You don't need us to tell you the AMG-tuned hot hatchbacks from Mercedes-Benz are seriously impressive. Both the A35 and A45 S feature a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, upgraded suspension and brakes, and menacing good looks. You also don't need us to tell you these brothers aren't identical twins, but it certainly helps to have all the differences easily displayed. That's especially true when it comes to performance, which is shockingly skewed considering these hatchbacks share the same engine. More on that in a bit.
This in-depth video from CarExpert on YouTube takes a side-by-side look at both AMG models, starting with the exterior. The A45 S obviously gets the Panamericana grille and extra aero on the front fascia. Look closer and you'll see the range-topping model also sports a sculpted hood, a functional vent on the lower left side of the fascia for an extra radiator, and its flared fenders are more pronounced. Peeking at the back, the A45 obviously has the quad exhaust outlets, but when running it also emits a deeper rumble.
Two extra tips are the only reasons for the noise difference. The A45 S develops over 100 more horsepower – 416 hp (310 kW) versus 302 hp (225 kW) – than the A35. It also gets bigger brakes and wider tires, and as a result, it absolutely trounces the A35 at the track.
Using launch control, the A45 S hits 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.0 seconds flat, whereas the A35 does the same sprint in 4.8 seconds. With legs stretched further through the quarter-mile, it's not even remotely close. The A35 runs 13.3 to a 12.2 for the A45 S, and when it's time to pull up, the top-dog Merc out brakes the A35 by 1.4 meters (5 feet).
Of course, the extra performance does come at a substantial price difference, but with at least one tuned A45 exceeding 200 mph, it could be a small price to pay for what's arguably the hottest hot hatchback of all time.