It may be the smallest crossover in the Mercedes line-up but the GLA isn’t about to take a backseat to any other model line — especially not with the addition of a new AMG-powered variant using what the German automaker proclaims “the world’s most powerful turbocharged four-cylinder manufactured for series production.”
Set to debut at the Geneva Motor Show early next month – though it will only reach U.S. showrooms in late 2020 – we’re getting an early first look at the Mercedes-AMG GLA 45, a CUV that should be as comfortable on local roads as it is taking a lap of your local track.
“The second generation of our very successful compact sports model is now complete,” said Tobias Moers, chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes-AMG GmbH, adding that “the new GLA 45 is not only significantly more dynamic, but also more practical in everyday use than its predecessor.”
Give credit to the new handcrafted M139 2.0-liter engine. The turbo-four punches out a full 382 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque, numbers that would still be impressive in larger CUVs. The new engine is paired with an eight-speed AMG dual-clutch gearbox.
In turn, power is distributed to all four wheels using the AMG Performance 4Matic+ system. The rear-biased system is meant to give more sports car-like manners under normal conditions, with two multi-disc clutches selectively provides power, as necessary, to each individual rear wheel.
One of the new features added to the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 is AMG Dynamics. The track-oriented feature helps stabilize the crossover during aggressive driving by constantly tweaking the performance of the car’s AWD, steering and stability control functions.
The GLA 45 also gets the AMG Ride Control adaptive damping system which lets a driver select between three different suspension modes, from comfort to “very sporty,” the automaker explains. The Ride Control system can selectively adjust each damper individually, depending on road conditions and driver demand.
As with the rest of the new GLA line-up, the GLA 45 will feature a new exterior and interior design, added advanced driver assistance systems and the new voice assistant-based MBUX infotainment technology.
We’ve already gotten a look at two other versions of the crossover, including the Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 – available with either front or AWD – as well as the sportier Mercedes-AMG GLA 35. The latter makes 302 hp and can hit 60 in around 5.0 seconds. The Stuttgart automaker estimates the GLA 45 will cut that down to an estimated 4.3 seconds, with an electronically limited top speed of 155 miles per hour.
We’ll have to wait until a bit closer to the autumn on-sale date for some other key numbers, including EPA fuel economy ratings and pricing. The outgoing version of the GLA 45 currently starts at just over $53,000, including delivery fees.