Every car manufacturer has a specialty; Mercedes-AMG’s is making cars go as fast as conceivably possible. The AMG A45 is the world’s most powerful and quickest hot hatch- and can be yours for £39,995.

Under the bonnet sits 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine which packs some serious fire power. It develops 376bhp and 475Nm of torque, enough to slingshot the hot hatch from 0-62mph in a dizzying 4.2 seconds. This was the sort of performance supercars were capable of 10 years ago, now you can get it in a family hatchback.

On the outside, there are some clues as to the performance on offer. The huge rear wing (not shown in our pictures) looks like it been taken off an F1 car, while the bulging arches house enormous alloy wheels and brakes strong enough to stop a train.

Climb inside and the cabin is typically Mercedes, with a lightweight carbon fibre centre console, cool flashes of aluminium and a beautiful Alcantara steering wheel fitted with chunky F1-style shift paddles.

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A recent update also transformed how the Mercedes-AMG A45 feels on the road. Before, where the suspension was firm- verging almost on uncomfortable- now adaptive dampers constantly monitor the surface of the road and adjust themselves to deliver a more cushioned ride.

But don’t think the Mercedes has gone soft, as the performance is still mind-meltingly fast. The engine doesn’t sound particularly appealing- an Audi RS3 has a far sweeter soundtrack- but the relentless acceleration is astonishing. Arrive at a corner and the four-wheel drive system keeps you locked onto the road, while lifting off the throttle produces thunderous bangs and crackles from the exhaust.

If I had one complaint; it’s not the most engaging to drive for the absolute purist- it’s more like a digital experience on a games console than a real world thriller. Nonetheless, it’s one hell of a car- and we shouldn’t forget this is still a car designed for everyday use, so comfort is a necessary versus a hardened track racer.

mercedes-benz.co.uk