Mercedes AMG A45 Review & Prices
The Mercedes AMG A45 S has a stonking 421hp engine and a drift mode that’ll put a smile on your face. Interior quality is hit and miss, though, and it’s not massively practical
Find out more about the Mercedes AMG A45
It's easy to forget just how wild the current crop of mega-hot hatches are. The Mercedes AMG A45 S has 421hp. Of course it has. We’re used to this by now. But let’s not forget, a decade ago that would have been enough to keep sports car owners happy. It’s about the same power as the Audi R8 had at launch in 2007. This is a five-door family hatchback.
Like those other models, the A45 is based on a more family friendly, economy-focused car. It’s the most powerful, most expensive version of the A-Class. It’s a bit like taking some plain oven chips and covering them in chilli flakes for an extra angry kick of flavour.
The A-Class was given an update in 2023 and this extended to the A45, which received some new, slimmer headlights, new infotainment software and some extra trim and colour choices.
Despite these updates, we still don’t get the standard A45 in the UK, just the full-fat S model. That’s no bad thing, though, because the S has 35hp more and is the most exciting model. As such, you get suitably sporty styling upgrades such as the flared air intakes in the front bumper and vertical-stripe grille that mimics the AMG GT supercar.
Drag race: Audi RS3 v BMW M2 v Mercedes AMG A45 v Porsche Boxster GTS
At the sides, you’ll find chunky sills and 19-inch alloy wheels, while around the back is a roof spoiler, a similarly striking rear bumper and quad exhausts. But – confession time – those exhausts are actually fake, and so are the rear air vents. Grrr.
Still, the A45’s interior design is gorgeously classy. Its infotainment system comes with an equally easy-on-the-eye Times Square-billboard of information behind the steering wheel. This consists of two screens, one for the driver’s digital dials with bespoke AMG design and one for the sat nav and media info that can be operated by touch.
Gone for 2023 is the central touchpad that made the infotainment easier to use on the move; now you have to rely on the touchscreen (which is, fortunately, quick and responsive to your touch) or voice recognition. Happily, DAB radio, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto all come as standard, too.
Unfortunately, although the design is cool and there’s great technology, it can feel a bit superficial, because when you start pulling and prodding things, it doesn’t feel as sturdy as you might expect from a Mercedes, and there are some cheap materials to be found.
Interior space is something of a mixed bag, too. There’s a good amount of room for a couple of adults in the front, but while the seats are supportive when you’re cornering hard, they're rock solid and can give you a numb bottom on longer trips.
The Mercedes AMG A45 S is essentially a compact supercar with ballistic straight-line speed
In the back, there’s decent space for a further couple of adults, although you’ll struggle to fit three across its back seats in comfort. The boot’s not massive, but it is a bit bigger than the Audi RS3. It's a bit smaller than the BMW M2 but easier to access.
The engine producing all that power is a snarling turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol, while all A45s get a snappy dual-clutch eight-speed automatic gearbox and a super-grippy all-wheel drive system as standard. Together with its communicative steering, the A45 is superb at clinging on around corners like a dog to its favourite bit of rope, although if you do want it to be more playful, its standard-fit Drift Mode and rear sport differential will ensure things get tail-happy.
The only negative is that alternatives like the rear-drive BMW M2 don’t need a Drift Mode to feel more playful more of the time, and the A45 S doesn’t sound quite as raucous as AMG A45 models of old. Blame emissions regulations for that.
Still, that slightly muted noise is relative, as the Mercedes AMG A45 S still sounds like a swarm of angry bees and is an absolute riot to drive. It’s hugely fast cross-country and has a cool-looking interior with a great infotainment system.
However, it isn’t cheap, so check out our Mercedes AMG A45 deals pages to see how much you can save, or browse used examples from our network of trusted dealers. Why not check out other used Mercedes models while you're at it, and if you need to sell your current car, carwow can help with that, too.
The Mercedes AMG A45 has a RRP range of £63,285 to £63,285. Prices start at £63,285 if paying cash. The price of a used Mercedes AMG A45 on carwow starts at £33,990.
Our most popular versions of the Mercedes AMG A45 are:
|Model version||carwow price from|
|A45 S 4Matic+ Plus 5dr Auto||£63,285||Compare offers|
We’ve mentioned that the Mercedes AMG A45 S isn’t cheap. It’s a small hatchback with a massive engine and clever all-wheel drive system that starts at just over £50,000. And if you go for the higher-spec model it will be approaching £60,000 with a few options.
