Why the 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG Matters:
Technically, the performance-tuned Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG crossover suv that the automaker drove onto the stage at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show is a concept vehicle. But by the company’s own admission, what was shown in L.A. is “very close to production” specification. Therefore, and to put it simply, this vehicle matters because it is scheduled to arrive in Mercedes-Benz showrooms next year, just in time to woo performance SUV buyers who might otherwise get an Audi SQ5 or Porsche Macan.
What’s New for the 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG:
- 355-horsepower, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine
- No, that’s not a typo, thanks to turbocharging
- AMG-massaged mechanicals and styling
- Zero to 60 in less than five seconds
New 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG: Styling and Design
Mercedes characterizes the concept version of the GLA45 AMG as “breathtaking.” Make what you might of that hyperbole. I’m simply going to explain how the vehicle you see in the photos is different from a production GLA 250.
To separate the GLA45 AMG model from the vehicle upon which it is based, Mercedes installs 21-inch forged aluminum wheels wrapped in 255/35 performance tires, painted matte black with a red rim flange and fronting an AMG high-performance braking system with red-painted calipers. High-gloss black paint is used for the oversized front splitter, side sill trim, roof rails, rear roof spoiler, and AMG sports exhaust outlets. The GLA45 AMG also has larger front air intakes, a twin-blade grille in silver chrome, and a “TURBO AMG” badge.
That loud enough for ya?
New 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG: What’s Under the Hood
According to Mercedes, the GLA45 AMG contains “the most powerful 4-cylinder engine in the world.” They’re talking series production, of course. Nevertheless, it’s a claim backed up by 355 horsepower and 332 lb.-ft. of torque wrung from two liters of displacement. When you think about it, that’s a damn miracle. The same size engine in a Dodge Dart delivers just 160 horses and 148 lb.-ft.
Yeah, I know, apples and oranges. Still, the comparison demonstrates the astounding talent at work in Affalterbach.
A 7-speed AMG SpeedShift Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) and an AMG Performance 4Matic all-wheel-drive system fortify the GLA45 AMG’s turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, and Mercedes claims this crossover rockets to 60 mph in less than five seconds.
New 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG: Features and Technology
Due to the conceptual nature of the GLA45 AMG displayed in Los Angeles, Mercedes shared few details about the production version of the vehicle. We’re pretty sure it won’t have those big “45” decals on the doors or the “AMG” logo on the windshield, though.
One detail the automaker did share is that the AMG sports exhaust system is equipped with an electronically controlled variable vane system that allows the driver to modulate the GLA45 AMG’s exhaust note. We’d also bet that the same equipment offered for the GLA250 will be present and accounted for with the GLA45 AMG, including the SUV’s numerous safety systems and its cloud-based mBrace2 connectivity and concierge services system.
New 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG: What Autobytel Thinks
In Los Angeles, Mercedes told the assembled media that its future product strategy calls for 30 different AMG variants of its models. Does that mean those three iconic letters have come to represent the equivalent of a Sport Package? Nope, not even close. A Sport Package doesn’t contain the most powerful series-production 4-cylinder in the world. Ever.
Still, we can’t help but wonder if AMG-ifying everything in the lineup doesn’t somehow dilute the impact and weight of the sub-brand, especially in light of how lots of nouveau riche customers walk into their local Mercedes dealership and buy the AMG version for no other reason than it is the most expensive model, making it the equivalent of jewelry.
While the engineering contained within the GLA45 AMG is masterful, most of the people likely to buy this beast won’t have any idea what it can do. And if these people who did the bare minimum to obtain a driver’s license try to find out, well…let’s just say it’s a good thing that it comes with Collision Prevention Assist.
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