In-Depth: Mercedes GLA45 AMG

Mercedes GLA45 AMG with the most powerful series-production four-cylinder engine in the world puts 355 hp of power and 332 lb-ft of torque on the road

by  Chris Danielson  | 

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Mercedes-AMG rigorously continues its product initiative: with the new GLA45 AMG the performance brand of Mercedes-Benz makes a dynamic statement in the strongly growing segment of compact SUVs. The combination of powerful-distinctive design, exclusive appointments as well as superior engine power and driving performance is unique: the most powerful series-production four-cylinder engine in the world puts 355 hp of power and 332 lb-ft of torque on the road.

2015 Mercedes GLA45 AMG front Grille

2015 Mercedes GLA45 AMG

The GLA45 AMG also holds pole position with regard to driving dynamics: it accelerates from zero to 0-60 mph in 4.8 seconds and reaches a top speed of 155 mph (electronically limited). Thanks to the combination of standard AMG Performance 4MATIC all-wheel drive and AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed dual- clutch sports transmission, the GLA45 AMG impresses with its equally sporty and efficient drive system concept.

Tobias Moers, Chairman of the Management Board at Mercedes-AMG GmbH: “The response to the Concept GLA45 AMG during the world premiere at the Los Angeles International Auto Show has reaffirmed our decision to launch this new AMG model. Currently no segment is growing faster than that of compact SUVs. For Mercedes-AMG it is therefore logical to make a dynamic statement in this segment with the GLA45 AMG. Our new high-performance-SUV not only offers the world’s most powerful series-production four-cylinder engine, but also impressively low fuel consumption and emissions figures. Not least on account of the performance-oriented AMG 4MATIC four wheel drive, the GLA45 AMG is a true AMG when it comes to driving dynamics.”

Young target group: styling, dynamics and independence

In addition to the CLA45 AMG, the GLA45 AMG is the second vehicle with a four-cylinder turbo engine to appeal to a young target group. Customers take a great interest in styling, dynamics and independence – traits that are perfectly embodied in the new high-performance SUV from Affalterbach. Meeting a wide variety of customer desires has always been one of the strengths of Mercedes- AMG. The GLA45 AMG now expands the extensive high-performance SUV lineup to four models in the U.S. (GLA45 AMG, ML63 AMG, GL63 AMG, and G63 AMG). Mercedes-AMG thus offers the widest range of SUVs among all high-performance premium brands.

2015 Mercedes GLA45 AMG Exterior

2015 Mercedes GLA45 AMG

Hallmark AMG features: the world’s most powerful series-produced four- cylinder engine

Best in class: the GLA45 AMG engine fully lives up to this claim, as a look at the figures shows. The AMG 2.0-liter turbo engine is the most powerful series- production four-cylinder turbo engine in the world. It produces 355 hp of power and develops a peak torque of 332 lb-ft. A power output of 178 hp per liter puts the AMG high-performance turbo engine on a par with the world’s most powerful super sports cars.

Development of the high-performance turbo engine placed emphasis on a sustainable reduction in exhaust emissions. The AMG 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo engine features spray-guided direct petrol injection with piezo injectors positioned centrally in the four combustion chambers and an injection pressure of up to 2900psi. The combination of multiple fuel injection pulses and multiple spark ignition system improves fuel economy and thermodynamic efficiency, leading to low exhaust emissions. The injection system’s outstanding flexibility also ensures a high degree of freedom in terms of application. There are up to five injections per combustion cycle in the cold-start and warm-up phase, which is crucial for emissions.

Further highlights of the AMG 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo engine:

  • Sandcast all-aluminum crankcase
  • Lightweight forged steel crankshaft
  • Forged pistons with friction-optimized piston rings
  • NANOSLIDE cylinder liner technology
  • Air-to-water intercooling system with separate cooling circuit
  • Alternator management
  • ECO start/stop function
  • Twin-scroll turbocharger and AMG sports exhaust system with variable vane

Mercedes-AMG addresses the basic challenge with regard to the throttle response of a small-capacity turbo engine by using a twin-scroll turbocharger, maximum de-throttling of the exhaust system and an innovative injection strategy. Twin-scroll technology provides a more spontaneous build-up of charge pressure: utilization of the exhaust back-pressure, exhaust-gas temperature and exhaust-gas pulse has a positive impact. This results in a faster build-up of torque even at low engine speeds. A positive side-effect: fuel consumption and exhaust emissions also benefit from twin-scroll technology. With a maximum charge pressure of 26.1psi, the AMG 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo engine leads the field on this front as well.

