The new Mercedes GLA compact SUV has been given the 45 treatment courtesy of AMG, packing up to 416bhp in its most potent form.
It's the latest model to receive Affalterbach's M139 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, the most powerful four-cylinder in series production, and joins the A45 and CLA 45 in AMG's compact performance line-up.
Like its stablemates, the GLA 45 produces 382bhp in standard form, while the top-rung S model brings an additional 33bhp – making it the most powerful compact crossover available. Mercedes claims the standard car will sprint from 0-62mph in 4.4 seconds, with the S shaving 0.1 seconds off that time. The S also goes without the standard car's speed limiter, taking top speed up from 155mph to 168mph.
Both can be told apart from the standard GLA by performance-oriented bodywork additions including powerdomes in the bonnet, flared wheel arches and prominent air intakes.
The GLA 45 is equipped with a variable four-wheel-drive system that uses torque vectoring technology to send different amounts of power to each rear wheel according to the driving situation. Both wheels are equipped with their own electronically controlled multi-disc clutch, allowing each to be disengaged from its drive shaft individually.
An eight-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox features, and has been configured to offer spontaneous acceleration at all speeds.
The crossover also gains a bespoke AMG suspension set-up, said to offer enhanced rolling refinement over the previous model while allowing "easy vehicle control at the limits". Further improvements include reduced torque steer under acceleration and more responsive steering.
A range of driving modes allow the car to be set up for its intended use. The GLA 45's 'Race-Start' function is said to provide "a highly emotional experience", by maximising acceleration from stationary and pausing ignition between gears for a more noticeable shift. By contrast, Eco Mode places an emphasis on efficiency, with stop-start and coasting functionalities helping to save fuel.
The interior recieves the usual AMG treatment, including sports bucket seats, a bespoke steering wheel with drive mode selection and customisable shortcut buttons, and a special sports view for the digital instrument cluster.
Only the more potent GLA45 S will come to the UK; it's expected this summer, with prices from around £52,000.