Unveiled in 2013, the Mercedes-Benz GLA is the company’s smallest crossover yet and shares underpinnings with the A-Class hatchback. Much like al Mercedes-Benz vehicles, it received its very own AMG version. Previewed by a concept car in 2013, the production model arrived in 2014 with the same engine as the awesome Mercedes A45 AMG hatch. The GLA45 joined a new niche in the compact luxury market, introduced by Audi with the RS Q3 a year before. As of 2017, the much rumored M version of the BMW X1 has yet to arrive, leaving only Mercedes-Benz and Audi to battle for supremacy in this segment.
Unveiled at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show, the Mercedes GLA45 AMG went on sale as the Edition 1, a promotional version fitted with high-gloss black Aerodynamics package with larger front splitter, additional flics in the front apron, and rear aerofoil. This model was available for only one year on the market, but it was quickly joined by the regular variant. A facelift was rolled out in 2017, only a few months after Mercedes-Benz unveiled the updated GLA.
Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes GLA45 AMG.
When compared to a base GLA model, the AMG model adds a sporty front apron with front splitter and an AMG "twin blade" grille
The 2015 Mercedes GLA45 AMG is distinguished by the usual design elements we’ve seen in all the AMG models launched in the past. When compared to a base GLA model, the AMG model adds an AMG front apron with front splitter and an AMG "twin blade" grille. New on the GLA45 AMG is the distinctive AMG lettering at the side between the louvers of the radiator grille and black flicks placed above the large cooling air intakes on the sides. The rear is updated with new diffuser inserts in matte titanium and a sports exhaust system with dual rectangular tailpipes.
The new GLA45 AMG also features standard bi-xenon headlights and AMG light-alloy wheels in three designs. Spicing things up a bit are "Turbo AMG" logos on the front wings and the aluminum roof rails. As with most of the AMG models, the GLA45 AMG model can be updated with a series of new packages. The first one is a new Aerodynamics package that adds a larger front splitter and additional flicks on the front apron and rear spoiler. There is also a new Carbon-Fiber package that adds carbon-fiber front splitter, side sill panel insert and rear apron trim, with twin blades on the grille in silver chrome.
Rendering Vs. Reality
There wasn’t too much guesswork in making our rendering, as we basically just took a GLA-Class, added the typical AMG elements, and there you have it. This is exactly why our rendering was so close to the real deal, sans some coloring details.
For the interior, the GLA45 AMG adds the same elements we’ve seen in previously launched AMG models. The sports seats are wrapped in a combination of leather and Dinamica microfiber with with red contrast stitching.
Mercedes also installed a three-spoke, Nappa leather-wrapped multi-function sports steering wheel with red contrasting stitching and shift paddles. Seated in the brushed-aluminum instrument panel is an AMG instrument cluster that gives the driver all the information needed on the SUV’s performance figures.
The new GLA45 AMG is powered by a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine that delivers 355 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque
The new GLA45 AMG is powered by a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine that delivers 355 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. The engine mates to an AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT seven-speed sports transmission with three driving modes: manual mode "M", sport mode "S" and "C" mode (Controlled Efficiency). Sounds familiar? It should, because it’s the exact same drivetrain offered in the Mercedes A45 AMG hatchback.
This drivetrain sprints the GLA45 AMG to 60 mph in just 4.8 seconds and up to a top speed of 155 mph (electronically limited). As expected, the new GLA45 AMG comes standard with 4MATIC all-wheel drive that ensures improved performance figures and updated driving dynamics. Even with just four cylinders pumping away, the exhaust note is that of a V-8, thanks to its AMG sports exhaust system that includes large pipe cross-sections and an automatically controlled exhaust flap.
Another interesting feature offered by the new GLA45 AMG is the AMG sports suspension, which features specially tuned spring and damper units, and the AMG high-performance braking system with vented and cross-drilled rotors. Customers can choose between standard five-twin-spoke wheels wrapped in 235/45R19 tires or optional, 10-spoke AMG light-alloy wheels with tires sized 235/40R20. Both are available in titanium grey with high-sheen finish, but the optional wheels also come in matte-black.
The Mercedes GLA45 AMG is priced from $49,225, including the $925 destination charge.
