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.
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.