M orgens fog, so thick like cotton candy, damp asphalt - and, if you're lucky, a fast lap late afternoon: Nordschleife in autumn, that's a deep love-hate relationship. With the Mercedes-AMG A 45, today's Supertest test specimen also has to wait patiently in the pit lane.
A-Class: earlier Retired mobile, today a racer
Time to present the most powerful A-Class of all time in more detail. But wait, the keyword 'love-hate' has just been mentioned. Honesty lasts the longest: A-Class, so far that has been more hate than love for me. A-Class, for me that was the thought of the failed moose test, toilet roll and crocheted blanket on the hat shelf and 31 km /h drivers in speed 50 zones. The moving high seat of the first two A-Class series (W168, W169) was as sporty as Birkenstock sandals.
Almost forgotten when the third generation (W176) embarked on a completely renewed mission in 2012, to change that image. From now on 'A' should stand for 'attack', for 'different'. Away with the retiree-70-plus image, 'A' should be sexy and sporty from now on. But the sporty compact model A 250 Sport, which was first tested in sport auto 11/2012, made a flawless false start with flaming brake fading and deceleration values of 39.4 meters from 100 km /h. Folks, that underpinned the Birkenstock prejudices from my point of view, and from then on tester Gebhardt successfully avoided every conceivable meter of A-Class.
Maybe a little too hastily? In Affalterbach, the AMG team no longer only took on large-volume units, but also transplanted the 'world's most powerful four-cylinder engine in series production' into the A-Class. From 2013 the Mercedes A 45 AMG rocked with a 360 hp two-liter turbo and all-wheel drive. I didn't really trust the roast, and all the A-45 test cars that have been in the editorial office since then have passed me by.
Mercedes-AMG A 45 in the super test on the Nordschleife
Activate race mode, ESP off - the driving impressions are all the more unexpected when the Mercedes-AMG A 45 crashes on the first Nordschleife meters in the super test after the fog has finally cleared after several hours of waiting and the track has dried. Welcome to the facelift or the so-called Mopf (model upgrade) of the AMG compact sports car in Mercedes style. The Mercedes A 45 AMG becameMercedes-AMG A 45 - the modifications are more significant than the minor name change.
After the Power-A-Class had to hand over its title 'Most powerful series compact model' to the new Audi RS 3 Sportback (367 PS) at short notice , the Mercedes-AMG A 45 is already regaining the throne on paper.
Thanks to the newly tuned valve train, the liter output climbs from 181 hp to 191 hp, and the nominal output of the internal M 133 DE 20 AL-called four-cylinder turbo is now 381 hp. The maximum torque increases by 25 to 475 Newton meters. It all sounds moderate and initially feels a bit cautious in the lower rev range. There are others who push harder in these regions. But woe, it is first of all speed in the game and the Mercedes-AMG A 45 rushes against its speed limit at 6,700 rpm in the super test, and then thunders out the next gear frenetically through the optional AMG performance exhaust system. This A-class doesn't want to be A-class at all, wonderful!
Up to 200 km /h 7 tenths faster than its predecessor
Right now, when the A 45 rushes over the hilltop in front of the Schwedenkreuz at 243 km /h under full load, it becomes clear that it has also taken a step forward in terms of longitudinal dynamics. Its 360 hp predecessor was around 5 km /h slower here. The speed difference is even greater later on the Döttinger Höhe with 249 km /h (predecessor: 242 km /h). Number fans have long since compared the elasticity and acceleration values. The 'stuffed' A 45 zooms in four tenths of a second faster to 100 km /h in 4.2 seconds. Up to 200 km /h he has his honeycomb grill snout seven tenths of a second before his A-45-Supertest predecessor (see sport auto 3/2014) .
Not only the increase in performance is responsible for the improved sprinting and pulling power of the compact Power-Benz. The AMG developers translated the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission into gear positions three to seven shorter (ratio previously: III. Gear 2.67; IV. 1.05; V. 0.78; VI. 1.05, VII. 0.84 , current: III. 2.90; IV. 1.19, V. 0.87; VI. 1.16; VII. 0.94).
On the software side, the switching times and the launch control function have also been optimized. Regardless of whether in automatic or manual mode, on the race track the transmission shifts up quickly when the engine speed limit is reached. The times when AMG transmissions reacted to the manual upshift command of the paddle shift shortly before the limiter with a disgruntled second of reflection are finally history.