However, that makes it a bit more affordable than the Audi RS3, which starts at about £4,000 more than the Mercedes. And the new BMW M2 is even pricier, costing around £65,000. It still feels like a lot of money for a hatchback.
Anyway, you don’t even really need to go for the higher-spec Plus models. As standard, the A45 gets all of the mechanical, aesthetic and performance upgrades noted above, as well as some choice kit that includes augmented reality sat nav and a trick parking assistant.
If you want to go all in for the Plus, though, it will cost £6,000 extra. For this, you get some extra sporty styling bits, adaptive suspension, a panoramic roof, gorgeous Burmester sound system and a different 19-inch alloy wheel design.
The A45 S offers ballistic straight line performance, but it’s quite noisy for long journeys and isn’t as fun in corners as its alternatives
One of the key attributes of a hot hatch is its ability to do all the boring stuff too. It’s meant to be a car that’s just as capable of taking you round the local ring road as it is tearing up the Nurburgring.
Fortunately, when it comes to town driving, the Mercedes AMG A45 S is generally a comfortable companion. Its sporty suspension doesn’t jostle and jiggle the car along rough roads at low speeds, so you won’t be reluctant to use it for day to day tasks.
Sharp edges such as potholes can crash their way through the cabin, but it’s a less common occurrence than in other performance cars. The only minor annoyance is that there can be a lot of tyre roar on coarse road surfaces.
The controls are light enough in the car’s comfort mode that tight manoeuvres aren’t too laborious. Visibility is generally pretty good, too, with the only exception being the rear quarter blind spot, though this tends to be more of an issue when changing lanes on the motorway.
On the motorway
It’s not just lane changes that make motorway driving the A45’s weakest point, though. It’s not that you want to avoid higher speed roads altogether, but there’s quite a bit of tyre noise with a hint of wind thrown in for good measure.
It’s pretty comfortable over bumps, but the seats are really not friendly to your backside. After a couple of hours behind the wheel you’ll be dreaming of an S-Class with massaging seats to get home in.
Unsurprisingly, getting up to speed is the least of your worries. Put your foot down on a slip road and you’ll hit the speed limit in the blink of an eye. It also means that overtakes require little fuss, though the gearbox can be a little lazy to downshift when you accelerate in comfort mode.
On a twisty road
Any complaints about tyre roar or numb bums go out the window when you find yourself on a twisty road. This is where the AMG A45 S feels most at home. That engine is a joy, and you can put it into its sportiest setting to really make the most of the performance on offer.
From a standstill, engaging launch control is easy. You just need to put your foot on the brake, then on the throttle, then lift off the brake. It will catapult you forward at a breakneck pace. It’s an exhilarating feeling and one best experienced somewhere where you won’t have to lift off a few seconds later because of some pesky speed limit.
It’s incredibly capable in the bends, where the grippy tyres and communicative steering give you confidence to chuck the car into the corner. The engine’s grunt and clever all-wheel drive system mean you can launch out of a corner with enthusiasm, too.
It’s fun in the way that its abilities are very impressive. However, it feels a touch happier being used as a straight line missile. The Audi RS3 and BMW M2 are a bit more fun in the bends, though if you’re less concerned with outright power and badge appeal, the Honda Civic Type R will give you more smiles per mile than most.
Passengers have a decent amount of space wherever they sit, but the front seats are uncomfortable and the boot is merely average
The driving position is good, with the seats having a lot of adjustability for those who like to sit low or high, while the steering wheel can move up and down as well as in and out. The seats themselves are figure-hugging and look suitably racey, but the cushions are about as comfortable as placing leather over an IKEA wardrobe.
Practicality is hit and miss up front. The door bins are a fairly good size for a small car, but they won’t take a big water bottle, and it’s a similar story for the cup holders. There’s a useful phone charging pad ahead of the centre console, but it’s lightly sloped towards the back of the car, so your phone sometimes takes involuntary flying lessons under hard acceleration.
Space in the back seats
Back seat space is pretty good, with enough kneeroom for a six-foot-tall passenger to sit behind the driving position of someone of the same height. Headroom isn’t quite so good but still adequate, and fitting three across the back is a squeeze. The less powerful (though less expensive) Volkswagen Golf R would be a better bet if you regularly carry people in the back seats.
The door bins are tiny back here, though, so rear passengers will have to hold onto chunky water bottles or store them up front. There’s also just the one USB-C slot in the back, which could cause an argument if the kids’ tablets are running low.
