Mercedes-Benz is working on a new generation of its GLA-Class compact crossover SUV, and we have fresh spy shots and video of one of the Mercedes-AMG versions.
Yes, “versions” isn't a typo as AMG is offering two performance levels for the latest generation of Mercedes compact cars. In the case of the GLA, there will be a direct replacement for the current GLA45 plus a new GLA35 slotting below. Our latest shots show the GLA45 and prototypes for the GLA35 have also been spotted.
We know this is the GLA45 because of the multiple horizontal slats in the grille. The GLA35 only has a single bar. The prototype also has four exhaust tips at the rear. The design will help differentiate the GLA45 from the GLA35 which is coming with just two tips.
AMG has already revealed the new A45 and CLA45. Like those cars, this GLA45 will come with a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 making 382 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque in standard guise and 416 hp and 369 lb-ft in spicier S guise. An 8-speed dual-clutch transmission and rear-biased all-wheel drive will also be part of the package. The combination should result in 0-60 mph acceleration in 4.0 seconds or less.
Beyond the potent powertrain, the GLA45 will also benefit from the latest version of AMG's all-wheel-drive system for compact cars. The rear-biased system not only splits torque between the front and rear axles but also between the rear wheels thanks to a rear diff with two multi-plate clutches. This has allowed the AMG engineers to craft a Drift mode designed to make sideways action more controlled.
Concurrent with development of the GLA45, AMG engineers are working on the tamer GLA35. This model will also pack a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 but will offer 302 hp and 295 lb-ft. It will also come with a 7-speed dual-clutch and all-wheel drive with a 50:50 front-to-rear split.
2021 Mercedes-AMG GLA45 spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien
The redesigned GLA is expected on sale in mid-2020 as a 2021 model. The GLA35 and GLA45 should arrive at dealerships at roughly the same time.
Compact cars have proven to be big business for Mercedes. Buyers snapped up 609,000 examples of Mercedes' compacts in 2018, which accounted for 25 percent of the automaker's total sales volume, and the number this year is likely to be even higher due to the arrival of a redesigned range, plus new entries.