Affalterbach - The world’s hottest hatch just got even hotter. 

Mercedes-AMG has finally pulled the covers off the highly anticipated new-generation A45 (as well as its CLA 45 cousin) and the pair break their predecessors’ records as the most powerful four-cylinder production cars ever.

Let’s get to the nitty gritty. 

As previously announced, Mercedes-AMG is now offering ‘S’ versions of the A45 and CLA 45 models, which both produce 310kW at 6750rpm and 500Nm from 5000rpm. But we now know exactly how fast they are off the mark - and we’re almost talking supercar territory here. According to Mercedes-AMG, the A45 S will screech from 0-100km/h in just 3.9 seconds, while the CLA 45 takes four seconds on the dot.

The performance division is also offering less powerful ‘basic’ versions of both models, which are tuned to produce 285kW at 6500rpm and 480Nm from 4750rpm. But even that’s more power than the previous A45 produced (which was 280kW and 475kW) and mind you the tamer models are hardly slower off the mark, with respective claimed 0-100km/h times of 4.0 and 4.1 seconds.

Both versions are powered by a brand new, “completely reconfigured” 2-litre four-cylinder engine that revs higher than a traditional turbo engine, with the redline reached at 7200rpm.

The engine is mated to a new eight-speed AMG Speedshift DCT-8G dual-clutch transmission and a fully-variable AMG Performance 4Matic+ all-wheel-drive system.

Oh, and did we mention there’s a drift mode?

This is thanks to the new AMG Torque Control rear axle diff that has two electronically controlled multi-disc clutches that allow power to be variably distributed between the rear wheels. Drift mode is standard on the S models and optional on the standard cars as part of the AMG Dynamic Plus Package.

The same applies to the new ‘Master’ mode for the all-wheel-drive system, which is available in addition to ‘Pro’, ‘Advanced’ and ‘Basic’ settings.

A thoroughly revised AMG suspension system, which includes a four-link independent rear axle, aims to provide more comfort than before, without sacrificing dynamics, and those seeking the best balance will no doubt order the optional AMG Ride Control adaptive damping system. 

The new 45 AMGs roll on 18-inch (basic models) or 19-inch (S versions) alloy wheels, and out on the road there will be no mistaking them for ‘ordinary’ A-Class and CLA models, thanks to flared wheel arches, a ‘Panamericana’ grille with vertical louvres, unique front and rear aprons, 82mm twin tailpipes and rear spoilers. 

The cabin has been appropriately spiced up with sports seats (‘Performance' seats are optional), with red seat belts and stitching on the standard models and yellow highlights in the S models. 

The 45s also get an AMG Performance steering wheel as well as an MBUX digital infotainment and instrumentation system with AMG-specific displays, including G-Meter, Race Timer and Track Pace with telemetry data. 

IOL Motoring