Mercedes-Benz has launched the 2021 Mercedes-AMG A 45 S 4Matic+ in India. Prices for the smallest 45-badged AMG start at Rs 79.5 lakh (ex-showroom, before options), and the hatchback is being brought in as a CBU, unlike the locally-assembled 35-series models. The AMG A 45 S is by far the fastest hatchback to ever go on sale in India, the second-fastest globally, and is powered by the most powerful four-cylinder engine fitted to a production car yet.

The Mercedes-AMG A 45 S is powered by the specially-developed M 139 2.0-litre petrol. This four-cylinder single-turbo motor makes 421 hp at 6,750 rpm and 500 Nm at 5,000-5,250 rpm. This motor is hand-assembled in the same way as the 4.0-litre V8 from larger AMGs and has seen numerous developments being made to achieve the high specific output.

This engine pairs with an eight-speed AMG dual-clutch automatic with a launch control function and an AMG tuned all-wheel-drive system. This system also features variable torque distribution and a drift mode, which works through a pair of clutches in the rear axle. There are six drive modes to choose from – Slippery, Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Race – and the three-stage AMG Dynamics ESC modes.

Other enhancements over the A 35 include a heavily reinforced chassis with a wider front track, larger 19-inch tyres, revised suspension components and uprated brakes. The S version going on sale in India gets the Driver’s package as standard, which ups top-speed to 270 kph and allows for a 0 to 100 kph time of 3.9 seconds.

The AMG hot hatch also gets differentiates styling. There is a new bumper, Panamericana grille, multi-beam LED headlamps, and a new rear diffuser to tie in with the four-pot exhausts. Six colour options are available – Sun Yellow, Polar White, Mountain Grey, Designo Patagonia Red, Designo Mountain Grey Magno and Cosmos Black.

Interior highlights on the Mercedes-AMG A 45 S include the AMG specific menus in the twin touchscreens, aluminium and rubberised dash highlights, leather and micro-suede upholstery with yellow stitching, the AMG-specific steering wheel and sport seats. Other features include a head-up display, 12-speaker Burmester audio and a safety kit such as lane-keeping assist and blind-spot monitoring.

The hot hatch has no direct rivals in the country currently, although the Audi RS 3 is expected to make its debut here sometime in 2022.

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