If you want a car with the world’s most powerful turbocharged four-cylinder production engine, Mercedes-AMG can help.
In fact, make that a choice of two, as the performance division of Mercedes-Benz has rolled out a pair of body styles featuring the new ‘45 4Matic+’ powertrain. Both are on display at the 2019 Goodwood Festival of Speed.
Whether you want the A 45 hatchback, or the curvaceous CLA 45 four-door coupe, AMG promises serious performance for both.
One man, one engine
The belly of the beast in both A 45 and CLA 45 models is the latest 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine to emerge from AMG in Affalterbach. Each unit is personally signed by the AMG engineer who builds it.
In ‘entry-level’ specification, the AMG 45 twins produce 387 hp (285 kW) with an accompanying 354lb ft (480Nm) of torque. Even this represents a jump of 11hp (8 kW) over the previous generation A 45 AMG.
However, the biggest gains come with the A 45 S and CLA 45 S versions, which turn the power outputs all the way up. That means 421hp (310 kW) and 369lb ft (500Nm) of torque. Enough to make sports cars like the Porsche 911 feel a little nervous, perhaps.
All versions use an eight-speed AMG Speedshift DCT paddle-shift gearbox, sending power to all four wheels.
How fast are we talking?
Pick the standard A 45 hatchback, and 0-62mph (0-100kph) will arrive in 4.0 seconds, with a limited top speed of 155mph (250kph).
Opt for the more powerful ‘S’ and the figures become just 3.9 seconds for the 0-62mph dash, whilst the top speed can be extended to 168mph (270kph) with the optional AMG Drivers’ Package.
Fans of the four-door coupe CLA 45 will have to live with knowing they will always by 0.1sec slower on the equivalent 0-62mph sprints.
Not just for drag racing
Although the advanced technical details of the new engine in the AMG 45 models could fill whole chapters of books alone, Mercedes has also worked on the suspension and brakes.
Performance dampers and springs are standard, with a three-mode adaptive system available as an option.
Standard cars use a four-piston monobloc braking system, with the discs drilled and vented to handle high temperatures. AMG 45 S buyers can opt for an even larger six-piston fixed caliper.
Looking to thrill
Both the A 45 and CLA 45 wear an AMG bodykit, with looks inspired by the AMG GT four-door supercar. Aggressive bumpers, flared wheelarches, 19-inch wheels and an AMG-specific front grille should let everyone know what you’re driving.
At the back, regular AMG 45 cars get twin exhaust tailpipes, whilst AMG 45 S versions get even larger exhausts with four tailpipes.
The exhaust system also features automatically controlled flaps to adjust the noise level. According to AMG, this ranges from ‘harmoniously discreet’ to ‘emotively sporty’ when Sport+ is selected from the six driving mode choices.
Inside the AMG 45 pair you’ll find performance sports seats up front, finished in a combination of microfibre and man-made leather with red stitching. AMG 45 S models get yellow details throughout the cabin.
Buying an ‘S’ also means the AMG Track Pace data logger comes as standard. Linked to the satellite navigation system, this allows you to monitor and analyse your lap times on a host of race circuits around the world.
An augmented reality function even allows drivers to get virtual coaching on how best to improve their on-track performance, making use of the head-up display. Not even Lewis Hamilton gets that in his company car.
Waiting to hoon
Mercedes-AMG has also gifted the A 45 and CLA 45 with a ‘drift mode’ as part of the 4Matic+ all-wheel drive system. Each rear wheel gets its own clutch, letting the car send power to individual wheels for maximum slide.
Given the controversy that surrounded the Ford Focus RS being fitted with drift mode, we imagine the AMG 45 twins will also provoke road safety campaigners.
While the cars have been revealed at the 2019 Goodwood Festival of Speed, Mercedes-AMG is remaining tight-lipped on pricing and release dates for now.