Also a beefed-up version of its stock sibling, the RS Q3 arrive a few months before the GLA45 AMG, thus we can consider as the crossover that started this whole niche. Equipped with typical RS features like more aggressive bumpers, a revised grille mesh, and exclusive features inside the cabin, the RS Q3 gets its juice from Audi’s already legendary 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine. The turbocharged unit cranks out 310 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque, which is enough to push it from 0 to 60 mph in around 5.3 seconds. Top speed is limited to 155 mph.
The X1 xDrive35i is not necessarily a performance variant, like the RS Q3 and the GLA 45 AMG, but its 300-horsepower, 3.0-liter six-cylinder puts it about on par with these models. Independent testing puts the X1 xDrive35i at 5.8 seconds to 60 mph, making it slightly slower than both the Audi and Mercedes models. Maybe an M model is in the cards for the tiny Bimmer SUV, but there is no word on it yet.
Though the GLA45 AMG doesn’t really shock us with its looks, we are amazed by its performance abilities. It easily trounces its two main competitors. That said, the big issue is the massive price of this peppy SUV, as Mercedes has a bad habit of coming in significantly higher than its competition. Overall, though, the GLA45 AMG is exactly what we were hoping for, and then some...
Powerful four-cylinder engine
AMG updates for both the interior and the interior
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.
About the author
Mercedes-AMG rigorously continues its product initiative: with the new GLA 45 AMG the performance brand of Mercedes-Benz makes a dynamic statement in the strongly growing segment of the compact SUV. The combination of powerful-distinctive design, exclusive appointments as well as superior engine power and driving performance is unique: the most powerful series-production four-cylinder engine in the world puts 265 kW (360 hp) of power and 450 Newton metres of torque on the road. The new GLA 45 AMG high-performance SUV also shines with regard to emissions and fuel consumption figures.
With a fuel consumption of 7.5 litres per 100 kilometres (NEDC combined; CO2: 175 g/km) and compliance with EU 6 emissions standards the GLA 45 AMG once more provides proof that at Mercedes-AMG maximum performance does not come at the expense of environmental compatibility. The GLA 45 AMG also holds the pole position with regard to driving dynamics: it accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 4.8 seconds and reaches a top speed of 250 km/h (electronically limited). Thanks to the combination of standard-fit performance-oriented AMG 4MATIC all-wheel-drive and the AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed sports transmission, the GLA 45 AMG impresses with its equally sporty and efficient drive system concept.
Tobias Moers, Chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes-AMG GmbH: "The response to the Concept GLA 45 AMG during the world première at the Los Angeles International Auto Show has reaffirmed our decision to launch this new AMG model. Currently there is no segment growing faster than that of compact SUVs. For Mercedes-AMG it is therefore a logical step to make a dynamic statement in this segment with the GLA 45 AMG. 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. Not least on account of the performance-oriented AMG 4MATIC all-wheel drive, the GLA 45 AMG is a true AMG when it comes to driving dynamics".
Young target group: styling, dynamics and independence
In addition to the A 45 AMG and CLA 45 AMG, the GLA 45 AMG is the third vehicle with four-cylinder turbo engine to appeal to a young target group. The trend-oriented customers set great store in styling, dynamics and independence – traits that are perfectly embodied in the new high-performance SUV from Affalterbach. Meeting a wide variety of customer desires has always been one of the strengths of Mercedes-AMG. The GLA 45 AMG now expands the extensive SUV line-up to five models (GLA 45 AMG, ML 63 AMG, GL 63 AMG, G 63 AMG and G 65 AMG). Mercedes-AMG thus offers the widest range of SUVs among all high-performance premium brands.
Hallmark AMG features: the world’s most powerful series-produced four-cylinder engine
Best in class: the engine of the GLA 45 AMG fully lives up to this claim, as a look at the figures shows. The AMG 2.0-litre turbo engine is the most powerful series-production four-cylinder turbo engine in the world. It produces 265 kW (360 hp) of power and develops a peak torque of 450 Newton metres. A power density of 133 kW (181 hp) puts the AMG high-performance turbo engine on a par with the world’s most powerful super sports cars.
