|04-26-2014, 12:57 PM||#1|
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: North East
A45 AMG Test Drive
Been playing around with the idea of swapping my M135i for a new M3 or maybe even an M5 (given the very attractive lease deals).
Also thought I should try AMG's hot hatch, just in case I found the combination of 360bhp and 4wd irresistible. First call was my local BMW dealer, who told me M3s would only be sold at full RRP. So scratched them off my list.
Popped across the road to MB on the off chance they had an A45 AMG I could look at. Not only that, they had one to test drive!! Perfect....salesman warmed it up then let me take over. Comfort, Sport and Manual mode so selected Comfort and off we went. Turned left onto the highway on-ramp and gave it some beans....enough beans to have had my little M135i howling up the onramp in a series of rapidfire upshifts. Not so in the AMG, which responded like it was on tranquilizers.....halfway between the BMWs comfort and fully anaesthetized Eco-Pro mode. Throttle mapping was decidedly on the tame side and down shifts reluctant.....depressing the pedal almost to the kick-down detent brought fairly relaxed acceleration.
Hmmmm....that was all a bit underwhelming...seems like we need Sports mode. Pressing the button certainly woke thinks up but nothing like to the same degree as the BMW. Upshifts now banged home, albeit considerably slower than the little Bimmer, accompanied by a dramatic crackle from the sports exhaust. I'm pretty certain these exhaust histrionics are engineered by injecting a little juice during the upshift in order to add some much needed drama to an otherwise, dare I say it, dullish performance.
By this stage I was certain that we must be missing about 20% of the performance compared to the Munchner. Either the sports exhaust wasn't working or the ECU was still in run-in mode? The salesman assured me that wasn't the case and that the test car was performing exactly as the other 3 A45 AMGs he had driven.
We tried a few fast corners at a speed I would feel quite relaxed taking in the Bimmer and immediately noticed that the M135i's tyres offer superior grip and roadholding. The AMG was nowhere near its limit, but would clearly benefit from better rubber.
The AMG was fast, but with nothing like the drama and excitement of the BMW. After my test drive I took the M135i round the same route and it was altogether the more dramatic and exciting car to drive. The gearbox is faster, smoother and more responsive, the engine harder revving and punchier and the noise altogether more beguiling and addictive. I did prefer the AMG's seats, which are both comfortable and highly supportive
Ultimately I expected something a little wild, snarling and slightly 'dangerous'....the reality felt like something engineered by AMG, then tamed by Health and Safety.
Do MB ECU's have a run-in mode?
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