In an effort to make the latest Mercedes-AMG A45 S fun as well as fast it scored Drift Mode.
The problem with the original A45 was that for all its undoubted speed it could be quite one-dimensional to drive: brake, turn go. It was exceptionally good at this, particularly in tricky conditions, but keen drivers could be left wanting more from Mercedes’ hot hatch.
In an effort to combat this AMG a new all-wheel-drive system called 4MATIC+. As well as having the ability to apportion torque between the front and rear, a pair of electronically controlled multi-disc clutches in the rear differential, one connected to each driveshaft, allows the torque delivery to the individual rear wheels to be carefully controlled.
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This not only harnesses the 310kW and 500Nm produced by the A45’s remarkable M139 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, but it also allows the inclusion of Drift Mode.
By sending more torque than normal to the outside rear wheel in a corner the system promotes oversteer, then once the car is sliding it can shuffle the power around to ensure the car doesn’t spin out of control.
To activate Drift Mode the Drive Mode selector needs to be set to Race, the gearbox to manual and the ESP deactivated completely. Then pull both gearshift paddles back towards you and as long as the car is up to temperature a message appears on the instrument cluster to activate Drift Mode. Pull the upshift paddle to confirm and you’re set.
Obviously, this feature should only be used by experienced drivers in a safe, closed environment.
We tested Drift Mode on the wet skidpad at Phillip Island before switching to Winton Raceway. Check out the video above to see how we got on.