Mercedes takes wraps off its red hot GLA 45 AMG crossover

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Mercedes-Benz GLA 45 AMG (X 156) 2013

Following Audi's recent decision to plonk a molten-hot 306bhp engine in the bulbous crossover shell of its Q3 range, the boys from Mercedes' AMG division have decided to create a performance version of its crossover GLA model.

Set to be officially unveiled next week at the Detroit motor show, the potent GLA 45 AMG packs the same 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engine as the CLA 45 AMG and the A45 AMG models that develops an almighty 355bhp and 450Nm torque – the most impressive power to displacement ratio currently on the market.

To ensure the GLA 45 AMG performs in line with its chunky crossover exterior, Mercedes has fitted its 4MATIC all-wheel drive system, thrusting power to all four corners via a seven-speed, twin-clutch gearbox.

AMG engineers claim that this results in improved handling in all weather conditions and Porsche-baiting performance figures. The 0-62mph sprint takes just 4.8 seconds and the engine can rocket the machine up to an electronically limited top speed of 155mph.

The impressive 2.0-litre engine is also cleaner and more efficient than the previously mentioned Audi RS Q3 model, producing just 175g/km CO2 and returning a diesel engine rivalling 37.6mpg.

Despite the off-road trim, the GLA 45 AMG will be sold with AMG sports suspension that is said to reduce body roll and offer better cornering precision, so don't expect to be tackling too many off-road courses in this anytime soon.

Fellow road users will be able to spot the new model thanks to the AMG apron front splitter, TURBO AMG lettering on the front wings, 19-inch alloy wheels and the chrome-plated twin tailpipes.

Inside, customers are treated to sports seats, contrasting stitching, a three-spoke nappa leather sports steering wheel and an AMG-specific instrument cluster complete with a RACETIMER function that gives sporty readouts to the driver.

Pricing and further information will be revealed at the Detroit motor show later this month, with order books opening in June.

Mercedes GLA 45 AMG

Mercedes GLA 45 AMG