The AMG sports exhaust system in the GLA45 AMG features large pipe cross- sections and an automatically controlled viarable vane: this technology reconciles the two conflicting goals of a dynamic driving experience and hallmark Mercedes suitability for long-distance driving. The vane in the rear muffler is continuously adjusted under map control according to the driver’s performance needs, load condition and engine speed. The two rectangular chrome-plated twin tailpipes of the AMG sports exhaust system emit a fascinating exhaust note, which is particularly impressive during powerful acceleration. An AMG Performance exhaust system, also equipped with an exhaust vane, is available as an optional extra. Customers opting for this system will experience an even more appealing and distinctive engine sound.

2015 Mercedes GLA45 AMG Side

2015 Mercedes GLA45 AMG

Engine production – a tradition of hand-built excellence

The AMG 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo engine is assembled purely by hand in accordance with the traditional AMG philosophy of “one man, one engine”. Apart from serving as an AMG hallmark confirming superlative production quality, the AMG engine badge bearing the engine fitter’s signature also attests the peerless DNA of Mercedes-Benz’s high-performance brand.

AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed dual-clutch sports transmission

The AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed dual-clutch sports transmission in the GLA45 AMG features three distinct transmission modes, a double-declutching function dependent on the transmission mode and a RACE START function for optimum acceleration. The strengths of the dual-clutch transmission include spontaneous gear shifts without loss of tractive power, a tailor-made control strategy based on the AMG SPEEDSHIFT functions, extremely smooth gear shifts, and a high level of efficiency.

The shift times in manual mode “M” and in sport mode “S” are similarly sporty in character to those of the SLS AMG GT super sports car. Quick and precise retardation of the ignition and suppressing injection under full load lead to even faster gear shifts in “M” and “S” modes, with a more exciting exhaust sound. The transmission control fully utilizes the benefits of direct injection technology right up to the physical limits: the quicker engine response ensures that injection is suppressed with even more precision. The effect: the shift speed and an emotional sound experience make for a fascinating ride. Another special feature designed to enhance dynamic performance and driving pleasure is the so-called “Momentary M mode” – as seen in the SLS AMG Black Series super sports car.

In “C” mode (Controlled Efficiency), smooth transmission and engine characteristics support a fuel-efficient and comfort-oriented driving style. In addition, the ECO start/stop function is active in “C” mode.

AMG Performance 4MATIC four wheel drive as standard

The GLA45 AMG comes with variable AMG Performance 4MATIC four-wheel drive as standard. In developing this four wheel-drive system, the focus was firmly on performance and dynamic spirit. The all-wheel-drive system transfers the engine power to the road optimally and provides perfect traction. It also elevates driving dynamics to the highest level.

The entire drive system boasts a weight-saving and compact design: the power take-off unit (PTU) is fully integrated into the 7-speed dual-clutch sports transmission and handles the power transfer to the rear drivetrain via a two- part propeller shaft. In the interests of favorable weight distribution, an electro- hydraulically controlled multiple-disc clutch is integral with the rear-axle differential. A hydraulic pump instantaneously presses the discs together and channels the engine torque to the rear wheels as necessary. All this goes unnoticed by the driver. Power distribution is fully variable: during normal driving the GLA45 AMG uses front-wheel drive for optimal efficiency. Where needed, the variable four-wheel-drive system splits the torque between the front and rear axles at a ratio of up to 50:50 percent.

As with other AMG models, the Electronic Stability Program is configured as a three-stage ESP®. The GLA45 AMG comes with three transmission modes: “ESP ON”, “SPORT Handling Mode” and “ESP OFF” – enabling the driver to vary dynamic performance according to individual requirements at the push of a button. ESP® Curve Dynamic Assist (torque vectoring) is likewise included as standard. During dynamic cornering, imperceptible braking interventions on the rear inside wheel create a defined yaw moment about the vertical axis. The effect: the GLA45 AMG turns in precisely and controllably at all times while unwelcome understeer is prevented.

