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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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