Meet the Mercedes GLA45 AMG; the last of the baby Benz triumvirate (A, CLA and GLA Class) to get the AMG treatment, and one that Mercedes says "continues its rigorous product initiative" (read: yeah, we've found yet another micro-niche to exploit).
Vijay Pattni07 January 2014
Welcome the 356bhp Merc GLA45 AMG
Baby Benz SUV gets most powerful production 4cyl engine in the world
So, headline news is that engine. The GLA45 shares its underpinnings with the A45 hatch, which means it gets a 2.0-litre four-cylinder with a twin-scroll turbocharger, one that utilises exhaust back-pressure for a quicker spool up at low revs (pressure stands at 1.8 bar, if you're interested). There's also an AMG sports exhaust system with a flap for more NOISE, too. All in, you're looking at 356bhp and 331lb ft of torque.
Together with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox and all-wheel-drive system underneath (it's 2WD for pottering along in but engages the rear axle when slip on the front is detected, for a maximum 50:50 torque split), the GLA45 AMG will go from 0-62mph in 4.8s and top out at a limited speed of 155mph. Which, by small SUV standards, is Very Fast Indeed.
Naturally, there is much AMG tweakery too: stiffer steering knuckles and new elastokinematics up front, a redeveloped rear axle, sports suspension (with stiffer performance suspension an option), and high performance vented, cross-drilled brakes.
You get 19-inch alloys as standard, but can option 20s if so inclined. Then there's the AMG front splitter and twin-blade radiator grille, some AMG lettering, large air intakes, bi-xenon lights, a rear diffuser and obligatory twin exhaust pipes. Inside, there are many more nods to performance-orientated affluence too; sports seats, a leather multifunction steering wheel, AMG instrument cluster and, best of all, a RACE TIMER. Presumably for those SUV-only track days you see so often.
The GLA AMG will debut at next week's Detroit Motor Show. It'll be on sale later this year, and though we're still waiting on UK pricing, expect the softroader to command a small premium over the £38,000 A45 AMG hatch. Would you take the SUV, the hatch... or the oddball CLA45 super-micro-saloon?
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