Not every hatchback’s innards are suited to the standard ‘hot’ makeover. Fortunately for the A 45, the A-Class – primed to overthrow the Audi A3 – had ‘sporty’ stamped firmly on it during gestation.

The belly-scrapping driving position, form-fitting seats and fist-filling steering wheel were all features of the more modest A 200 CDI. So AMG’s fettling feels like a progressive tweak rather than a frantic attempt to turn the interior dial to 11.

The Distronic Plus system is another cost option, which seems a little measly

Which isn’t to suggest that every new facet contributes equally to the A 45’s appeal. Too much carbonfibre-effect trim and ruby-ringed air vents leave the normally conservative dashboard looking apologetically red-faced but, where it counts – in where you sit and what you hold – it’s mostly spot on.

The most noticeable addition over the standard A-Class is also the most welcome: as with most other AMGs, the gear selector migrates from its naff steering column stalk to an embossed hunk of hardware located, more naturally, beneath the fall of your left hand.

Mercedes' ‘performance’ seats are slightly more contoured (and all the better for it) as well as being coated in grippy Dinamica microfibre, which ensured decent adhesion to road-tester-issue dark blue denim. As standard, the A 45 gets a flat-bottomed, three-spoke helm to hold, but the options list includes an AMG wheel, trimmed in Alcantara and garnished with chilled-to-the-touch metal paddle shifters.

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The A 45 gains all the standard equipment behest on the A-Class AMG 250, including a 8.0in infotainment display, Garmin sat nav, climate control, heated front seats and Mercedes' Parking Pilot system, along with an AMG bodykit - rear spoiler, diffusers and side skirts, sports seats, AMG-tuned suspension and various AMG interior and exterior details.

Although secondary – in our book – to its functional duties, the cabin is obliged to live up to this car’s mighty price and the buyer expectations that inevitably come with it. Subjectively, it does this about as well as could be expected from an architecture also made to work in an entry-level model that's considerably less expensive.

The usual tactile tricks (superior materials, atmospheric ambient lighting, shiny highlights and suggestive stitching) have been weaved into an already admirable level of build quality.

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