Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 S: hot crossover fun?

Published: 25 February 2020

► All-new Mercedes GLA and AMG 45
► Baby crossover is roomier than before
► MBUX and off-road tech

The new Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 S 4Matic brings a dose of hot hatch brawn to the compact SUV sector. And it’s going to be viscerally quick, benefiting from the same 415bhp 2.0-litre turbo as its A45 hot hatch sibling.

Two different GLA 45 models will be available on the Continent: the regular model with 382bhp won’t be coming to the UK – and will hardly be a sluggard, dispatching the 0-62mph sprint in just 4.4 seconds. The more muscular S trims just one-tenth off that, and top speed extends from 155mph to a derestricted 168mph.

The 45 is dripping with clever tech, including AMG Track Pace – which charts laptimes, quarter mile results and 0-62mph data. The car can store your performance and even ‘improve laptimes with a virtual instructor on board’. Yes, the virutal worlds of augmented reality and machine learning are taking us to very strange places indeed…

CO2 emissions stand at 209-212g/km, depending on model and spec. UK prices are not yet confirmed, but the AMG GLA 45 will go on sale in April 2020 with first customer deliveries in the summer.

See the Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 S at the 2020 Geneva motor show

Everything you need to know about the rest of the Mercedes-Benz GLA range

Mercedes-Benz GLA

The AMG 45 model crowns the regular GLA crossover range. Those familiar will Mercedes’ code will already know it’s a an A-Class for those who fancy some more height, and with it a little dose of extra practicality, too.

It’s no surprise, then, that underneath the new GLA sits on the same platform as the A-Class, B-Class and CLA range and GLB.

Stuttgart promises big gains in terms of space and practicality on its predecessor (though that isn’t hard), even if the new GLA is a bit shorter. There’s also plenty of tech enhancements and a new engine range. It’ll need all the above to take on new comeptition such as the Audi Q3 and Volvo XC40. 

More boot and cabin space

Yes. The old GLA was one of the least practical crossovers on the market and, frankly, not very well liked in the CAR office.

Mercedes GLA boot

It’s designed to be the sporty brother of the GLB, and at 4410mm / 1834mm / 1611mm it’s shorter, but taller, wider – the wheelbase is up to 2729mm now, as well. That means boot space is up to 435 litres, while rear legroom has grown by 116mm. Mercedes says it can do and carry more, and that seems to be the case. 

What’s the GLA’s tech like?

This bit isn’t quite as much of a surprise, as the GLA uses Merc’s MBUX infotainment system that’s been rolled out over the past couple of years – originally debuted in the A-Class.  That’s not a shock, but definitely an improvement, with features like natural voice assistance, augmented reality navigation and the brand’s slightly odd ‘energising comfort’ system all available.

Mercedes GLA interior

If you spec the all-wheel drive system, Merc’s Off Road Engineering pack includes an off-road function for the LED headlights at slow speeds, an off-road drive mode, technical graphics on the infotainment system and hill descent control. Not that we expect any of these cars to encounter anything more challenging than a nice, gravelled drive.

Any GLA engines and specs?

Two are confirmed for now: a GLA 200 petrol and AMG GLA 35. The 200 uses a 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol making 161bhp, with a 0-62mph sprint in 8.7sec. 4Matic all-wheel drive is an option. AMG has also stuck its finger into the GLA pie with a new GLA35 4Matic, capable of a 5.1sec sprint to 62mph and a top speed of 155mph.

Mercedse GLA 35

More engines are expected to join the range, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if we saw an EQ Power plug-in hybrid variant, too. We expect more AMG engines to join the party, too.

When can I get one?

You can order one in spring 2020 in Europe first, with the US and Chinese markets opening later in the year.

Check out our Mercedes reviews

By Jake Groves

CAR's deputy news editor, office Geordie, gamer, lover of hot hatches