The Mercedes-Benz GLA has previously been known more for its tin can-like drive quality than as a zippy choice for commuters. The 2021 GLA redesign took care of much of the crossover’s image problems and a new power infusion from Mercedes-AMG is taking care of the second bit. Meet the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLA 45.
The fresh model is powered by the company’s new M139 2.0-liter turbo-four that delivers 382 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque. That’s a lot for a little package. Engineers have paired the engine with AMG’s eight-speed dual-clutch transmission (manual transmission mode is standard). Top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph and the crossover can get from zero to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds.
Mercedes has opted to up the crossovers rigidity over the traditional GLA.Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz
Race-Start functionality is standard on the model as are other drive modes including Comfort, Slippery, Sport, Sport+, Race, and Individual. Switch the crossover into Pro or Master mode (available with the AMG Dynamic Plus package) and the system switches into Sport mode.
All-wheel drive is standard and has active torque control functionality that can determine which wheels get how much power based on the driving conditions.
Mercedes brags that the model’s new body structure, struts, and suspension allows it to be more rigid which limits body roll, even at higher speeds. An adaptive damping system, called Ride Control, allows drivers to choose from three different settings. Additionally, AMG engineers attached a lightweight aluminum plate under the engine, known as the “shearing plate”, to increase torsional rigidity and added diagonal struts at the front and rear.
The SUV is electronically limited to 155 mph.Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz
The German automaker has upped the impact of the brakes as well. At the front of the GLA 45 are four-piston fixed front calipers act on 13.8 x 1.3 in brake discs, while at the rear axle, one-piston floating calipers act on 13.0 x 0.9 in brake discs. The discs are internally ventilated and perforated to better dissipate heat and prevent brake fading, even with extreme use. The grey-painted brake calipers feature white AMG lettering.
The interior of the GLA 45 has been given the standard AMG treatment. Upholstery is a combination of black MB-Tex with Dinamica with red double topstitching,
red seat belts’ nd a carbon fiber-look trim on the dashboard. MB-Tex in Neva Grey/Black with mid-grey double topstitching and light-longitudinal-grain aluminum trim, four other leather upholsteries, and AMG Performance seats are available.
In front of the driver, the instrument screen features three different appearance options: Comfort, Sport, and Supersport. The Supersport mode features a three-dimensional perspective. Via the AMG menu, the driver can call up various special displays such as gear speed indicator, Warm-up, Set-up, G-Meter, Racetimer, and Engine Data.
A number of leather and Dinamica interior upholstery options are available.Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz
AMG Race Pace technology gives the model track day functionality with the ability to count laps, keep track of times, and continuously monitors over 80 sets of data.
The model will go on sale later this year and be priced at a premium over the traditional GLA. The 2019 GLA 45 started around $53,000 and there was no 2020 model.