2015 Mercedes GLA45 AMG Rear

2015 Mercedes GLA45 AMG

AMG sports suspension and AMG high-performance braking system

One of the keys to agile handling is axle technology: for enhanced driving dynamics, the McPherson front axle on the GLA45 AMG is fitted with stiffer steering knuckles and new elastokinematics. The four-link rear axle has also been newly developed. Stability and precision of handling are enhanced by the optimized elastokinematics and the rigid connection between the subframe and the body. The AMG sports suspension with specially tuned spring/damper units and bigger anti-roll bars ensures high lateral acceleration and reduced body roll when driving fast on winding roads. An AMG performance suspension with firmer spring and damper tuning is available as an optional extra.

The AMG speed-sensitive sports steering with specific, speed-dependent power assist ensures high steering precision and agility. The AMG high-performance braking system with vented, perforated brake discs all-round and gray-painted brake calipers delivers spontaneous and reliable deceleration. Red brake calipers are available as an optional extra.

Three attractive AMG alloy wheels to choose from

In standard specification the GLA45 AMG runs on 5-twin-spoke 19″ AMG alloy wheels painted titanium gray with high-sheen finish, mounted with tires of size 235/45 R 19. As an optional extra, customers can opt for larger 10-spoke 20″ AMG alloy wheels with tires of size 235/40 R 20 – these are available painted titanium gray with high-sheen finish or painted matte black with high- sheen rim flange.

Powerful and distinctive: sensual clarity with AMG character

The design of the GLA45 AMG exudes fascination on account of its powerful and distinctive character. As the powerful AMG top-of-the-line model of the GLA class, the high-performance compact SUV combines the hallmark sensual clarity of Mercedes-Benz as an expression of modern luxury with muscular elements exclusive to AMG. The AMG front fascia with front splitter and the AMG “twin blade” radiator grille provide athletic highlights – both are painted matte titanium gray. Completely new: the distinctive AMG logo at the side between the blades of the radiator grille. This will make all new AMG models easy to recognize in the future. Black flics (air deflector elements) above the large cooling air intakes at the sides pay homage to motor sport. Bi-xenon headlights come as standard.

When viewed from the side, the distinctive AMG alloy wheels in three design options certainly catch the eye. The side sill panels with matte titanium gray inserts, the “TURBO AMG” lettering on the front fenders and the aluminum roof rails lend the GLA45 AMG a special touch. The rear end is dominated by the diffuser insert with titanium gray trim and the rectangular, chrome-plated trim of the twin tailpipes of the AMG sports exhaust system with its variable exhaust vane.

2015 Mercedes GLA45 AMG Interior

2015 Mercedes GLA45 AMG

The following AMG equipment features can optionally upgrade the exterior design:

  • AMG Aerodynamics package: larger front splitter, additional flics on the front fascia, rear roof spoiler, and select Night Styling elements package
  • Exterior Carbon-Fiber package: carbon-fiber front splitter, side sill panel insert and rear fascia trim, Carbon-fiber exterior mirror housings
  • Rear roof spoiler
  • AMG Night Styling package: high-gloss black front splitter, exterior mirrors, window frames, roof rails, side sill panel insert and rear fascia trim, two tailpipes with in black chrome with black
  • rectangular trim
  • Red painted brake calipers with black AMG lettering
  • Interior design: high-quality, sporty, exclusive

As in all AMG high-performance automobiles, the interior of the GLA45 AMG delights with its high-quality appeal combined with sporty flair and exclusive equipment features. These include sports seats upholstered with MB-Tex man- made leather/DINAMICA microfiber with red contrasting topstitching and red designo safety belts. The 3-spoke nappa leather multifunction sports steering wheel with red contrasting topstitching, perforated leather in the grip area and steering-wheel shift paddles ensures perfect vehicle control. The AMG instrument cluster with 2-tube design and central color display, AMG main menu and RACETIMER is on hand to keep the driver up to date. On opening the door, the driver is greeted by the AMG start-up screen in the center of the cluster. The trim of the instrument panel is made from brushed aluminum and, in tandem with the brushed stainless-steel AMG front door sills, emphasizes the high-grade, exclusive ambiance inside the GLA45 AMG.

The interior can be upgraded with the following AMG optional extras:

  • Performance steering wheel in black nappa leather/Alcantara®
  • Performance seats by Recaro upholstered in leather or MB-Tex man-made leather/DINAMICA microfiber or 4 optional leather covers for driver and front passenger, with more strongly contoured seat
  • shape for enhanced lateral support and with integral head restraints
  • Carbon-fiber Trim, Satin Brown Polar Wood Trim, Burl Walnut Wood Trim
  • Leather upholstry in black, ash gray, nut brown or black ‘Red Cut’ design
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