Why drive when you can drift?
When Mercedes-Benz launched the A45 AMG back in 2013, it proved a game-changer for the segment, and ignited a feud with rival Audi that saw a horsepower race that no doubt excited petrol heads around the world.
But as the third-generation A-Class neared the end of its life cycle, it was Audi that powered ahead with their 294kw RS3, eclipsing the A45’s 280kw output. Granted the Audi did have a larger 2.5-litre turbocharged five-cylinder motor compared to the A45’s 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder, but something was needed to eclipse the mighty RS3. The boffins in Affalterbach went back to the drawing board and set about extracting more power from the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-potter.
Much like how BMW have an M2 and a hard core M2 Competition, Mercedes-AMG brand their high-output variants with an ‘S’. And now, for the first time ever, the AMG A45 will be available in two flavours – the A45 and the A45 S. And fortunately for us, the power outputs for both have been leaked! The A45 will produce 285kw and the flagship A45 S will make 310kw – eclipsing both the RS3 and the M2 Competition!
According to AMG boss Tobias Moers, the new A45 also bins the AMG Speedshift DCT 7-speed sports transmission that did duty in the W176 in favour of a new 8-speed dual-clutch transmission. This further differentiates the A45 from the A35 – an uprated engine, a different transmissions, and most importantly a very special 4MATIC all-wheel drive system.
Apart from chassis updates over the A35, it gets a very sophisticated all-wheel drive system that – as you can see from this video – can drift. Rather than a single differential routing power to the rear, there is a separate clutch for each wheel at the rear. This layout allows for quick reacting torque vectoring that can send up to 100 percent of the power to a single corner. Sensors monitor traction, throttle position, yaw angle, and steering angle to determine how to proportion the torque.
“The chassis compared to (W176) is unbelievable. We have various suspension in the car, and it’s an improvement in every perspective. There’s more comfort, more rigidity in every way, so we put a lot of effort into the body in white. There’s lots of reinforcement and it fits perfectly”, Tobias Moers added.
The Mercedes-AMG A45 and A45 S are expected to be revealed in the coming months, and should be in European showrooms before the end of the year. Mercedes-Benz South Africa are yet to confirm a local launch but insiders suggest it will happen early in 2020.