interior. The generous dose of leather and Alcantara upholstery, all the yellow contrasting accents, the dual screens that run across the dashboard, the ambient lighting, and the AMG flat-bottom steering make the A45S’ cabin such an enjoyable place to be in.
It is spacious as well – there is actually enough head and leg space for four six-footers to sit comfortably in the car for a few hours – something that we didn’t expect at all to be frank.
And then, there is the boot with 370 litres of space with the seats up, and 1,210 litres with the 40:20:40 split rear seats folded – which is 10 litres more than the BMW 1 Series. Impressed yet?
Last but not least, we have smartphone integration, wireless charging, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and of course the Burmester surround sound premium audio system.
In a nutshell, the new Mercedes-AMG A45S surprised us in many ways with what it has to offer. Not only is it more powerful than the outgoing model, but also more spacious, more visually appealing, more comfortable, and simply put; more sensible.
The only catch here is the hefty price tag that is close to half-a-million Ringgit. But then again, a lot of good things in life come at a price don’t they?
So, in case you’re wondering how much money you need to spend to have everyone looking at you, and to have a car that is practical enough to be driven everyday yet potent enough to mess around with almost any car on the road as well as the racetrack, the answer is RM443,000 minus SST.