Development of the high-performance turbo engine, which is part of the BlueDIRECT family, placed emphasis on a sustainable reduction in particulate emissions. Consequently the GLA 45 AMG today already complies with the second stage of the EU 6 emissions standards coming into effect in 2017. The AMG 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo engine features spray-guided direct petrol injection with piezo injectors positioned centrally in the four combustion chambers and an injection pressure of 200 bar. The combination of multiple fuel injection and multiple spark ignition improves fuel economy and significantly increases the thermodynamic efficiency, leading to low exhaust emissions. The injection system’s outstanding flexibility also ensures a high degree of freedom in terms of application. There are up to five injections per combustion cycle in the cold-start and warm-up phase, which is so crucial for emissions. One of the key factors for in-engine particulate reduction is a reduction of the individual injection quantities.
Further highlights of the AMG 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo engine:
Gravity-die sand-cast all-aluminium crankcase
Weight-optimised crank mechanism with forged steel crankshaft
Forged pistons with friction-optimised piston rings
NANOSLIDE cylinder liner technology
Air-to-water intercooling system
ECO start/stop function
Twin-scroll turbocharger and AMG sports exhaust system with exhaust flap
Mercedes-AMG addresses the basic challenge with regard to the throttle response of a small-capacity turbo engine by using a twin-scroll turbocharger, maximum dethrottling of the exhaust system and an innovative injection strategy. Twin-scroll technology provides for a more spontaneous build-up of charge pressure: Utilisation of the exhaust back-pressure, exhaust-gas temperature and exhaust-gas pulse has a positive impact. This results in a faster build-up of torque already at low engine speeds. A positive side-effect: fuel consumption and exhaust emissions also benefit from twin-scroll technology. With a maximum charge pressure of 1.8 bar, the AMG 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo engine leads the field on this front, too.
The AMG sports exhaust system in the GLA 45 AMG features large pipe cross-sections and an automatically controlled exhaust flap: this technology reconciles the two conflicting goals of a dynamic driving experience and hallmark Mercedes suitability for long-distance driving. The flap in the rear silencer is continuously adjusted under map control according to the driver’s performance needs, load condition and engine speed. The two rectangular chrome-plated twin tailpipes on the AMG sports exhaust system emit a fascinating exhaust note, which is particularly impressive during powerful acceleration. An AMG Performance exhaust system, also equipped with an exhaust flap, is available as an optional extra.
Customers opting for this system will experience an even more appealing and distinctive engine sound.
Engine production – a tradition of hand-built excellence
The AMG 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo engine is assembled purely by hand in accordance with the traditional AMG philosophy of "one man, one engine". Apart from serving as an AMG hallmark confirming superlative production quality, the AMG engine badge bearing the engine fitter’s signature also attests the peerless DNA of Mercedes-Benz’s high-performance brand.
AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed sports transmission
The AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed sports transmission in the GLA 45 AMG features three distinct transmission modes, a double-declutching function dependent on the transmission mode and a RACE START function for optimum acceleration. The strengths of the dual-clutch transmission include spontaneous gear shifts without loss of tractive power, a tailor-made control strategy based on the AMG SPEEDSHIFT functions, extremely smooth gear shifts, and a high level of efficiency.
The shift times in manual mode "M" and in sport mode "S" are similarly sporty in character to those of the SLS AMG GT super sports car. Quick and precise retardation of the ignition and suppressing injection under full load lead to even faster gear shifts in "M" and "S" modes, with a more thrilling sound. The transmission control fully utilises the benefits of the direct injection technology right up to the physical limits: the quicker engine response ensures that injection is suppressed with even more precision. The effect: the shift speed and an emotional sound experience have strong potential to fascinate.
Another special feature designed to enhance dynamic performance and driving pleasure is the so-called "Momentary M mode" – as seen in the SLS AMG Coupé Black Series super sports car.
In "C" mode (Controlled Efficiency), smooth transmission and engine characteristics support a fuel-efficient and comfort-oriented driving style. In addition, the ECO start/stop function is active in "C" mode.
Performance-oriented AMG 4MATIC all-wheel drive as standard
The GLA 45 AMG comes with variable AMG 4MATIC all-wheel drive as standard. In developing this all-wheel-drive system, the focus was firmly on performance and dynamic spirit. The all-wheel-drive system transfers the engine power to the road optimally and provides perfect traction – regardless of the weather conditions. It also elevates driving dynamics to the highest level.
