The Mercedes-AMG A45 S was already fast, with a 310kW 2.0-litre turbocharged four cylinder engine sending power to both front and rear axles.
However, Mercedes now offers a set of track-focused Pirelli Trofeo R tyres as an option for the ultimate hot hatch, elevating it to new heights.
To find out exactly how fast the Merc is with its sticky rubber, we took it to Winton Raceway as part of our annual Performance Car of the Year test, letting it loose on the MOTOR Shootout.
Driven by Karl Reindler, the A45 was well-suited to the technical 3.0 km circuit, impressing the professional driver with its power and agility.
“We’ve got a lot of fun cars here today, this one included,” Karl said enthusiastically following his laps in the A45.
“[This has] the factory accessory Pirelli Trofeo R tyres which is a serious bit of tyre.
“It’s really exciting to have a tyre like that on a car like this, and it did transform it as well. It was already a great package before, I’ve driven these cars before, but it’s the first time on that Pirelli.
“It took probably a lap and a half for it to come up, but it didn’t feel like it faded like other tyres have today.
“The car itself, its mind blowing what these guys have done with the electronics, the tricky differentials.
“Off the corner you get on the throttle and it actually, it turns harder almost – it’s hard to describe – but it actually feels like it turns harder on throttle.
“I love the eight-speed gearbox in this thing, it’s so crisp, it’s so sharp. You never feel like you’re in the wrong gear at the wrong time. You can always plonk another one up, or plonk another one down and it does it instantaneously without upsetting the car.
“That thing was a hoot!”
Karl’s fastest lap around Winton’s full 3.0km layout was a stout 1:34.9.
The A45’s big secret is the way it carries speed through the corners. On Winton’s front straight the A45’s speedo topped out at 191.63km/h. We’ll let you in on a secret; of the ten cars taking part in PCOTY, only two cars were slower down the front straight – the Ford Fiesta ST and Toyota Yaris GR. However, there were plenty of cars that couldn’t match the little AMG’s overall lap time.
To see where the A45 stacks up, make sure to check the MOTOR Shootout leaderboard. We post a new video every week, so make sure to check back regularly!