The Ludicrous 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 Hits Goodwood With 382 Horsepower — And A Drift Mode

Mercedes' most powerful 2.0-liter turbo engine makes 416 horsepower

It’s one of the most powerful four-cylinder cars around.

Right off the bat, I’d like to get one point of bitterness out of the way. No, we are not getting the 2020 Mercedes-Benz A 45 hatchback. As a hot hatch enthusiast, that saddens me. However, we are getting the 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 four-door coupe and the A 45 sedan. It’s the new performance halo of the lineup, ahead of the 302 horsepower CLA 35. If that isn’t enough oomph for you, AMG has the solution. The S version of the A 45 manages a whopping 416 horsepower from its 2.0-liter engine. Mercedes did not officially announce horsepower for the CLA 45, but it will almost certainly be the same as the Mercedes-AMG A 45 S.

At any rate, it’s massively more powerful than the entry-level A-Class sedan.

2020 Mercedes-AMG CLA 45.

Chucking out that much horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque puts it in the same league as the Audi RS3 and BMW M2 Competition. Whichever version of the CLA 45 or A 45 you pick, you get an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. You also get all-wheel drive, so the Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 and A 45 models clearly have the Volkswagen Golf R locked in their sights.

The AMG CLA 45 has a Drift Mode, you say?

Even though the 2020 Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 and A45 are all-wheel drive, they do have an ace up their sleeve. That would be a Drift Mode. On top of the car’s six normal driving modes: “Slippery”, “Comfort”, “Sport”, “Sport +” and “RACE”, this button lets you hoon around at will. The rear axle differential has two multi-disc clutches, so it can send power to each rear wheel individually. Drift Mode only comes up when the car is in RACE, and is an option on the normal CLA 45 and A 45 (it comes standard on the S).

Inside the 2020 Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 and A 45, you get the standard fare. That means an Alcantara-trimmed steering wheel, and the rest of the interior comes in black with yellow accents throughout. You get dual digital displays — one for the gauge cluster and one for infotainment. On the outside, you get the classic high-caliber AMG grille, 19-inch alloy wheels and performance brakes.

The 2020 Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 will run the 0-60 sprint in 4.0 seconds, according to Mercedes. The S variant, when it arrives, will reportedly do it in 3.9 seconds. The AMG A 45 variants will go on sale later this year, and we should also know more about pricing by then.