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Car of the Year Awards 2021: Best hot hatch for big spenders

Hot hatches should make even the most mundane of drives feel magical. However, this ability to entertain shouldn't come at the expense of everyday usability...

Four hundred and fifteen horsepower and a 0-62mph time of 3.9sec. Not too long ago, those kinds of figures were the preserve of six-figure supercars, not sensible family hatchbacks. And yet here we are. The A45 may be expensive by the standards of the class, but when you consider it’s just as quick off the line as the £140,000-plus AMG GT sports car, you could argue that it’s rather good value.

But the best bit about the A45 is that it’s not just fast; it’s also a genuinely interactive and entertaining driver’s car. With plenty of traction and fantastic body control, it can cover ground at an amazing rate, but there’s also a playful edge to its handling, thanks to a four-wheel drive system that’s happy to shuffle power in favour of the rear wheels. And despite being heavily turbocharged, its 2.0-litre engine absolutely loves to be revved.

Mercedes-AMG A45 S 2022 interior dashboard

But surely such a focused hot hatch must behave like a bear with a sore head in traffic, right? Well, no; keep it in Comfort mode and the A45 feels no more recalcitrant than a regular regular A-Class.

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