When new in 2013, this example of the hottest of hot hatches (at least until the Audi RS3 landed in 2015) cost around £42,000, but today, seven years and 95,000 miles later, it could be on our driveway for £15,990. It is being advertised by a private seller and has a trade value of around £11,650, so there’s surely a bit of haggling to be done.
Doubtless the seller will point to the car’s full Mercedes-Benz service history. That deserves a big tick, but we’d go through the invoices, checking all majors and minors have been done, the air con has been regassed and the brake fluid and coolant have been changed. The seller is bound to indicate, too, the car’s AMG sports exhaust, two-owner history and, from the pictures, unblemished condition. The mileage is apparently largely motorway as well. All reasons for the seller to dig their heels in, but the fact is that very soon this A45 will crack 100k miles and we all know what, rightly or wrongly, that does for a car’s appeal, even one as exotic as this.
What’s more, there are a few gremlins in the A45’s wood shed to be mindful of, such as weak turbos on early cars like this one, as well as occasionally troublesome DCT gearboxes (some were repaired under warranty). The model is heavy on discs and pads, too. A test drive will reveal all, but the fact that the seller has at some stage sauced up the car with smoked lenses, a carbonfibre rear diffuser and a sportier grille suggests the turbo, ’box and brakes have seen some hard work from time to time. We’d want to check the body extras fit snugly, too. On the upside, the interior looks fabulous.
Seat Leon 2.0 TSI Cupra R 265, £9989: Time has been kind to the Cupra R, with criticisms of it not being as well resolved as a Golf GTI or as sharp as a Mégane giving way to praise for its performance and decent value. This private-sale 2010 car has 65,000 miles and a full Seat service history.
Volkswagen Golf R, £11,995: Four years younger and just £2000 more than the Seat… Perhaps we were a bit too kind on the Cupra, but then this Golf R has done 120,000 miles. On the other hand, Golfs can shrug off the miles with ease and this one has a full VW service history.