The Mercedes-AMG A 45 S has the most potent 2.0-litre engine ever produced. With 415bhp, is this the best hot hatch ever tested?
The numbers don't lie: 415bhp and 500Nm of torque from a 2.0-litre four-pot. For perspective, let's take a minute to consider the evolution of the vehicles classed as 'hot hatches'. Although most of us acknowledge the Volkswagen Golf GTi from 1975, to be the original hot hatch, it is actually a car called the Simca 1100 Ti that is credited with the honours.
In 1973, the Simca was released with 82hp and would launch from 0-60mph in just under 12 seconds, topping out at 105mph. 46 years later, and the Mercedes-AMG A 45 S will do 0-60mph in 3.8 seconds and, with the AMG Driver's Package optioned, will reach a maximum velocity of 168mph.
This family hatchback accelerates from zero to 60mph as fast as a 6.2-litre V12 Lamborghini Murciélago.
For your 50+ thousand pounds, you get more than just blistering performance from an accomplished engine though. As one would expect from a Mercedes, you get the full suite of safety features. Touch-screen infotainment, heated leather seats, massive brakes and a boot you can put stuff in.
But, is all of this worth £50k when the, arguably, better driver's Honda Civic Type-R is £12k cheaper? Yes, it's probably a poor comparison considering the potential buyers are two different characters, but that's a lot of money.
So, is this the best hot hatch ever tested? Let's join Auto Express as they put this to the test.