Mercedes-AMG has officially unveiled the hot A45 hatch and CLA45 sedan/four-door coupe at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
The big news is what’s under the bonnet. As per most hot compact cars these days, it’s a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder, though its outputs put it in a performance league like no other.
In ‘base’ trim, the 1991cc ‘M139′ turbo unit churns out 285kW of power (at 4750rpm) and 480Nm of torque (also at 4750rpm) – eclipsing the 280kW figure outputted by its predecessor. Mercedes claims the entry A45 can complete the 0-100km/h sprint in 4.0 seconds, or 4.1 seconds if you opt for the CLA45 – both cars’ top speeds are electronically limited to 250km/h, with the optional AMG Driver’s Package increasing it to 270km/h.
The real news comes in the form of the range-topping models, dubbed the A45 S and CLA45 S. Affalterbach’s engineers have managed to up the 2.0-litre engine’s outputs to a whopping 310kW of power (at 6750rpm) and 500Nm of torque (at 5000rpm) – making the duo the most powerful four-cylinder cars in the world. The 0-100km/h sprint times drop one tenth to 3.9 and 4.0 seconds for the hatch and sedan respectively, with top speed rated at 270km/h.
In all 45 variants, drive is sent to all wheels through a new eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and a variable 4Matic+ all-wheel-drive system, which features a ‘Drift Mode’ that sends the majority of the power to the rear axle for maximum smoke.
Under the skin, AMG engineers have conducted extensive work to improve the A45/CLA45’s stiffness and rigidity, including adding an aluminium plate underneath the engine, a strut brace between the front suspension towers and diagonal struts under the body.
‘Base’ 45 models ride on 18-inch wheels as standard, which hide 350mm four-piston front and 330mm single-piston rear brakes. Opt for the S, and you get 19-inch wheels and upgraded 360mm front brakes with six-piston calipers. Tyre sizes are 245mm and 255mm for the A45 S and CLA45 S respectively.
Other performance features include adaptive AMG Ride Control dampers, variable sports steering, adaptive sports exhaust system and six drive modes – Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport+, Individual and Race – the latter three of which are standard on S variants and optional on the entry cars.
Visually, the A45 and CLA45 differ from lesser AMG 35 models via a number of aggressive styling elements, which include AMG’s trademark Panamericana grille, wider wheel arches, GT63-esque lower air intakes, front canards, quad exhaust tips, a rear spoiler and a sporty rear diffuser.
Inside, front passengers sit in tight AMG Performance bucket seats trimmed in microfibre and Nappa leather. Drivers of the S variants are treated to a leather/microfibre steering wheel with yellow stitching and a yellow centre marker, while base 45 models get red seatbelts and air vent surrounds. The MBUX infotainment system also gets AMG Track Pace telemetry and unique instrument displays.