The entire drive unit boasts a weight-saving and compact design: the power take-off unit (PTU) is fully integrated into the 7-speed sports transmission and handles the power transfer to the rear drivetrain. A two-part propeller shaft sends the power of the engine to the rear axle as well. In the interests of favourable weight distribution, an electro-hydraulically controlled
multiple-disc clutch is integral with the rear-axle differential. The multiple-disc clutch control detects slip at the front axle. A hydraulic pump instantaneously presses the discs together and channels the engine torque to the rear wheels as necessary. All this takes place without the driver noticing. Power distribution is fully variable: during normal driving the GLA 45 AMG uses front-wheel drive for optimal efficiency. When required by the driving situation, the variable all-wheel-drive system splits the torque between the front and rear axles up to a ratio of 50:50 percent.
Typically for AMG, the Electronic Stability Program is configured as a three-stage ESP®. The GLA 45 AMG comes with three transmission modes: "ESP ON", "SPORT Handling Mode" and "ESP OFF" – enabling the driver to vary dynamic performance according to individual requirements at the push of a button. ESP® Curve Dynamic Assist is likewise included as standard. During dynamic cornering, imperceptible braking intervention on the rear inside wheel creates a defined yaw moment about the vertical axis. The effect: the GLA 45 AMG turns in precisely and controllably at all times while unwelcome understeer is prevented.
AMG sports suspension and AMG high-performance braking system
One of the keys to agile handling is the axle technology: for enhanced driving dynamics, the McPherson front axle on the GLA 45 AMG is fitted with stiffer steering knuckles and new elastokinematics. The four-link rear axle has also been newly developed. Stability and precision of handling are enhanced by the optimised elastokinematics and the rigid connection between the subframe and the body. The AMG sports suspension with specially tuned spring/damper units and bigger anti-roll bars provides for high lateral acceleration and reduced body roll in fast double bends. An AMG performance suspension with firmer spring and damper tuning is available as an optional extra.
The AMG speed-sensitive sports steering with specific, speed-dependent
power assist ensures high steering precision and agility. The AMG high-performance braking system with vented, cross-drilled brake discs all-round and grey-painted brake callipers provides for spontaneous and reliable deceleration. Red brake callipers are available as an optional extra.
Three attractive AMG light-alloy wheels to choose from
In standard specification the GLA 45 AMG runs on 5-twin-spoke AMG light-alloy wheels painted titanium grey with high-sheen finish, mounted with tyres of size 235/45 R 19. As an optional extra from the AMG Performance Studio, customers can opt for larger 10-spoke AMG light-alloy wheels with tyres of size 235/40 R 20 – these are available painted titanium grey with high-sheen finish or painted matte black with high-sheen rim flange.
Powerful and distinctive: sensual clarity plus elements exclusive to AMG
The design of the GLA 45 AMG exudes fascination on account of its powerful and distinctive character. As the powerful AMG top-of-the-line model of the GLA class, the high-performance SUV combines the hallmark sensual clarity of Mercedes-Benz as an expression of modern luxury with muscular elements exclusive to AMG. The AMG front apron with front splitter and the AMG "twin blade" radiator grille provide athletic highlights – both are painted matte titanium grey. Completely new: the distinctive AMG lettering at the side between the louvres of the radiator grille. This will make all new AMG models easy to recognise in future.
Black flics (air deflector elements) above the large cooling air intakes at the sides are indicative of motor sport. Bi-xenon headlamps come as standard.
When viewed from the side, the distinctive AMG light-alloy wheels in three design variants catch the eye. The side sill panels with matte titanium grey inserts, the "TURBO AMG" lettering on the front wings and the aluminium roof rails lend the GLA 45 AMG a special touch. The rear end is dominated by the diffuser insert with matte titanium grey trim and by the rectangular, chrome-plated tailpipe trim of the twin tailpipes of the AMG sports exhaust system with exhaust flap.
