Equipped with what Mercedes-Benz claims is "the most powerful series-production 4-cylinder engine in the world," the 2015 GLA45 AMG will debut at next week's 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The compact crossover SUV's hand-built, turbocharged, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine is rated to generate 355 horsepower and 332 lb.-ft. of torque, and Mercedes says it will accelerate to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds on its way to a top speed of 155 mph.
"Our new high-performance SUV not only offers the world's most powerful series-production four-cylinder engine, but also impressively low fuel consumption and emissions figures," said Tobias Moers, chairman of the management board at Mercedes-AMG GmbH. "Not least on account of the performance-oriented AMG 4Matic 4-wheel drive, the GLA45 AMG is a true AMG when it comes to driving dynamics."
A 7-speed AMG SpeedShift Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) feeds the engine's prodigious power to the AMG 4Matic 4WD system, which turns the front wheels until driving conditions require otherwise. Up to 50% of engine output can be transferred to the GLA45 AMG's rear wheels. The transmission offers manual shifting via paddle shifters, and can be placed in Controlled Efficiency, Sport, Manual, and RaceStart driving modes.
When operated in Controlled Efficiency mode, an Eco start/stop system shuts the engine off when the GLA45 AMG is idling in traffic or at an intersection in order to improve fuel economy and to reduce emissions. The stability control system provides ESP On, ESP Off, and Sport Handling Mode settings, and standard ESP Curve Dynamic Assist brakes the SUV's inside rear wheel to help prevent understeer when taking corners with gusto.
In addition to the powerful engine, sophisticated transmission, and multi-mode stability control system, the 2015 Mercedes GLA45 AMG features a standard AMG sports suspension, speed-sensing AMG sports steering, and an AMG sports exhaust. Optionally, buyers can select an AMG performance exhaust system and a firmer AMG performance suspension setup. Every GLA45 AMG is equipped with an AMG high-performance braking system that has vented and drilled discs at each corner, clamped by gray-painted brake calipers. Red-painted brake calipers are optional.
The 2015 Mercedes GLA45 AMG comes standard with 19-inch, 5-spoke AMG wheels finished in Titanium Gray, and wrapped in P235/45R19 tires. As an option, buyers can select 20-inch, 10-spoke AMG wheels with P235/40R20 tires, finished in Titanium Gray or Matte Black.
Either color complements the GLA45 AMG's Titanium Matte Gray exterior trim, aluminum roof rails, side sill panels, and "Turbo AMG" badges. Other design modifications compared to a standard GLA250 model include a redesigned front end with a front splitter, twin-blade AMG grille, black air deflectors above the oversized air intakes, and bi-xenon headlights. Around back, a rear diffuser insert and twin rectangular exhaust outlets finished in chrome help to identify the AMG version of the new GLA-Class SUV.
Inside, the GLA45 AMG features front sport seats upholstered with MB-Tex leatherette and Dinamica microfiber with red contrast stitching, and a 3-spoke multi-function sports steering wheel wrapped in Nappa leather with red contrast stitching and perforations in the grip areas. Additional upgrades include AMG instrumentation and Racetimer technology, red Designo seat belts, brushed aluminum dashboard trim, and brushed stainless-steel doorsill plates.
Optional design upgrades include an Aerodynamics package, Night package, Exterior Carbon Fiber package, carbon fiber outside mirror housings, rear spoiler, and red-painted brake calipers. The GLA45 AMG's cabin can be fitted with leather seats, Alcantara trim for the steering wheel, and carbon-fiber dashboard accents. Upgraded performance seats are also available, featuring MB-Tex and Dinamica or leather.
If you're quick, you can grab the Mercedes GLA45 AMG Edition 1, a special introductory model painted in Cirrus White, Cosmos Black, Polar Silver, or Mountain Gray. Equipped with the Aerodynamics package and the Night package, the GLA45 AMG Edition 1 features AMG racing stripes, Matte Black 20-inch wheels, red-painted brake calipers, and red exterior trim highlights. Black and red dominate the interior, too, which gets AMG performance seats in MB-Tex/Dinamica, an upgraded steering wheel with leather/Alcantara, and dashboard trim to match the exterior racing stripes. "Edition 1" badges set this special-edition version apart from other GLA45 AMG models, inside and out.
The 2015 Mercedes GLA45 AMG goes on sale in the fall of 2014, for a price yet to be determined.