At long last, the Mercedes-AMG A 45 S 4MATIC+ has landed on Malaysian shores. Coming in at RM459,888, does it pack enough to have eager Malaysians shelling out their hard-earned money?

To see what’s new and upgraded in the shiny (and bright!) new car, we pit the latest German pocket rocket against its popular predecessor in a direct comparison, from head to toe.

W177 Mercedes-AMG A 45 S 4MATIC+ vs W176 AMG A 45 4MATIC, performance comparison

POWERTRAIN

Under the hood of the all-new A 45 S is the new M139 two-litre four-cylinder twin-scroll turbocharged engine, pushing out 421 hp and 500 Nm of torque – an increase of 40 hp and 25 Nm from its predecessor. It’s also now paired to an eight-speed AMG Speedshift dual-clutch transmission, compared to the seven-speeder in the previous generation.

As a result, the new model benefits from a pretty significant performance improvement over its predecessor, shaving off 0.3 seconds in the century sprint times, while also gaining an additional 20 km/h at full whack. With the new six-pot brakes in front (as opposed to four from the outgoing model), the new A 45 S should stop quite a bit better too.

Mercedes-AMG A 45 S 4MATIC+ engine

However, the biggest change in the powertrain department would be the new 4MATIC+ fully-variable all-wheel drive system on the new A 45 S. Using two electronically controlled multidisc clutches – one between the two axles, and another between the two rear wheels – the new A 45 S can not only control the amount of torque split between front and rear wheels, but also between the rear-left and rear-right wheels, giving you optimum traction to slingshot you out of the corner.

With the new all-wheel drive system and the AMG Dynamic Plus package which comes as standard on the S model, the marque’s latest hot hatch also gets a shiny-new Drift mode, allowing experienced drivers to carry out controlled powerslides with ease. Any true AMG car must be able to go sideways, right?

Mercedes-AMG A 45 S 4MATIC+

EXTERIOR

At launch, our local-specification AMG A 45 S comes exclusively in the Edition 1 trim, just like when its predecessor was first introduced here – later updates removed the nameplate (and decal stickers), though the trim kits still remain.

As before, the Edition 1 comes standard with the Aerodynamic Package (additional aerodynamic fins and splitter on the front apron, rear spoiler, and enhanced rear diffuser) as well as the Night Package (blacked-out exterior accents such as window linings and wing mirror housings).

The twin-louvre front grille has been replaced with a new AMG-specific Panamericana grille, making it look more coherent with its bigger cousins such as the Mercedes-AMG C63 S we recently reviewed.

The new AMG A 45 S is shod in 19-inch alloys just like the outgoing model, though gone is the multi-spoke design, replaced by five twin-spokes. The new design barely obscures the large six-pot brake callipers up front, finished in a coat of red paint.

Over at the rear, the controversial rhombus-shaped fake tailpipes trims have been replaced by larger twin-oval-shaped ones – though they’re still just tailpipe finishers when inspected closely.

As for colour, the new A 45 S Edition 1 is offered in either Sun Yellow (as pictured here) or Designo Mountain Grey Magno. Depending on the colour chosen, the other will act as a secondary hue on the contrasting decal graphics plastered on the doors.

Mercedes-AMG A 45 S 4MATIC+ interior

INTERIOR

The interior of the latest-generation A 45 S is a huge step-up from its predecessor, not just in features, but also in build quality and material choices – though this isn’t too surprising given that the interior is pretty standard A-Class affair.

The old COMAND Online system on the outgoing model is replaced by the marque’s new Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system on the twin 10.25-inch displays, with a few additional AMG-specific touches such as the three selectable AMG displays on the instrument cluster screen.

The new A 45 S also packs the Track Pace feature, reserved only for the true full-blown AMG models – sorry AMG Line owners. The feature uses GPS data, along with various in-car parameters to help you improve your performance on track.

Several famous international circuits have already been pre-programmed into the car, where you will be able to use the MBUX Augmented Reality feature to overlay optimum driving line onto the circuit. Sadly, the Sepang International Circuit is not included by default, though you can always record it yourself into the system.

Mercedes-AMG A 45 S 4MATIC+  illuminated door sill panel

The new AMG Performance steering wheel on the 2020 AMG A 45 S is now finished in Dinamica fibre, and even comes with the steering wheel controls that’s plucked straight from Affalterbach’s bests. Additionally, the new model also gets a new configurable head-up display to keep your vision on the road during spirited driving.

The large panoramic sunroof is also a new addition on the latest-generation hot hatch, along with the LTE connectivity module to enable the Mercedes me service for remote access via a smartphone application.

Mercedes-AMG A 45 S 4MATIC+ side view

SAFETY AND DRIVER ASSISTANCE

On the safety front, the all-new Mercedes-AMG A 45 S 4MATIC+ is now equipped with several advance driver assistance features, including Active Brake Assist, Active Parking Assist with Parktronic, Blind Spot Assist, and Active Lane Keeping Assist – the latter two are new to the performance hot hatch.

Mercedes-AMG A 45 S 4MATIC+

PRICING

Once again, the all-new Mercedes-AMG A 45 S 4MATIC+ is priced at RM459,888 on the road, without insurance – which is a significant increase over its predecessor (RM348,888). Although, do keep in mind that this pricing is for the limited Edition 1 version, so do expect a price drop when the “standard” A 45 S is rolled out here.

With MBM’s Agility Financing, the new A 45 S hatchback can be yours starting from RM5,438 per month. If you prefer more protection for your new prized possession, the AMGPro Financing Package for the A 45 S starts at RM5,688 a month, and includes insurance coverage with unlimited mileage breakdown and accident towing, as well as rim and tyre replacement.

For a full facts and figures breakdown of the all-new Mercedes-AMG A 45 S 4MATIC+ Edition 1 hatchback, do check out our launch article, here!


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Woon
Believes that a car is more than just numbers and facts, it's about the emotions they convey. Any car can be the right car for someone, but he'll probably pick a hot hatch over anything else.