The following AMG equipment features can optionally upgrade the exterior design:
Aerodynamics package: larger front splitter, additional flics on the front apron, rear spoiler, Night package
Carbon-fibre exterior mirror housings
Exterior Carbon-Fibre package: carbon-fibre front splitter, side sill panel insert and rear apron trim, with twin blade of the radiator grille in silver chrome
Night package: privacy windows, black anodised waistline trim strip, silver chrome radiator grille louvres; high-gloss black front splitter, exterior mirrors, side sill panel insert and rear apron trim, two tailpipes with black rectangular trim
Red painted brake callipers with black AMG lettering
Interior design: high-quality, sporty, exclusive
As in all AMG high-performance automobiles, the interior of the GLA 45 AMG delights with its high-quality appeal, combined with sporty flair and exclusive equipment features. Sports seats in ARTICO man-made leather/DINAMICA microfibre with red contrasting topstitching and red designo safety belts are just as much on board as the AMG DRIVE UNIT. The 3-spoke nappa leather multifunction sports steering wheel with red contrasting topstitching, perforated leather in the grip area and steering-wheel shift paddles allows for perfect vehicle control. The AMG instrument cluster with 2-tube design and central colour display, AMG main menu and RACETIMER is on hand to provide information to the driver. On opening the door, the driver is greeted by the AMG start-up screen. The trim of the instrument panel is of brushed aluminium and, in tandem with the brushed stainless-steel AMG front door sills, emphasises the high-grade, exclusive ambiance inside the GLA 45 AMG.
The interior can be upgraded with the following AMG optional extras:
Performance steering wheel in black nappa leather/Alcantara® including E‑SELECT selector lever with embossed AMG emblem and electronic master key with AMG emblem, floor mats with embroidered AMG lettering
Performance seats upholstered in ARTICO man-made leather/DINAMICA microfibre for driver and front passenger, with more strongly contoured seat shape for enhanced lateral support and with integral head restraints, red designo safety belts
Black, crystal grey, nut brown or black RED CUT upholstery
Expressive and exclusive: the GLA 45 AMG "Edition 1"
The GLA 45 AMG "Edition 1" is a special option. The expressive arrangement of exclusive exterior and interior details arouses pure fascination. The high-gloss black Aerodynamics package with larger front splitter, additional flics in the front apron, and rear aerofoil creates an uncompromising racetrack feel. The silver grey/red AMG racing stripes on the vehicle sides below the "dropping line" leave a lasting impression. These are complemented by red highlights on radiator grille, exterior mirrors, diffuser insert and rear aerofoil. A perfect match are the red painted brake callipers and multi-spoke AMG light-alloy wheels painted matte black with red rim flanges. The light-alloy wheels feature special AMG wheel hub covers with central-lock look, and are mounted with tyres of size 235/40 R 20 all-round. The AMG Night package is also part of the standard equipment, as is the "Edition 1" badge on the front wing. The metallic paints cosmos black, polar silver and mountain grey are available as an alternative to the cirrus white exterior paintwork.
The interior of the GLA 45 AMG "Edition 1" is dominated by the colours black and red. Red contrasting topstitching adorns the AMG Performance seats in ARTICO man-made leather/DINAMICA microfibre, the door centre panels, the upper section of the ARTICO man-made leather/DINAMICA microfibre instrument panel and the nappa leather/DINAMICA microfibre AMG Performance steering wheel. Other visual highlights are the E-SELECT lever with embossed AMG emblem and the "Edition 1" badge on the AMG DRIVE UNIT. The exclusive trim on the instrument panel is the perfect match for the AMG racing stripes on the sides of the vehicle. The high-quality surface has a convincing look and feel: shiny and matte elements create an exciting interplay with the diamond pattern and AMG lettering on the right-hand side.
Web special allows people to interactively experience the GLA 45 AMG
The web special developed specifically for the GLA 45 AMG also allows people to interactively experience the new high-performance SUV from Mercedes-AMG. In addition, all visitors can view comments, films and pictures from fans of the AMG Twitter and Facebook pages on the site’s "social wall", where they can also post their own comments. The web special can be accessed on the internet at www.mercedes-amg.com/webspecial/gla45
The new Mercedes-Benz GLA 45 AMG will celebrate its world première on 13 January 2014 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, USA. The sales release will start in mid-March 2014, with the market launch beginning in July 2014.