Offering an early look at an upcoming addition to the burgeoning AMG side of the family, the 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG makes its world debut at the Detroit Auto Show. Although a bit more visually understated than the Concept GLA45 AMG that was introduced at the Los Angeles Auto Show last November, the production GLA45 AMG retains all of the attitude embodied in that fully engineered one-off compact crossover as well as its high-intensity all-wheel drive powertrain.
Like the Concept GLA45 AMG, this volume-build version gets a comprehensive exterior revamp that includes a full AMG body kit plus unique trim cues that set it apart from a standard GLA-Class. The edgy upgrading starts up front with a bolder fascia, deeper splitter, distinctive "twin-blade" grille with new signature AMG badging and bigger air intakes set off with black air-channeling "flics" as well as standard bi-xenon headlamps. Custom side sills with matte titanium gray inserts and 19-inch AMG alloy wheels wrapped in 235/45 tires pop the GLA45 AMG's profile - although 20-inch AMG Performance Studio alternatives with 235/40 rubber are optional - while the tail boasts a custom titanium-gray diffuser that incorporates dual-paired chrome exhaust outlets.
Based on the same platform architecture as the CLA-Class Sedan, the GLA45 AMG also is fitted with the turbocharged AMG 2.0-liter turbocharged engine used in the hot CLA45 AMG. Here too, the world's most powerful series-production 4-cylinder makes 335 horses and 332 lb-ft of torque which gets sent to an AMG Speedshift DCT 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Power is dispersed to all four wheels via an AMG-spec version of the automaker's new, lightweight 4Matic all-wheel drive system. In keeping with AMG tradition, the engine is handbuilt by a single craftsman while the Speedshift automatic features custom shift mapping in its Manual, Sport and Controlled Efficiency modes as well as an additional Race Start setting that optimizes off-the-line acceleration. Mercedes is projecting 0-60 mph times for the GLA45 AMG at 4.8 seconds as well as a top speed of 155 mph.
To ensure that power gets transferred to the pavement most efficiently, the CLA45 AMG also benefits from a comprehensive chassis revamp that complements the enthusiast-grade AWD setup with an AMG-enhanced suspension featuring tauter springs/shocks/anti-roll bars, AMG speed-sensitive power steering and tri-mode (On/Sport/Off) electronic stability control system as well as Curve Dynamic Assist. Rounding out the mix are upgraded AMG high-performance brakes. Harder core drivers will be able to add even more capability to the GLA45 AMG by opting for a dedicated AMG Performance Suspension, aerodynamics package and a rear spoiler as well as an exterior Carbon Fiber package.
The well-appointed cabin of this maximum Mercedes GLA-Class reflects a similar kind of high-energy character. Deeply bolstered front buckets trimmed in MB-Tex with Dinamica microfiber inserts and red contrast stitching are complemented by AMG-designed instrumentation and a 3-spoke Nappa-leather-covered multifunction sport steering wheel with shifter paddles plus unique brushed-aluminum and brushed-stainless steel accents. Buyers also will be able to step up the look and feel with even more form-fitting sport seats, custom leather appointments and carbon fiber accents.
As a final touch, when the GLA45 AMG arrives in showrooms this fall it will be offered with a limited-run Edition 1 option. Beyond a more aggressive Aerodynamics Package that also adds numerous black and red cosmetic accents, the exterior of the Edition 1 will feature special 20-inch AMG alloys with center-lock-look hubs and 235/40 tires as well as the Night Package that brings a host of additional blackout elements. A study in black and red, the Edition 1 interior nets the AMG performance seats and performance steering wheel plus exclusive gloss and matte trim. Pricing for the 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG will be announced closer to its on-sale date here in the U.S.
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