Hot hatches are a varied breed these days. Multiple classes within one of the most popular performance classes’ in the market. Given how power figures in the group has grown to supercar levels from 20 years ago, it just makes sense to produce models with multiple power outputs to cater for all buyer demographics because at the end of the day, selling cars is a business.
Now you have the smaller B-segment hatches that hark back to the glorious sole trim level that lead to the birth of hot hatches to begin with. Lower power levels and simple operations with mostly a proper manual for the purists.
Stepping up brings us to the C-segment ones that more or less stay true to the pioneers but have evolved with times to stay relevant and represent the true modern day iteration of a hot hatch.
Nonetheless, anything performance based will still boil down to that dreaded word that carmakers are starting to distance themselves from in a paradigm shift that is beginning to take effect in the class.
“Horsepower” is now being replaced with “weight,” or rather a lack of it. The chase for horsepower has bred hot hatches with over 300hp that necessitated all-wheel drive just to prevent the drivers from parking up trees or in ditches.
That just doesn’t quite seem like a hot hatch though. Now, the open secret in the performance circles is to cut poundage. Improving the power-to-weight ratio is just as effective in making cars go faster because let’s face it, the horsepower wars need to stop somewhere.
The Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG is the king of the hot hatch ring. It has ridiculous power and all-wheel drive to shame some performance cars that cost way more coin and will do it day-in-day-out.
Of course, it comes from the factory with a generous safety margin and given how dependent on software modern performance machines are, extracting more power is as much about software as it is about hardware.
However, the hardware in question here isn’t under the hood. It’s of the weaved variety and adds lightness. The amount of carbon fibre panels on this A45 AMG would probably make Formula 1 teams salivate.
Carbonetics Arts is a brand that’ll pop up quite a bit when detailing the exterior of this hatch. The carbon fiber front canards, front lips, carbon fiber rear canards, diffuser, carbon fiber rear hatch, carbon fiber rear doors, carbon fiber spoiler, carbon fiber fuel cover and carbon fiber battery and air filter cover are all from them. Yes, carbon fibre rear doors.
The rest of the exterior includes Advanced Liquid Concept carbon fiber fenders, Utmost Performance carbon fiber side mirrors, Boca Design dry carbon bonnet and CT Motorsport dry carbon engine cover. Acting as the proverbial ribbon the wrapping… vinyl wrapping, is a Raptor R Techwrap.
Further improving the power-to-weight ratio is some engine work. This consists of a Remus downpipe and mid-pipe measuring 3.5-inches to exhale better and an AMS Performance Alpha Performance air filter for the inhaling. AMS Performance goes on to provide its Alpha heat exchanger and intercooler for better cooling.
Lastly, a Snow Performance methanol kit and Lithiumax 3.8kg lithium battery finish up the engine bay. On the electronics side, the ECU was remapped with a Unichip Q to make the most of the new setup that cranks out a staggering 413whp and 565.4Nm of torque.
Given that the dual-clutch transmission would probably be working overtime to handle all that power, a Wortec transmission cooler was fitted and positioned at the left of the front bumper for optimal cooling.
On the handling front, it’s difficult to spring a surprise on the A45 but to ensure it continues to have the edge, some H&R sport springs went in together with a pair of H&R anti-roll bars at both ends and an Alutec strut bar.
The final piece of the handling puzzle are some baller Michelin PS4S rubbers in 235/45R19 sizing on a square setup of Rays ZE40 wheels measuring 19×8.5jj all around.
You can’t cut corners when it comes to stopping power and AP Racing is a name that you can’t go wrong with. Their Pro 5000 R six-pot calipers now reside behind the Rays wheels an clamp on 380mm rotors. Titanium nuts keep with the weight reduction theme and Goodridge stainless steel braided hoses complete the package.
Inside, the use of carbon fibre is as liberal as candy is given out on Halloween. Carbonetics Arts is once again the main culprit with its carbon fiber centre console, carbon fiber meter console, carbon fiber middle pillar and carbon fiber door lock console.
Even the seat isn’t spared with a pair of Utmost Downforce Performance carbon fiber back seat covers and complemented with their carbon fiber paddle shift extension. Given that the boost level has risen, the centre air-conditioning vent had been filled with an AMG 3.0-bar boost gauge and the display screen for the infotainment system was also upgraded to a 10-inch touch screen monitor for convenience.
There’s really not much left to be done to this car. Sure you might argue that more power is entirely possible but a hot hatch with over 400whp should make you rethink your life decisions if you feel that’s not enough. And believe us, this hatch should make you rethink a lot of things but certainly not that.
Car – Mercedes-Bez A45 AMG
Engine – M133, Remus downpipe + mid-pipe 3.5-inches, AMS Performance Alpha Performance air filter, AMS Performance Alpha heat exchanger, AMS Performance Alpha intercooler, Snow Performance boost cooler / methanol kit 300psi, Lithiumax 3.8kg lithium battery
Electronics – Remapped ECU Stage 3 with Unichip Q
Transmission – Wortec transmission cooler
Chassis & Handling – H&R sport springs, H&R anti-roll bar (front & rear), Alutec strut bar
Brakes – AP Racing Pro 5000 R six-pot caliper, 380mm rotors, titanium nuts, Goodridge stainless steel braided hose
Wheels & Tyres – Rays ZE40 19×8.5 +44 (front) +38 (rear), Michelin PS4S 235/45R19
Interior – Carbonetics Arts carbon fiber centre console, Carbonetics Arts carbon fiber meter console, Carbonetics Arts carbon fiber middle pillar, Carbonetics Arts carbon fiber door lock console, Utmost Downforce Performance carbon fiber back seat cover, Utmost Downforce Performance carbon fiber paddle shift extension, 10-inch touch screen monitor, AMG 3.0-bar boost gauge
Exterior – Carbonetics Arts carbon fiber front canards, front lips, Carbonetics Arts carbon fiber rear canards, diffuser, Carbonetics Arts carbon fiber rear hatch, Carbonetics Arts carbon fiber rear doors, Carbonetics Arts carbon fiber spoiler, Carbonetics Arts carbon fiber fuel cover, Carbonetics Arts carbon fiber battery and air filter cover, Advanced Liquid Concept carbon fiber fenders, Utmost Performance carbon fiber side mirror, Raptor R Techwrap vinyl wrap, Boca Design dry carbon bonnet, CT Motorsport dry carbon engine cover
Garage – Carbonetics Arts, Pasir Gudang, Johor, Advanced Liquid Concept, Masai, Johor, Patrick Teo, Masai Johor, Raptor Auto, Mount Austin, Johor, Speed Demon Motorville, Johor bahru Johor, Raptor R, Mount Austin, Johor, Utmost Downforce, Puchong, Selangor, CT Motorsport, Sunway, Selangor
Tuner – John Tang, Jtuned, Singapore/Macao, GT Auto, Sunway, Selangor
Power – 413whp + 565.4Nm