Mercedes GLA45 AMG revealed

  • High-performance SUV unveiled at Detroit
  • 349bhp and 0-62mph in 4.8sec
  • On sale in the spring, from around £40k

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This is the Mercedes GLA45 AMG, a new high-performance version of the baby SUV that's designed to take on the Audi Q3 RS.

The GLA45 AMG gets the same highly tuned 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine as the A45 AMG hot hatchback - and that car's four-wheel-drive system and seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Its 349bhp and 332lb ft are enough to take the GLA45 AMG from 0-62mph in 4.8sec - more than half a second less than the Q3 RS's time. The GLA45 AMG's top speed is an electronically limited 155mph. Its CO2 emissions are 175g/km and the government average fuel economy is 37.6mpg.

The new model gets a number of styling modifications over the regular GLA, including a larger front splitter, a rear spoiler, carbonfibre side mirror housings, privacy glass, rectangular exhaust pipes and a new design of 19in alloy wheels (20in wheels are also available).

The cabin features sports front seats trimmed in Artico (man-made leather), a brushed aluminium dashboard finish, Nappa leather on the steering wheel and an AMG instrument cluster featuring a race timer. 

The seven-speed gearbox can run as an automatic or be controlled via paddles mounted behind the steering wheel. The AMG chassis set-up features three stages of electronic stability programme - regular, 'Sport handling mode' and off - allowing various levels of computer assistance. The AMG modifications to the regular GLA's suspension include a reprofiled rear axle, stiffer steering knuckles, thicker anti-roll bars and retuned springs and dampers. An even firmer set-up will be available as an option.

The GLA45 AMG will make its public debut at next week's Detroit motor show. Mercedes has yet to announce an on-sale date for the UK, let alone pricing, but we'd expect a figure of just over £40,000 when sales start in late spring.

By John McIlroy

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