Mark Jones
Road Test Editor
4 minute read
21 Nov 2014
3:00 pm

AMG compact-performance-car day

Mark Jones

Mercedes-Benz SA decided it would be a great idea to head off to the Red Star Raceway just outside Delmas and let us motoring journalists have some fun with their 45 range of compact performance cars and the tight and tricky 4km circuit.

And I don’t have to tell you that any day on a track is better than a day stuck behind a desk in an office. And when the toys at your disposal are the A 45 AMG, the CLA 45 AMG and the GLA 45 AMG, you know you are going to have fun with a capital F.

The day was divided into some laps around the track and then on the brand new skidpan built at this top-notch facility. I got to hit the track first, and it was a fast-drying track I may add. In a one lap shoot-out I managed a 1:20.24 in a GLA 45 AMG with a top speed of 186.3 km/h and a maximum corner G force of 1.15Gs, which put me right near the top of the time sheets.


These three different cars cater to slightly different people, as one is a hatch, the other a compact sedan and the last a compact SUV, but they all ultimately cater to the performance enthusiast who wants his or her motoring a little on the wild side.

But that is enough from me; this is about what Mercedes-Benz wants you to know about their compact performance cars.

The A 45 AMG and the CLA 45 AMG were the first two to hit our shores and they saw Mercedes AMG embarking on a new era. For the first time in the company’s more than 47-year history, Mercedes’ performance brand offered two high-performance cars powered by a four-cylinder engine.

Mercedes-Benz GLA 45 AMG (X 156) 2013

Both these models, and the recently launched GLA 45 AMG provide an exciting introduction to the world of AMG. With an output of 265kW and a peak torque of 450Nm, the AMG 2.0 litre turbo engine is the world’s most powerful four-cylinder engine in series production. It is also exceptionally efficient and meets stringent emission standards. NEDC claimed combined fuel consumption of 6.9 litres per 100 kilometres puts the A 45 AMG and CLA 45 AMG at the top of their segments.


The AMG Speedshift DCT seven-speed sports transmission in this trio of AMGs offer three distinct transmission modes, a double-declutching function dependent on transmission mode and Race Start for optimum acceleration.

Putting this power down on to the tar is courtesy of a variable, performance-oriented AMG 4Matic all-wheel drive system as standard. Power distribution is fully variable: in normal driving, the 45 AMGs use front-wheel drive in the interests of optimum efficiency. When the driving dynamics so require, the variable AMG 4Matic all-wheel drive splits the torque between front and rear axle up to a ratio of 50:50.

A 45 AMG

Like every AMG high-performance car, the 45 AMGs incorporate sophisticated axle technology. For enhanced dynamic handling, the McPherson front axle is fitted with stiffer steering knuckles and new elastokinematics. The four-link rear axle is also a completely new development.

The AMG sports suspension with specifically tuned spring/damper units and larger anti-roll bars provides for high lateral acceleration and a reduced rolling tendency in fast bends, as was aptly demonstrated at Red Star Race Way.

Mercedes-Benz GLA 45 AMG (X 156) 2013

Both models come as standard with AMG twin-spoke alloy wheels painted titanium grey with a high-sheen finish, fitted with 235/40 R 18 tyres. The AMG speed-sensitive sports steering with AMG-specific speed-sensitive power assist enables high steering precision and agility. The AMG high-performance braking system with vented and cross-drilled brake discs all round provides for spontaneous and reliable deceleration.

Mercedes-Benz GLA 45 AMG (X 156) 2013

Inside, too, these very special cars boast hallmark Mercedes-AMG dynamic spirit and exclusivity. High-quality touches include the sports seats in Artico man-made leather/Dinamica microfibre with red contrasting topstitching and red seat belts; the multifunction sports steering wheel has shift paddles and the AMG Drive Unit has an E-Select lever.

A 45 AMG

The central colour display incorporates the AMG main menu, including Racetimer. On opening the door, the driver is greeted by the AMG start-up screen. Numerous individualisation options are available for all three of these models, like “Edition 1” treatment that includes the AMG Night package with chromed tailpipe trim elements, AMG Aerodynamics package, 20-inch AMG 10-spoke light-alloy wheels painted in matt black and with red-painted rim flange, red highlights for AMG radiator grille and exterior mirrors as well as rear apron trim and red-painted brake callipers.


Interior elements of the “Edition 1” include the likes of AMG Performance seats, upholstery in Artico man-made leather/Dinamica microfibre in black in combination with the dashboard in Artico man-made leather and red contrasting topstitching. The AMG performance steering wheel is in black nappa leather/Alcantara with AMG aluminium shift paddles, contrasting red topstitching and an E-Select lever with an embossed AMG emblem and a master key with an AMG emblem, to name some of the options.

Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG

The A 45 AMG, CLA 45 AMG and GLA 45 AMG come standard with the class-leading PremiumDrive six-year/100 000 km maintenance plan with prices starting at:

  • A 45 AMG – R629 900
  • CLA 45 AMG – R708 600
  • GLA 45 AMG – R 755 000G
  • LA 45 AMG ‘Edition 1’ – R 830 000