Mercedes-Benz A-Klasse (W 176) 2015Mercedes-Benz A-Class (W 176) 2015

The Mercedes-AMG A 45 facelift has also been introduced, alongside the updated W176 A-Class range. Already one of our firm favourites of recent times, the full AMG-flavoured A 45 uber-hatch now gets new looks and even more performance.

Let’s start with the exterior first. The reshaped front bumper now adopts the latest “A-wing” design featured on AMG’s latest C 63, E 63 and CLS 63 models, while the headlights are now LED High Performance items, upgraded from the outgoing model’s bi-xenons. A new set of multi-spoke wheels are features too.

Round the back, a new rear diffuser with four vertical fins and a striking lower spoiler takes charge, along with the revised taillights shared with the A-Class facelift range. AMG says these aerodynamic changes significantly improve the car’s aero balance, with a positive effect on handling.

Inside, the Mercedes-AMG A 45 (yes, AMG in place of Benz now) gets a new sports steering wheel. It benefits from the rest of the range-wide updates too, including a bigger centre screen (supports Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink from 2016) and re-profiled centre buttons.

It’s changes under the sheet metal that gets our blood running faster. The same 2.0 litre direct injection turbo engine gets massaged to offer 381 hp at 6,000 rpm and 475 Nm of torque at 2,250 to 5,000 rpm – 21 hp and 25 Nm up from the existing model. Zero to hundred now takes just 4.2 seconds, 0.4 seconds quicker than before. Top speed and fuel consumption ratings stay as before: 250 km/h and 6.9 litres per 100 km.

The AMG Speedshift DCT seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission gains shorter ratios in the third to seventh gear, to offer “even more dynamic acceleration in all speed ranges.” This is paired to quicker response and shift times to ensure better transitions when upshifting.

A 45 AMG (AMG Exklusiv), Jupiterrot; Interieur Schwarz / RED CUT A 45 AMG (AMG Exclusive), jupiter red, interior black RED CUT

A 45 AMG (AMG Exklusiv), Jupiterrot; Interieur Schwarz / RED CUT
A 45 AMG (AMG Exclusive), jupiter red, interior black RED CUT

Now standard is the AMG Dynamic Select driving modes, which is modelled after those on the AMG GT and C 63 AMG. Comfort, Sport, Sport + and Individual modes are offered to pre-set the handling characteristics of the A 45. The Comfort mode now includes a “sailing” function for cruising, while Sport + adds a “double-declutching” effect on downshifts.

New to the fore is the optional AMG Dynamic Plus package, which sharpens up the vehicle even further. The biggest addition is the inclusion of a mechanical front axle locking differential, which AMG claims significantly improves traction when driven hard. AMG Ride Control sport suspension is thrown in too, now featuring a two-stage adaptive damping adjustment.

The AMG Dynamic Plus pack also a fifth driving mode – Race. Ideal for track-use, this mode sharpens the response characteristics of the engine and transmission even further, while the standard three-stage ESP system switches to a “Sport Handling Mode” that allows wider drift angles.

Now doesn’t all that spell out wow for you?