Paintwork Rescued & Protected On A ‘New’ Mercedes-AMG A45
Taking delivery of a new car is usually an exciting occasion. There is the eagerness of the fun to be had, the anticipation of thrills to be experienced and of course, the expectation of receiving a sparkling, untouched, pristine car. When that car is a brand new, dynamically overhauled and electrifyingly upgraded Mercedes-AMG A45 Turbo, then the expectations are that much higher.
Advertised as ‘the world’s most powerful compact performance car’, the AMG A45 features a 2 litre, in-line 4-turbo engine with a peak output of 280 kW (381 hp) and a maximum torque of 475 Nm. Not bad for a car weighing in at 1555kg. To add visual impact as well as for functionality, the body styling has been revamped to include a front apron design, the three-dimensional A-wing scooping air directly into the three AMG-specific cooling air inlets. There’s the addition of a spoiler lip under the front splitter and a rear apron with integrated diffuser which, combined with the AMG spoiler lip on the roof spoiler all add downforce, increasing handling stability. Underneath, the gear ratios have been reworked to provide peak torque at optimum moments with the result this version of the AMG A45 boasts an impressive 0-62kph in just 4.2 seconds. With five doors, it could be argued the AMG A45 is a great combination of practicality and exhilaration for the Peter (or Penny!) Pans of this world.
The owner of this AMG A45 brought his brand new car to UF’s Brands Hatch based Detailing Studio for a New Car Protection Treatment, looking to protect the paintwork, glass, wheels and leather interior. Having driven from West London to Kent, the vehicle had attracted a fair amount of road debris along the way. The owner was aware the paintwork wasn’t looking quite ‘as new’ as he had anticipated, but the car needed to be thoroughly decontaminated and cleaned before the true extent of the condition of the vehicle could be assessed.
Initially, the car was treated with Bilt-Hamber Surfex HD, to remove any oil-based contamination and remnants of transportation wax. The A45 was then rinsed before being degreased again, with particular attention paid to areas inclined to attract greasy residue, such as the bonnet, boot and door shuts as well as around the petrol cap. The wheels were then cleaned using Gtechniq W6 Iron & General Fallout Remover, a UF Wheel Wash Bucket and UF Wheel Woolies. The long handled brushes reach easily through the intricately designed wheel spokes to clean right at the back of the rim. The car was jacked up slightly to allow for comprehensive cleaning under the wheel arches.
The A45 was pre-cleaned using Ultimate Snow Foam to remove larger particles and dirt and grit from the surface of the paintwork, then rinsed before being washed using the Two Bucket Method, an Ulti-Mitt Double Sided Merino Wash Mitt and Gtechniq G-Wash shampoo. After the suds were rinsed away, an Aqua Gleam De-Ionising Water Filter was attached in-line with the hose to give the car a final, pure water rinse. The car was then patted dry using UF Ultra Soft Microfibre Drying Towels and brought into the studio for a comprehensive visual inspection.
Before we carry out any protection treatment the paintwork is always inspected closely under high-intensity lighting. That way we can clearly see any blemishes, swirls, scratches, staining, etc. The owner knew this car needed a bit of work even though it was a new car. However, the extent of the damage was startling. ‘New Car Protection’ shouldn’t require the paintwork to have more than a light polish to enhance the shine prior to protecting, but on this car it was a different story. The extent of the damage on this paintwork required a Correction Treatment, rather than a Protection Treatment! – Derek Ginger, Master Detailer, UF Detailing Studio
The extent of the damage coupled with the scratch-resistant paintwork meant an aggressive pad and compound combination was required. Using a combination of the RUPES BigFoot LHR 12E Duetto and the RUPES BigFoot LHR 75E Mini, the paintwork was corrected using Menzerna Heavy Cut Compound 400 (previously FG400) and one of the new Kamikaze Collection Banzai Dynamics Polishing Pads. This pad has been specially developed for dual action machines and uses a unique ‘Dot Point Polishing’ surface design incorporating raised foam ‘nipples’. The unique design provides a superior cutting action whilst reducing heat generation, allowing for fast correction without creating holograms. This, in turn, reduces the time required for the refining stage.
The Banzai Pad is absolutely brilliant. You get the same cut you would from a microfibre pad, but they’re much easier to work with and leave a more refined finish. They are highly effective even on scratch-resistant German paintwork. The two RUPES machines worked a treat. The Duetto has a 12mm throw and is smaller than the LHR15 ES and it’s also shorter, so it’s easier to manoeuvre over the car. The LHR 75E Mini worked brilliantly for getting into all the cutaways and tight areas – and the AMG A45 has a lot of those! – Derek Ginger, Master Detailer, UF Detailing Studio
To refine the paintwork after correction, a FLEX PE14-2 Rotary Machine Polisher was used with Menzerna Super Finish Plus 3800 and a 3M PERFECT-IT III Black Polishing Pad. The FLEX machine allowing for more heat generation and a better burnishing action, giving the paintwork a stunning shine.
The paintwork and wheels were then cleansed using Gtechniq Panel Wipe to remove any traces of polishing residues. The satin finished wheels were coated with Gtechniq C5 Alloy Wheel Armour, a heat resistant nano-sealant that repels dirt, oils and inhibits brake dust build-up.
Then, Gtechniq Crystal Serum was applied to the paintwork. This nano-sealant cures to leave a dual layer of protection. The lower layer cures to a hardness of around 7H, offering flexibility, the upper layer cures to around 9H, providing a tough top coat. Combined, the sealant provides comprehensive protection from wash-induced swirls, environmental and industrial fallout. The treated surface is hydrophobic and inhibits dirt and oils from adhering to the paintwork. The weekly wash is, therefore, much easier, negating the requirement for harsh wash chemicals or scrubbing at the paintwork – a leading cause of wash-induced swirls. For maximum efficacy, Crystal Serum must be applied in tightly controlled conditions and therefore is available only as a service from Gtechniq-approved detailers. Once applied, Crystal Serum carries a 7-year performance guarantee.
To increase the slickness of the paint, as well as the depth of shine and hydrophobic properties, an upgrade to CS Black was carried out. This includes an additional layer of Gtechniq EXO Ultra Durable Hybrid Coating applied over the top of the initial application of Crystal Serum. The result was nothing short of jaw-dropping.
The black leather interior of the A45 is particularly susceptible to UV fade. To counter this the leather was given a gentle clean using Colourlock Leather Cleaner Mild to ensure it was free from surface oils and dust. It was then carefully treated with Colourlock Leather Shield which is designed to offer protection from general wear and tear, keeping leather looking ‘as new’ for longer. The antioxidants help prevent the leather from drying out, keeping it supple and helping to preserve the colour.
The glass was cleaned and then coated with Gtechniq G1 ClearVision Smart Glass. This provides a hydrophobic barrier encouraging rainwater to form into beads. These are easily blown away, even when driving at relatively low speeds, making driving less tiring during bad weather conditions.
The final touch was a layer of Gtechniq T2 Tyre Dressing to give the tyres a natural satin sheen. Finally, this Mercedes-AMG A45 really did look better than brand new!
UF Detailing Studio – Award Winning Detailing. Call 0333 800 8004 to discuss your requirements and arrange a free vehicle appraisal.