All-rounded 306hp GLA 35 and slightly insane 421hp GLA 45 detailed. Bonus: Singapore launch for regular GLA model soon
Mercedes-AMG has shown off the high-performance versions of the new, second-generation GLA small SUV.
To give their full names: The Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 4Matic, and Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 4Matic+.
Both cars follow the established playbook laid down by similar, small Mercedes-AMG models, like the A-Class and CLA: A 2.0-litre AMG-tickled engine, all-wheel drive, updated components and tech, depending on the performance level.
Mercedes-Benz Singapore hasn’t given an indication of when the cars will arrive here, but given that the regular GLA is launching here soon (read more below), we could expect the AMG models in early 2021.
Both cars look quite similar from the outside – the giveaways are that the 45 has more obvious openings on its air intakes in front of the front wheels, it also has the red brake calipers, and quad tailpipes on the rear.
The GLA 35 is the mid-range, hot-but-not-nuts model, comparable to an Audi S car, or BMW’s MPA models. It has a 2.0-litre turbo with 306hp and 400Nm of torque all shuffled through an eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox and then on to all four wheels.
The all-wheel drive system is capable of full front-wheel drive and a maximum of 50:50 front rear torque split.
0-100km/h is cracked in a quick 5.2 seconds, with a 250km/h top speed, while efficiency figures are reported at 7.5L/100km and 171g/km of CO2. A reinforced chassis includes stiffer suspension, larger 19-inch wheels, adaptive suspension (‘AMG Ride Control’) and a high-performance brake system with larger discs.
The interior sees the AMG steering wheel – with optional mode dials – and AMG displays, including the Track Pace app that lets you define your own racetrack and clock lap times via GPS, and more.
The previous GLA 45 was riot to drive, so much that we dubbed it the ‘Gila Monster’ in our review. This one looks to be more of the same, since it has the most powerful production inline four around, the ‘full’ AMG 2.0-litre with 421hp – that’s pretty nutty, keeping in mind that the current BMW M3 had 430hp at launch.
Like the other ‘Full’ AMG cars, there’s a standard version (387hp) and the S version (421hp), and if Singapore trends are anything to go by, Mercedes-AMG will simply skip the standard and only sell the S model.
The raw figures are: 421hp, 500Nm, 0-100km/h in 4.3 seconds, 270km/h top speed. The guilty bit is 9.3L/100km and 212g/km CO2.
One interesting titbit: The GLA 45 has its engine flipped around compared to the 35 model, meaning the intake duct is in front and the turbos/exhaust behind, which AMG says allows for better air flow and overall a flatter front nose section (although visually the 35 and 45 look identical in photos).
Like the 35, the 45 has an eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox and all-wheel drive, but it also has an additional rear differential so the car can not only split torque between the front and rear axle, but also the left and right rear wheels individually, improving performance. The brake system of the 35 and 45 ‘non-S’ are the same, but the 45 S has 360mm front discs and red-coloured six-pot calipers.
The interior sees a AMG Performance steering wheel as standard – it has the Alcantara-esque fabric and nappa leather covering, galvanised shifter paddles, the performance mode selector buttons, and stitching that matches the sport seat colour (yellow only for the S model).
Compared to the 35, the 45 has extended driving modes through the AMG Dynamic Select systme: The former has Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport+, Individual, while the 45 adds a further Race mode. The AMG Dynamics (like ESP, except it helps you drive quicker) also adds a ‘Master’ mode, over the Basic and Advanced modes of the 35.
The new GLA was announced in December 2019, and thanks to it attaining a proper size and soft-roader stature, we christened it finally a proper SUV. In an important aside, the new GLA is on track to launch in Singapore as soon as next month.
We haven’t any detailed info on the variants and models, but the GLA 200 should be a sure bet for the Singapore market. Interestingly, Mercedes has also announced a plug-in hybrid model internationally – the GLA 250e – and there’s also no news of that car being available here yet either.