AMG’s A45 and CLA45 are coming to Australia, with buckets of power, mighty torque and a bunch of new technology. Midnight poppity-bangs just got faster.
Mercedes-Benz is bringing its twin tiny terrors, the AMG A45 and CLA45. Based on the standard A and CLA class cars, they pack new four-cylinder turbo engines from AMG, a new twin-clutch transmission and huge bunch of changes to match the price tags.
How much are the A45 and CLA45 and what do I get?
A45 S: $93,600 plus on-roads
CLA45 S: $111,200 plus on-roads
Those are both very big numbers, so you’ll rightly be expecting a lot of gear. And, as is tradition, Australian cars are the S versions, no mucking about with the basics.
Today’s release doesn’t go into deep detail, but you get 19-inch alloys, a Burmester surround-sound stereo, the excellent AMG steering wheel, electric heated front seats, leather trim, climate control, keyless entry and start, panoramic sunroof, privacy glass and configurable ambient lighting.
The CLA gets slightly wider wheels and a different nose.
As it’s a new Mercedes, you also score the excellent new MBUX entertainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The system works off the second of two huge screens that sweep across the dash like an E-Class’s and it all looks terrific.
Look and feel
You can see the A-Class and CLA-Class underneath these cars. The A45 has a typical AMG grille and jet-fighter inspired front bumper. The rear bumper sprouts a small diffuser, quad exhausts and side vents while the tailgate has a big wing stapled to it.
The CLA, meanwhile, is a little more restrained, with its own front bumpers, no flaring and the rear wing is more of a lip. Mercedes says the front end looks like the four-door GT, but I’m not sure I see the obvious resemblance, at least not in the photos.
Inside it’s all very lovely and, crucially, looks expensive. Plenty of nice materials, stitching and various trims to make the car look and feel not only like an AMG but a hatchback and sedan that land either side of $100,000.
There’s been a fair amount of work going on here because there’s a lot of power and torque to keep under control.
AMG was at great pains to ensure a stiff body, starting with a reinforced bodyshell. An aluminium plate – known as a “shearing plate” – has been bolted underneath the engine to improve front end torsional rigidity. Further strengthening of the suspension system, says AMG, also helps to provide “highly precise responses even at the physical limits.”
Both come with a new AMG Dynamics system, which remaps the traction and stability programs to help stop you throwing yourself off the road.
AMG Ride Control adaptive damping allows for a choice between comfortable(ish) and performance focussed.
The front brakes are six-piston calipers on 360mm discs while the single-piston calipers at the rear grab 330mm discs. The rotors are perforated and internally ventilated, don’t you know.
Here we go. The new 2.0-litre four-cylinder smashes out a scarcely believable 310kW and 500Nm. To get that power to all four wheels, there’s a new eight-speed twin-clutch. The old car had tons of power, this has so much more. That’s 155kW per litre. An extraordinary figure.
Although I hope it feels less highly-strung than the old car’s, although max power arrives at 7200rpm and maximum torque is available between 5000 and 5250 rpm. So eight gears will definitely be useful. Australian cars feature the Driver’s Package, which means a largely pointless 270km/h top speed, MBUX data logging and Night Package.
Along with the all-wheel drive system is a new rear diff with a pair of multi-disc clutches to apportion power left and right to the rear wheels. Why would you need that, I hear you ask? Because the A45 and CLA45 now have drift mode. Just what you need on a wet roundabout.
I hope there’s a proper rear-wheel drive mode rather than just a silly sideways mode, because I always found these two cars a bit of a shut-up-and-hang-on proposition.
These things are going to be very fast. I hope they’re a bit more involving though (Drift mode or not). The A45 and CLA45 were super-fast but I never really felt like I was in control of them. With a bit of sparkle, though, these things will be absolute weapons.
The AMG A45 and CLA45 are on sale now. Poppity bang!
Peter Anderson is the Editor and founder of the theredline.com.au. He’s been writing about cars for years and finds it difficult to talk about anything else.