The Mercedes A45 AMG brings a whole new level of mad to the hot hatch concept. It’s based on the humble Mercedes-Benz A-Class, but it packs a mighty 375bhp, which means it’s more powerful than any other 2.0-litre production car in the world. It’s also faster than any of its hot hatch peers, with 0-62mph taking just 4.2 seconds.
With unflappable four-wheel-drive traction and a seven-speed twin-clutch automatic gearbox fitted as standard, the A 45's closest rival is the similarly ballistic Audi RS3. However, it also competes with the cheaper VW Golf R and the rear-wheel drive BMW M135i.
The AMG A 45 is a great car to drive in the right circumstances. It's far from cheap, but its savage straight-line performance and incredible cornering ability are closer to those of a Porsche 911 than the majority of hot hatchbacks.
However, we think the BMW M135i is an even better buy; it might not be quite as fast, but it's more fun to drive in most situations and easier to live with the rest of the time. The fact that it's also much cheaper to buy and run only extends its advantage.