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My First Ever Joy Ride In A Mercedes-AMG A45 S!

I mean, who wouldn’t want to be behind the wheel of a performance car like the Mercedes-AMG. But until we earn our stripes, a chance to ride shotgun is the second best way to experience it

The afternoon sun is beating down on the empty stretch of tarmac ahead. We are sitting inside a hatch, but one that costs nearly 10 or 12x your everyday variety. But with over 400 horses on tap, this hatchback is anything but ordinary. “Should we try launch control?” I ask Ameya, who is behind the wheel of the Mercedes-AMG A45 S. He obliges, switches off the ESC, and toggles between a few settings on the stylish MBUX infotainment system. Left foot on the brake, right foot on the gas, three, two, one… BAM! 

This is what getting hurled from a slingshot must feel! My brain scrambles to make sense, and all I could do was yell “OH MY GOD” in between gasps. This hawt yellow hatch has the world’s most powerful 4-pot motor, but the way it puts all that power down is mind-boggling, really. There is no wheel spin, no squeal from the tyres, just absolute brute force that propels you to warp speeds. And from the passenger seat, I knew that the Mercedes-AMG A45 S, this thoroughly engineered German precision machine, is showing the way for hot hatches, and how! 

But the once emphatically uttered ‘OMG’ assumes a more concerned tone within 200 metres as we encounter a bad patch of tarmac. There’s a tinge of worry and pain in my voice now as the super stiff ride quality at low speeds shakes us around. The stiff suspension with low ground clearance means the ride is bone-jarring stiff on uneven tarmac. Comfort mode doesn’t make life easier either. 

The low ground clearance and deliciously crafted 19-inch rims means you have to be super careful to avoid chipping those rims or scraping the Merc’s belly. As he dodges the craters like a pro, Ameya turns to me and says, “You just need to be cool and relaxed. There is a way to tackle everything.” Thankfully, the tarmac smoothes out shortly after, and so does the A45’s ride quality, which becomes more liveable with as the pace climbs up. 

On the open road the A45 S’ masterpiece, its 421PS/500Nm 2-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol mill, comes into its own. Mind you, don’t let the lesser number of cylinders bum you out. This thing is seriously quick, climbing up to three digit speeds without a sweat. It’s incredibly poised and confident while doing so, and you always need to keep a check on the speedo to ensure you’re not a hooligan on a public road. 

Ah, a gap in traffic! Ameya just flicks the throttle, and within moments the 8-speed dual-clutch automatic picks the ratio and the hatch just takes off! Man, this is so addictive. I imagine being the one to pull the paddles to downshift, and experiencing each time, like a rifle shot, the AMG recoiling like a fired handgun. The accompanying burst of anger from the exhaust reminds you that the potency and urgency has just gotten dialled up. 

Okay, let me be clear: the AMG A45 S’ exhaust note is muted when you’re leisurely driving and that doesn’t gel along with how loud it looks, especially in this bright yellow shade with black rims. If you want it to sound like a proper AMG, you will have to work for it. Rev it hard and it rewards you. Ameya shifts it to Race Plus and gives it the beans. The exhaust note becomes louder and more pronounced as the tacho needle nears the redline. Mercedes has also recreated that magic by playing artificial sounds through the sound system. 

Does it work? Hell, yeah. The artificial exhaust sounds added to the overall in-cabin experience that gives the aural pleasure of say… a V8. And Mercedes-AMG didn’t stop there. A tinge of magic is sprinkled by incorporating pops, bangs, and even the engine’s induction noise. It’s such a turn-on.  

Sadly, the straight highway roads means I really couldn’t experience how the A45 S would be on a set of twisties. But man, this hatch, with drift mode, should be so addictive, and I can’t just wait to get behind the wheel of one real soon to tell you of what I think of a performance car when giving it the beans. 

But back to reality and it’s a hard hitting one as we take the A45 S to the fuel pump to prepare it for the shoot next day. We head to the closest Shell pump as the AMG, being a performance machine, needs premium petrol for its diet. This brings us back to reality as filling this hatch up ain’t cheap. Premium petrol retails around 125 bucks (around Rs 13 more than regular petrol), and a full tank will set you back around Rs 5,500. You need seriously deep pockets if you’ll be using this one daily. 

Anyways, after a mini heart attack and considerable damage to the wallet, I hop to the back seat, and to my surprise, there is decent space for a wide XXL-sized dude, moi. Rear AC vents kept me nice and cold, and the rear armrest, set at the right height, dials up the comfort factor. Clearly, this is one usable backseat, but there are a few disadvantages.  

For starters, the lack of grab handles means I couldn’t hold on for dear life when your driver decides to become a real hooligan. And as hands go down to grab the door handle, I also wished the plastic quality in the lower half of the door pads could be better as it’s all hard and scratchy plastics. Acceptable if this was a standard A-Class, but not in a performance car that cost almost a crore!

Thankfully, quality up front is right up to the mark and the overall ambience makes you feel special. Just one nitpicking, and that’s the sports front seats, which might be a tad too narrow if you have a wide frame. Apart from that, the ambience is thoroughly sporty, and the driver can change various modes with the AMG-specific knobs and buttons on the steering wheel. 

Coming back to the office, the highlights from my joy ride are still fresh in my mind. Does the AMG A45 S make its case as a perfect daily driver? Not really. The ride is super stiff, while the high running costs will be draining your hard earned money. For the same amount of money, or for a little more, there are sensible and comfier options like the Audi S5 or luxury cars like the E-Class, GLE, and BMW 6 Series that would be much easier to live with.

But as a performance machine, the A45 S just flies through the roof. The four-pot motor is an engineering masterpiece and I just can’t wait to get behind the wheel of a performance machine to give you, dear reader, my take on what an exotic machine is all about. After all, it is an AMG and the A45 S delivers on the one thing that matters a lot: a thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyable driving experience. I’m still smiling, even if I wasn’t behind the wheel of one. 

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