But as the high on-road scores attest, the hot-shot little Merc still has enormous driver appeal. Buying and owning the AMG A 45 punishes the bank balance more than the M240i. But offsetting its higher price is a more impressive standard equipment list. And there’s that stonking 2.0-litre turbo engine that pumps out 280kW and 475Nm, making it one of the most powerful production engines of that displacement you will find. Mated to a seven-speed DCT gearbox, performance is nothing short of exhilarating, and then there’s that lovely snap, crackle and pop from the AMG exhaust. The AMG Dynamic Select system allows driver control over engine and transmission response and steering and suspension settings to best suit driving conditions and style. The 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system efficiently puts power down to the tarmac, allowing it to carve through and slingshot out of corners. It’s more a point-and-shoot weapon than the agile rear-wheel-drive BMW with which it shares class-leading handling scores. The more overtly styled interior in the A 45 has switch gear that’s too fussy for our liking, but the body-hugging sports seats provide great comfort and support.