Just as the developers of the transmission software clocked the latest possible time for the upshift you should program in the other direction as well. That means:When downshifting while braking into a corner at the limit on the racetrack, the transmission should trigger the shift pulse a little earlier. At present, the transmission does not always adopt the gears when braking and simultaneously downshifting, and repeated pulling on the rocker switch is necessary as soon as the speed has dropped further during the braking process. Here, the component protection of the A-45 transmission should take an example from the programming of the transmission of the AMG GT sports car, which recognizes the dynamic downshifting process without any problems. In the GT, no supposed overturning is suspected and the switching process is then refused.
A 45 now with lock and semis
Peanuts that could be 'programmed away'. Please include in the next specification sheet. Let's not bother with the little things and prefer to enjoy how the Mercedes-AMG A 45 underpins its supremacy in the sporty compact class on the Nordschleife. Braking with pinpoint accuracy, steering precisely and accelerating out under load with full traction - the facelifted 'forty-five' shines with largely neutral and easily manageable handling at the limit.
It is immune to critical load change reactions. With slightly higher air pressure on the rear axle than at the front, the Mercedes-AMG A 45 can be persuaded in the test to make very slight rear swings that are productive in the course of the curve.
Among other things, the new, albeit, is for the sharpened lateral dynamics optional AMG Dynamic Plus package responsible. 2,618 euros extra, which is definitely worthwhile for 'Touri drivers at the Ring' or track day fans. In addition to the newly developed mechanical front axle limited-slip differential, the option package also includes the AMG Ride Control sports suspension. New: the two-stage adjustable adaptive damping. Either the system automatically adjusts the damping force depending on the driving situation or the driver can select a tighter set-up at the push of a button. The latter is recommended for the ring. Even with the harder damper setting, the A 45 does not jump, but rather springs well dampedover the bumps in the Nordschleife.
When the damper button is activated, the steering forces of the speed-sensitive sports steering are tightened with a constant ratio of 14.5: 1. The steering forces are pleasantly sporty and firm, but the feedback would like to be around the middle position can be a bit more robust - for example like in the AMG GT. Yes, I'm a fan of its rather sharp steering on the racetrack. Finally someone has proven something that I usually lacked at Mercedes: Courage!
5,831 euros surcharge for 19-inch forged wheels
Despite its not exactly ideal weight, oh, overweight, of 1,574 Kilos (VW Golf R: 1,483 kilos) and the, let's say friendly, 'suboptimal' weight distribution of top-heavy 62.1 to 37.9 percent balances the Mercedes-AMG A 45 in the test Body with astonishingly little body movements around the corner. The AMG chassis and tire developers have done a great job. However, the Mercedes sports department cannot be held responsible for the extra pounds, but rather the series development, which has already laid the foundation for the mediocre body mass index.
A drop in the ocean, but at least the current A-45 test subject weighs eleven kilos less than its 360 hp Supertest predecessor. Around ten kilos of the weight saving are due to the 19-inch forged wheels from the AMG Performance Studio customization department.
Please note: a whopping 5,831 euros surcharge is due for the neat wheel set. In this way, young AMG drivers can prepare themselves mentally for what awaits them in their further automotive career, provided they swear loyalty to the team from Affalterbach. But it's not that there isn't anything for it. After all, the matt black performance wheelset doesn't have any ordinary tires, but Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 slippers. The combination of grippy cup tires and a stable braking system with very good ABS tuning catapults the hot A-Class into another league:At 32.6 meters from 100 km /h, the Mercedes-AMG A 45 brakes better than the new Porsche 911 Carrera S and the Mercedes-AMG GT. Respect!
Thumbs up, Mercedes-AMG A 45 4Matic!
The high level of grip of the Michelin tires is a perfect match, especially in tight corners and subsequent uphill sections such as the Ex-Mühle section Chassis tuning and traction-enhancing all-wheel drive. While the Mercedes-AMG A 45 is being beaten around the corner, the question arises as to why there is actually no A-45 one-make cup within the VLN endurance championship on the Nordschleife. The question solidifies when the little Power-Benz krajohlt over the finish line on section T13.
The GPS measuring device reports 8.04 minutes. 'Net bad for the conditions today,' say the AMG drivers present. For all non-Swabians: 'Net bad' corresponds to cheering praise in the rest of Germany. And this A-Class, which rushed across the ring faster than the still current Porsche Cayman S, has truly earned it. Thumbs up, Mercedes-AMG A 45 4Matic!