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Mercedes-AMG launches new 421hp GLA 45 S

The GLA was an unexpected star of the previous '45 range; let's hope for more of the same

By Matt Bird / Thursday, February 27, 2020

While it's easy to be dismissive of the 'utility' aspect of modern sports utility vehicles, Mercedes is clear about the possibilities for the new GLA 45 S. "A brisk lap of the race circuit or a weekend trip to the mountains with your sports gear stowed in the back: the new GLA 45 4Matic+ and GLA 45 4Matic+ S are the assured masters of a multitude of disciplines." And that's just the first sentence of the press release...

So the GLA 45 gets a sequel, following very much in the tyre tracks of what went before: it's like an A45, but more lifestyley. As with the hatch, the UK will only get the 421hp S version, which in a GLA is powerful enough for a 4.3-second dash to 62mph. Mercedes itself says the car "jostles with considerably higher vehicle classes"; assuming the weight hasn't climbed too significantly from the hatch - which has a kerbweight of 1,555kg - the GLA looks likely to put a lot of power in a reasonably compact, not obscenely heavy package. For reference an RS Q3, likely the GLA's closest rival, is 1,700kg.

Otherwise, it's a direct carry over from the A-Class, which is no bad thing given how good that car is: same eight-speed DCT, same 4Matic+ four-wheel drive with AMG Torque Control rear differential, same AMG Ride Control adaptive damping, same MacPherson strut/four-link rear suspension set-up... You get the picture. But just in case you don't, it's worth noting this particular AMG 45 S also shares the six-piston, 360mm front brakes, AMG Dynamics 'integrated agility control' and reinforced bodyshell of the AMG 45 S we already know.

Obviously, however, there are certain aspects that differentiate GLA from A, most noticeably in the "athletic and muscular interior". Points of note from Mercedes include the bonnet powerdomes, AMG grille, wider arches, 90mm tailpipes and bespoke aero bits; for what it's worth the S also comes as standard on 20-inch wheels, an inch up on the hatch. Moreover, there are 21s on the options list, which will surely benefit the "emotional appeal" of the exterior, yet may well adversely impact the ride.

The interior will again be familiar to any A-Class users, carrying over the MBUX infotainment, customisable dash display and AMG Track Pace data logger. For customers of the GLA 45 S, the AMG Performance wheel seen here is standard, as are the yellow highlights. Yes, really. They "emphasise the motor racing heritage", you see.

While this is hardly likely to appeal to the die-hard AMG fans, the inexorable rise of the performance SUV fairly guaranteed the arrival of a second-gen GLA45. And, whisper it, but the last GLA wasn't bad, keeping the hatch's bombastic performance while softening off the ride a tad. Given how well received the new A45 has been, it wouldn't be absurd to have high expectations for this car - whatever you think about the concept. Hey, and if it doesn't appeal, there'll probably be a GLB45 on the way soon as well...


 

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