A45 AMG ON SALE IN AUSTRALIA
"This car I've been driving, the new Mercedes A 45 AMG, is the best high-performance hatch ever made. The best ever." - TMR Managing Editor Tim O'Brien, at this week's A 45 launch event.
Merc's new pocket ballistic missile, the A 45 AMG hatch, is now in Australia, priced at $74,900 plus on-roads.
Available from September 1, the A 45 lands at a whopping $10,000 above BMW's M135i hot hatch - but while the 'Bimmer' hatch is not a true M model, the A 45 has had every bit of AMG's wizardy worked on it.
Importantly though for fans of manual transmissions, the M135i is equipped with a row-your-own arrangement as standard, whereas the Merc can be had only with that dual-clutch auto.
For Mercedes fans - and those coming on board - the A 45 gives buyers a much more affordable path into the AMG range, with the larger C 63 AMG starting at a hefty $152,800 in sedan form.
Mercedes in Australia has already taken more than 100 pre-orders for the A 45, price unknown, and the company expects the order books to fill out now that pricing has been confirmed.
The company says Australia is the third most important market for the A45 after China and Japan (ahead of Germany and the UK).
As a result, Mercedes has increased Australia's allocation of A 45 cars, and the company expects to sell between 250 and 350 units here by December 31.
Pricing aside, the Merc is also a good deal more powerful than its BMW rival: its 2.0 litre turbo four produces 265kW, while the M135i's turbo six offers 235kW - although both offer 450Nm of torque.
Sent to the 4Matic all-wheel-drive system through AMG's seven-speed SpeedShift dual-clutch transmission, the A 45 also lists a quicker 0-100km/h time - 4.6 seconds, to the M135i's 4.9 second best.
Maximum power for the turbo four is available at 6000rpm with a 6700rpm redline, while the full 450Nm of torque is available between 2250 and 5000rpm.
With a twin-scroll turbocharger in play, peak pressure is listed at up to 140 bar, while maximum charge pressure is at 1.8 bar.
Mercedes-Benz claims fuel consumption figrues of just 6.9 l/100km.
The new engine is also treated no differently to AMG's other powerplants, hand-built to the same "one man, one engine" philosophy applied to its eight- and 12-cylinder engines.
Along with the seven-speed auto, the A 45 AMG is equipped with Merc's 4Matic all-wheel-drive as standard.
While the requisite performance-focused tweaks feature, one crucial point in Mercedes' eyes is its weight: around 25 percent lighter than the system used in rival offerings (namely the quattro-equipped Audi RS 3).
As with other systems, the 4Matic package sees power sent to the front wheels in regular driving, while a 50:50 split is available "when driving dynamics so require".
There's also a speed-sensitive electromechanical dual pinion steering system, and braking is managed by 350x32mm discs at the front and 330x22mm discs at the rear.
This all rides on 19x8 light alloy wheels, wrapped in 235/35 tyres.
The A 45 also gets a trick in its exhaust system, featuring the same automatic controlled exhaust flap featured with the SLK 55 AMG.
The flap is continuously adjusted by map control according to the power called up by the driver, load status and engine speed.
Features standard with the Australian model will include 19-inch alloy wheels, the AMG Driver's Package that boosts top speed to 270km/h, and the usually optional AMG sports exhaust kit.
Buyers will also get blind-spot monitoring and lane departure warning, adaptive headlights, a panoramic sunroof, adaptive cruise control.
There's also leather seats (heated at the front), and the COMAND infotainment package with satellite navigation, internet connectivity and Harmon Kardon speakers.
Options include a $490 upgrade to black alloy wheels and a $1990 aero package with front flics, a big rear wing and a larger front splitter. There's also a $1990 AMG suspension upgrade that adds 40kg more downforce at 250km/h.
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