Fitting a child seat isn’t too much of a bother because the ISOFIX points are exposed, but the back doors don’t open particularly wide, which makes it a bit trickier.
However, the A45 S actually fares a bit better, because the Golf R and RS3 lose a chunk of their regular sibling’s space to make way for the go-faster mechanical bits. As a result, the Mercedes’ 350 litres is actually bigger than the 341 litres you get in the Volkswagen and 282 litres you get in the Audi. It’s still not hugely practical, though – a big weekly shop would be a bit of a squeeze – and the A45 lags behind the BMW M2’s 390 litres for capacity. That said, the Mercedes’ hatchback boot opening does make it easier to access than its coupe alternative.
Need more space? It’s easy to fold the rear seats down using a latch beside the headrests; because the boot is quite shallow so you don’t have to reach in far. Do this, and you’ll have 1,190 litres of space, which is a bit more than the RS3.
As for boot practicality extras, well, there isn’t much. You get a couple of hooks on each side to hold your shopping bags, and there’s a bit of space under the boot floor for some tools and other small items. There’s also quite a bit of a lip at the boot edge, which can make it trickier to get heavy items in and out.
The interior looks cool and there are some suitably sporty AMG upgrades, but cheaper materials are never far away
The Mercedes A-Class has one of the coolest interior designs of any small family car. We’re big fans of the high-tech twin 10.25-inch-screen infotainment and digital dial display setup, and you get some AMG upgrades with the A45 that make it feel sportier and more upmarket. Highlights include a new steering wheel and the figure-hugging seats.
Ignoring the fact there are dining tables that are comfier than those seats, the A45 is let down inside by the same complaints we have with the regular A-Class. Namely the cheap materials that are hidden just out of sight and the fact that things feel like they might break off if you pull too hard. You just expect a teensy bit more poshness and sturdiness at the price.
There can be no complaints with the infotainment system, though. Well, maybe one: the fact that Mercedes has ditched the touchpad in the centre console, which made navigating menus on the move easier. But the touchscreen is responsive and easy to navigate, while the ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice recognition system is one of the best in the business. The AMG-specific menus and dials are a great touch, too, with one of the most impressive being AMG Track Pace, which can help you improve your lap times on circuit.
Under the Mercedes AMG A45 S’s bonnet sits a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine that makes 421hp and 500Nm of torque. That’s a bit less powerful than the BMW M2 and a bit more powerful than the Audi RS3.
You get an eight-speed automatic gearbox, while all-wheel drive grip helps with a 3.9-second 0-62mph time. The top speed is 168mph.
If good fuel economy is high up your shopping list, the A45 S might not be the A-Class for you. Official figures suggest you can get up to 34mpg, but we saw 26mpg with a mix of town, motorway and something we’ll simply refer to as 'enthusiastic driving'. While shooting the drag race video you can see at the top of this review, repeated hard launches saw economy drop to just 8mpg, so you might want to top the tank up before a track day…
Emissions of 192g/km mean that not only will you be spending lots at the pumps, you’ll also have a high price to pay for your first year of road tax, which is currently more than £1,500. On top of that, the A45 S costs more than £40,000, so you will have to pay extra on top of the regular road tax in years two to six.
If you’re considering a Mercedes AMG A45 S as a company car, first of all, we salute you. However, it will cost a pretty penny thanks to its 37% benefit-in-kind rate.
Although the A45 S specifically hasn’t been tested by safety experts Euro NCAP, the regular A-Class has – and it scored the full five stars. It scored well across the board, with 96% for adult occupant safety, 91% for child occupants, and 92% for vulnerable road users. Its only weaker score was 75% for its safety assist systems.
As it sits at the top of the range, the A45 S gets some safety tech not found in less expensive A-Classes. As standard, you get active braking assist, which warns you if a collision is imminent and amplifies the pressure if you apply the brakes, and lane keep assist, which helps you avoid drifting out of your lane. Top-spec Plus models add a traffic sign reader and a blind spot warning system.
The Mercedes A-Class isn’t the most reliable small family car you can buy. Reliability reports aren’t terrible, but it’s not top of the class, either. The plus side to going for the AMG model is that the engines have had more love and attention during the building phase, which should reduce the chances of things going wrong. It’s worth noting that as a premium brand and a high performance car, parts and repairs will be more expensive than a normal model.
All Mercedes cars come with a three-year, unlimited mileage warranty. That’s the same as you get in the BMW M2, while the Audi RS3 is covered for the same time period, but with a cap of 60,000 miles in the third year. Mercedes also offers extended warranties for an extra cost.