It’s been two years since Mercedes announced the existence of this secondgeneration A45 S but now it’s found its way over here its 416bhp 2-litre engine still offers the highest specific output of any four cylinder engine. As a result and once hooked up to a four-wheel-drive system, the car is the only production hatchback of which I am aware that can accelerate from rest to 62mph in fewer than four seconds.
More impressive is the way it does it: there’s no peakiness and actually quite an invigorating growl as it slings you across the countryside. It reminded me of those ridiculous ‘FQ’ Mitsubishi Evos but without the terrible turbo lag.
While the engine grabs all the headlines, just like the V8 Defender reviewed on the previous page it’s actually the chassis of this world’s fastest hatch that is the real star turn, for it manages that impossibly difficult task of making the car feel like a real roller-skate, yet without ride quality that makes you fear for the integrity of your dental work.