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In conjunction with the launch of its facelifted W176 A-Class, Mercedes-Benz Malaysia also took the opportunity to unleash its most hardcore version of the model here, the Mercedes-AMG A 45. The significantly updated baby AMG is priced at RM 348,888 (OTR without insurance).

At just RM1,000 more than the original model, the facelifted A 45 has been injected with more power, protecting the M133 turbo engine’s reputation of being the most powerful 2.0 litre four-cylinder engine in mass production. The turbocharged unit gets a 21 hp/25 Nm bump, resulting in a total 381 hp at 6,000 rpm and 475 Nm between 2,250 to 5,000 rpm.

As such, the new baby AMG is 0.4 seconds quicker at performing the century sprint than the outgoing one – 4.2 seconds is all it takes to go from zero to 100 km/h, with its top speed limited to 250 km/h. The AMG Speedshift DCT seven-speed dual-clutch transmission has also been updated with shorter, more aggressive gear ratios. Even activating the Race Start (launch control) function is now simpler than before. The 4Matic all-wheel drive system has been retained.

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Also new to Affalterbach’s hot hatch is an AMG Ride Control Sports suspension with adaptive damping. The system is included as standard only in the A 45 here, and features two-stage damping – Comfort and Dynamic. A revised two-stage speed-sensitive steering is also added, and is part of the AMG Ride Control package. As you’ll read in our review of the A 45, the new steering considerably improves its driving.

The AMG Performance Exhaust system is also standard fare for the hot hatch, featuring variable exhaust flaps that manipulate the exhaust note according to your preferred driving mode. Both the AMG Ride Control and Performance Exhaust, as well as transmission, throttle and steering characteristics can be managed by the Dynamic Select knob (replaces the E-S-M button) on the centre console – Comfort, Sport, Sport+, Race and Individual modes are available in the A 45.

Outside, the new car gets full AMG styling, adding on AMG-specific front and rear bumpers, 19-inch multi-spoke AMG alloy wheels and red-painted brake calipers. There’s also the addition of an AMG Aerodynamics package, which adds front and rear flics as well as a rear spoiler finished in high-gloss black. The front also features the signature dual-bar AMG grille with a central Three-Pointed Star.

A standard-included Night Package adds further high-gloss black items in the form of wing mirror covers and belt line trim, while LED High Performance headlamps up front and LED tail lights are also included — both fashioned according to the model update’s new design and graphics.

The A 45’s AMG appointments continue inside the car, most notably with AMG Performance Seats in leather upholstery, designo red seat belts, AMG floor mats and carbon-fibre trim with red detailing on the leather-wrapped dashboard.

As updated on the regular A-Class facelift, the A 45 also gets a new three-spoke, flat-bottomed multi-function AMG-specific steering wheel with Alcantara grips. There’s an eight-inch free-standing media display screen, equipped with COMAND Online infotainment with a DVD changer. The screen also displays views for the reverse camera.

For safety, the A 45 continues to offer a total of eight airbags and Attention Assist as standard. Just like the brand’s remaining compact models, Collision Prevention Assist Plus is now featured, with the forward collision warning system with braking assistance now updated with autonomous partial braking to reduce the risk of rear-end collisions.

Active Parking Assist is also available as standard. No spare tyres are included here, with a TIREFIT tyre repair kit available under the cargo floor. Also, if you were hoping that the new A 45 would include keyless entry or at least an engine push-start button, sorry to disappoint you, but no such features are available here.

To recap, the Mercedes-AMG A 45 is priced at RM 348,888 (OTR without insurance), inclusive of Mercedes-Benz Malaysia’s four years, unlimited mileage warranty. Available body colours include Cosmos Black, Polar Silver, Cirrus White, Mountain Grey, Jupiter Red. You can also read about the rest of the new A-Class models here. Also, visit Carbase.my for full specifications of the new AMG A 45.