When Mercedes-AMG announced it was jumping head-first into the market of hot hatches, we were a little bit sceptical. I mean, this was a company renown for making snorting, powersliding V8 versions of cushy cruisers, so what business were they doing tuning front-wheel drive family hatchbacks?
Fast forward to today, and not only has the Mercedes-AMG A 45 become a respectable card-carrying member of the Affalterbach family, it has also spawned full range of 45-badged compact cars, including the CLA 45 four-door coupé. And now, both of these cars have been renewed with even greater performance, and we bring you live photos straight from the recent Frankfurt Motor Show.
So let’s get straight to the meat and potatoes, the engine. Displacing the same 2.0 litres as the A 250‘s M260 turbo four-cylinder, the new M139 – which replaces the old M133 – is nevertheless a completely different animal. Firstly, the block has been rotated 180 degrees to place the intake at the front and the exhaust and twin-scroll turbocharger at the rear, for shorter routing and fewer diversions on both ends.
Digging further into the engine, you’ll also find both port and direct fuel injection, along with an aluminium crankcase, a forged steel crankshaft and aluminium pistons, Nanoslide-coated cylinders, oil sump baffles and larger exhaust valves. There’s also an electric water pump for better cooling, as well as integrated engine coolant and gearbox oil cooling and a heat exchanger on the new eight-speed dual clutch transmission.
So equipped, the new A 45 and CLA 45 deliver 387 hp and 480 Nm of torque, enough to get them from zero to 100 km/h in 4.0 seconds for the former and 4.1 seconds for the latter. But wait, there’s more – both models get a new S version that cranks up the boost from 1.9 bar to 2.1 bar and adds a second radiator, raising outputs to a heady 421 hp and 500 Nm of torque. This shaves a tenth off their respective sprint times, with the A 45 S in particular dipping under the four-second mark, at 3.9 seconds.
Linked to the AMG Speedshift DCT 8G gearbox is the AMG Performance 4Matic+ all-wheel drive system, with the plus symbol referring to the new addition of AMG Torque Control. Adding a twin clutch pack on the rear axle means that the system can not only vary the torque distribution between the front and rear axles, but side-to-side on the rear axle as well – giving the cars real torque vectoring.
But the pièce de résistance is the AMG Dynamic Plus Package which, when specced (it’s standard on the S), adds a new Drift Mode that will allow you to pull lurid powerslides, as well larger front brakes with six-piston callipers (instead of four). The chassis is reinforced with an aluminium plate under the engine, front strut tower bracing and additional plates around the front. The AMG Ride Control dampers are optional.
Both the A 45 and CLA 45 get an assortment of aerodynamic addenda, including more aggressive front ends that add the Panamericana slatted grille, huge air intakes and a front wing inspired by jet planes. The front fenders have also been blistered to house the wider front tracks, while the rear ends get sizeable diffusers that integrate the quad round tailpipes.
The cars you see here are Edition 1 cars and are equipped with the optional AMG Aerodynamic package, throwing on a front splitter and flics, an even more ornate diffuser, large rear spoilers and shrouds for the (fake) rear air vents. Both display units sit on black 19-inch alloy wheels – the A 45 S rolls on five-twin-spoke rollers, while the CLS 45 S receives intricate cross-spoke items.
Inside, the A 45 and CLA 45 get sports seats, AMG-specific displays for the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) and some additional screens for things such as temperatures, lap times and g-forces. The S models here have the beefier AMG Performance steering wheel (with integrated controls for drive modes, suspension and transmission) and yellow highlights, plus the optional AMG Performance seats.
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