What is it?
A facelifted version of the two-year-old Mercedes-Benz A 45 AMG 4Matic.
The rapid five-door hatchback receives some mild exterior styling changes for enhanced aerodynamic efficiency, a lightly reworked interior with higher-quality materials, a more powerful engine, a revised chassis featuring adaptive damping and, in line with the German car maker’s latest naming strategy, a lightly altered name: Mercedes-AMG A 45 4Matic.
The styling changes to the most affordable AMG model are predictably subtle. There’s a reshaped front bumper with larger cooling ducts, a lightly reshaped spoiler atop the tailgate and a reprofiled rear bumper with better integrated trapezoidal-shaped chromed tailpipes. Buyers can also choose an optional AMG aerodynamic package, which adds small winglets and a more prominent splitter element to the front bumper as well as a prominent wing and revised diffuser at the rear.
Inside, there is a newly designed tubular-shaped instrument binnacle, a revised steering wheel, front seats offering greater cushion adjustment and new trims and colour combinations. There’s also an optional 8.0in free-standing monitor, which is compatible with Apple Carplay, Android Auto and Mirrorlink, allowing integration with a wide range of smartphones.
Under the bonnet, the A 45 gets a lightly fettled version of the existing turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, featuring mild changes to the induction, combustion and exhaust processes. Power climbs by 21bhp and torque is up by 18lb ft, raising the reserves of the transversely mounted unit to a heady 376bhp at 6000rpm and 350lb ft at 2250rpm.
The flagship of the facelifted A-class line-up also gains a revised seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox with shorter third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh gear ratios, along with revised software aimed at shortening shift times.
As before, drive is sent through an electro-hydraulically operated multi-plate clutch four-wheel drive system, which when combined with an optional Dynamic Plus package, includes a mechanical locking differential in place of the electronic locking differential mechanism that continues to come as standard.
Together with the mild changes brought to its driveline, the 2016 model year A 45 also features an optional adaptive damping system in a bid to improve the outgoing model’s ride quality. The new arrangement forms part of a so-called Dynamic Select system that also allows the driver to alter the responsiveness of the steering, gearbox and steering.