The old A45 might've been overshadowed by the launch of its more playful successor, but that doesn’t mean there’s not a lot to love in Mercedes' original super-hatch. When it arrived back in 2013 with 360hp from a 2.0-litre four-banger, it didn’t just set a new benchmark for hatchbacks, it left the engines of supercars looking short on hp per litre. Its real world pace is arguably even greater, thanks to all-wheel drive and a quick-shifting seven-speed. The A45 has never been anything less than ballistic.
That’s also arguably been the A45’s biggest downfall, because in providing such unrelenting pace and composure, on the road at least, it has never been hugely involving. Its limits are so high and that engine is so punchy in its delivery right across the rev range that for someone wanting a car that dances along a route, it’s too straight-jacketed, too one-dimensional. Plenty have drawn comparison to the old Megane 275 Trophy-R, which, at a whisker over £36k at launch, was a only a little over a grand cheaper than AMG’s offering.
That’s not entirely fair, though, because while some enthusiasts may find Renault’s old masterpiece close to perfection, others aren’t wrong to like something that more effortlessly covers ground at even higher speed. Much like the R35 GT-R, those who’ve never driven an A45 will find more to dislike than those who’ve actually had a proper go in one. There’s a lotto be said for unrelenting straight-line speed and unflappable confidence. That it can wind back and be used like a regular A-Class – albeit one that’s pretty firm riding – makes AMG’s first go at a quick hatch all the more impressive.
The new car has, of course, impressed us even more with its ability to meld all of those traits into something even more loony and usable. Its engine has more character, the all-wheel drive is cleverer and the car rides much better. But the new A45 S costs £50k. For those on a tighter budget, examples of its predecessor now cost less than twenty grand. Like today’s Spotted, a 2014 car with an almost bang on average for its age 73,000 miles on the clock, on sale for £18,695. That’s half the price of the first-gen car’s original list figure, about as much real-world performance in a usable package as you can find for the money. Go on, try and beat it.
SPECIFICATION - MERCEDES-AMG A45
Engine: 1,991cc, 4-cyl turbo
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch auto, four-wheel drive
Power (hp): 360@6,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 332@2,500rpm
First registered: 2014
Recorded mileage: 73,000
Price new: £37,845 (2013)
Yours for: £18,695