This is, at last, the Mercedes GLA 45 AMG. We’ve seen Visions of the GLA, and a ghastly stickered-up ‘concept’ version, but this is the surprisingly handsome production version of Merc’s super-crossover.
Prices are expected to top £43k, outpunching the Audi RSQ3’s ask, and Merc’s other four-pot rockets, the A45 and CLA 45, which start at £38,190 and £42,265 respectively.
Let’s have those confirmed juicy Mercedes GLA 45 AMG numbers!
Mercedes promised at the concept stage that the GLA 45 would sprint past 62mph in less than five seconds – and it’s kept the promise. Mercedes claims 0-62mph in 4.8sec using the launch control mode, and a top speed limited to 155mph. That makes the GLA 45 exactly as fast as the bi-turbo V8-powered ML63 AMG – which costs £84,125.
>> Click here for CAR’s review of the Mercedes ML63 AMG
Tell me more about this performance 'bargain'
Reappearing under the bonnet is the world’s most powerful production road car four-cylinder engine, unchanged from the A45 and CLA 45 AMG. The 2.0-litre turbo mill squeezes out 355bhp and 332lb ft – more than the 3.4-litre flat-six of a Porsche 911 Carrera.
The low cylinder count equals stomachable claimed economy: the GLA 45 AMG returns 37.6mpg and 175g/km in official tests – a chunk better than the 306bhp Audi RSQ3’s 32.1mpg and 206g/km.
>> Click here for CAR’s first drive of the 306bhp Audi RSQ3
Also shared with its hot hatch sisters are the GLA 45’s seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox and part-time all-wheel drive system, which usually powers the a front wheels, but can direct up to 50% of drive to the rear wheels when it’s slippery (or the driver is leaden-footed).
The hardcore A45 has proved a divisive machine – CAR’s team love its all-weather tractability and pace, but not the bone-shaking ride and aloof character. Can the GLA 45 hit the sweet spot? Tell us your predictions in the comments below.
>> Click here for CAR’s Mercedes A45 AMG first drive
Heavy-duty axle assemblies, a retuned steering rack and fixed-rate sports suspension are also fitted, with an even stiffer hardcore damper option offered. Grey-painted monobloc brake calipers grip meaty cross-drilled discs – you can have the stoppers painted red, but there’s no carbon-ceramic option. Just as well – with a choice of 19in or 20in forged alloys, carbonfibre bodykit adornments, and a rally-spec rear wing, there’s plenty of add-ons to sidestep if you want to keep your GLA 45 AMG under £50k.
Will the A-class derived GLA 45 AMG feel like a £43,000 car inside?
The cabin’s hot hatch makeover is recognisable from the A45 AMG – no bad thing, so long as you like red garnish. Red stitching traces the dash-top, delightful AMG steering wheel and bucket seats, matching the Porsche GT3-alike red seatbelts.
The GLA’s column-mounted gear-selector is binned for an AMG centre console selector, and the dials ape the look of the hottest AMG yet, the SLS supercar.
>> Click here for CAR’s review of the Mercedes SLS AMG GT
When will I get my hands on one?
The GLA 45 will be unveiled on the Mercedes stand at the Detroit motor show later in January 2014. UK sales kick off soon after, teeing up a fight with the Audi RSQ3 (which costs exactly £43,000) and the Porsche Macan S, which offers 340bhp, and costs £43,300.
>> Click here for CAR’s first ride review of the Porsche Macan S