How much power should a premium subcompact crossover pack? If you ask Audi Sport, they’ll tell you that 400 PS (395 hp / 294 kW) and 480 Nm (354 lb-ft) of torque is enough. That’s how much the 2.5-liter turbo-five found in the new RS Q3 makes.
Mercedes-AMG’s answer to that question will come in the form of the next GLA 45 that we’ve spied here testing in Europe. Affalterbach’s model will pack the same 2.0-liter four-banger as the latest A45 hatchbach and CLA 45 coupe-sedan models, and that means it will be both less and more powerful than the RS Q3.
Confused? Let us explain; in those two siblings, the four-cylinder develops 387 PS (382 hp / 285 kW) and 480 Nm (354 lb-ft) of torque in standard form, and 421 PS (415 hp / 310 kW) and 500 Nm (369 lb-ft) of torque in flagship ‘S’ guise. Unsurprisingly, the 2021 GLA 45 will retain the same output as well as the eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and 4Matic+ all-wheel drive system with AMG Torque control found in its A45 / CLA 45 brethren.
The more potent GLA 45 S should return a zero to 62mph (100km/h) acceleration time of around four seconds, while also featuring a Drift Mode function that will feed most power to the rear wheels.
You won’t confuse it for anything else, except perhaps for the new A35, as it will sit closer to the road than the rest of the regular GLA family. Further differentiating it from the other GLAs will be AMG’s new Panamericana grille at the front with vertical slats and a sporty body kit, complemented by large wheels, which in the case of the prototype we spied, were 20-inch shod in 255/40 ZR 20 rubber. You can add the quad exhaust pipes to the list too.
The cockpit layout will look almost identical to its A45 AMG hatchback sibling, with a dual-screen infotainment system and digital dials with a unique to this model graphics dominating the dashboard. Front body-hugging sport seats, a thick rimmed flat-bottom steering wheel wrapped in Alcantara, contrast stitching and piano black inserts find their way inside as well.
Mercedes hasn’t said when it plans to launch the new GLA 45 AMG, but unless they surprise us at the LA Auto Show this month, we will see on or before next year’s Geneva Auto Show in March.
Picture credits: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien for Carscoops