Compact firepower: Mercedes-Benz's AMG A-Class range

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I recall the launch of the third generation A-Class in 2013. The South African CEO at the time stood on the stage, microphone perfectly tuned; beginning his speech with the statement, “A is for ATTACK!”

The previous generation A-Class was a design revolution that paved the way for the A-Class brand towards a younger audience. It did that.

The new fourth generation is a vast improvement over its predecessor. This can be said for all aspects of the vehicle. The range has also expanded its offering and now includes a sedan and two engine variations within the range-topping AMG model segment. These include the AMG 35 and 45 S models: Both feature 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engines, albeit the 45 S has had particular attention for sporting prowess. The 35 (225 kW/400 Nm) is mated to an AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7G dual-clutch transmission, while the 45 S models (310 Kw/500 Nm) features AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 8G dual-clutch transmission. Both are absolutely terrific – firecracker quick and beautifully suited both engines. I would say the 7-speed, in the 35, is little more relaxed and nicer to live with day to day.

At the heart of the 45 S models is the world’s most powerful turbocharged 4-cylinder engine manufactured for series production. This results in a 0-100km/h sprint time of just 3.9 seconds for the A45 S 4MATIC+ Hatch and 4.0 seconds for the CLA 45 S 4MATIC+. Not to be underestimated, the 35 models  – with a 0-100km/h sprint time of just 4.7 seconds for the hatch, 4.8 seconds for the sedan, and 4.9 seconds for the CLA 35.

It is all about performance if the AMG badge is worn. Luckily, all models feature the fabulously reassuring 4MATIC all-wheel drive system. This allows for prodigious grip levels that bolster confidence when driving enthusiastically, especially in the rain. All other driving components like the suspension, brakes, gearbox, and exhaust have all been given the AMG overhaul. So, performance enhancements are plentiful. The 45 S models have been given even stricter measures of racing pedigree, as it is the flagship model with within the A-Class range.

The athletic mood of the vehicles is brought into the cabin with modern cabin and AMG bespoke features like cossetted sports seats, unique digital display, and steering wheel. The customer can choose between three AMG display styles for the optional fully digital instrument cluster. The Supersport mode is particularly striking with a central, round rev counter and additional information presented in the form of bars to the left and right of the rev counter. With a three-dimensional perspective, they reach far into the background to an artificial horizon.

The new generation of AMG steering wheels continues to provide the perfect link between the driver and the vehicle. The built-in Touch Control buttons are a new feature and can be used to intuitively select the displays of the instrument cluster and the multimedia system by means of horizontal and vertical swiping and to position them according to individual preferences.

“South Africans love the AMG brand: in fact, it’s the third biggest market in the world. With the presentation of this, our most powerful and most dynamic compact sports car, we are also reinforcing the significance of this segment for our growth strategy,” said Selvin Govender, Marketing Director for Mercedes-Benz Cars South Africa.

I have no doubt that the A-Class AMG range will be a success. It is a superb option in the enthusiast corner that is equal and, in some respects, better that some rivals.  


The competition

Audi’s S and RS3, S5/S5 Sportback, BMW’s M135i, M235i Gran Coupè, M2, 440i, M4, Golf R and Subaru WRX/ WRX STI.


The Pricing

Mercedes-AMG A 35 4MATIC Hatch R850 00

Mercedes-AMG A 35 4MATIC Sedan R858 520

Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 4MATIC R956 640


Mercedes-AMG A 45 S 4MATIC+ R1 113 840

Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 S 4MATIC+ R1 223 480


Service and warranty  

The Mercedes-AMG range is sold with a 5 year/100 000km maintenance plan and service plan with the option to extend the plan.


My Choice

Mercedes-AMG A 35 4MATIC Sedan R858 520



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