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New Mercedes-AMG GLA45 S 2021 detailed: Performance SUV packs 310kW punch

The GLA45 S will be bring the aggro to Australian showrooms soon.

Mercedes-AMG has ripped the covers off the second-generation GLA45 small SUV.

And ahead of the GLA45’s launch in the fourth quarter this year, the news only gets better for Australian buyers, who will exclusively have access to the S version, which features the most potent series-production four-cylinder engine in the world.

Shared with the A45 S hatch and CLA45 S sedan, the 2.0-litre turbo-petrol unit produces 310kW of power at 6750rpm and 500Nm of torque from 5000-5250rpm – a 30kW/25Nm improvement over the first-generation GLA45.

This output boost means the GLA45 S can sprint from a standstill to 100km/h in a scant 4.3 seconds, while its top speed is electronically limited to 270km/h, at which point its sports exhaust system is on full song.

For reference, the non-S version Australia misses out on ‘only’ develops 285kW/480Nm and is therefore 0.1s slower to triple digital, while its terminal velocity is capped at 250km/h.

The GLA45 S wants to pick a fight with the Audi RS Q3. The GLA45 S wants to pick a fight with the Audi RS Q3.

Key to the new GLA 45’s performance is its eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and AMG’s fully variable 4Matic+ all-wheel-drive system with torque vectoring.

In the GLA 45 S, speed is partly washed away by 360mm front brake discs clamped by six-piston callipers.

Suspension-wise, the GLA45 has MacPherson struts up front and multi links at the rear, with both axles benefiting from adaptive dampers that have three settings, plus a performance-focused retune.

The GLA45’s electromechanical power steering is speed-sensitive and has a variable ratio. Handling is also aided by its body’s extra rigidity, which comes via the addition of a ‘shearing plate’ and diagonal at the front and rear.

An AMG Performance steering wheel with a 12-o’clock marker headlines the GLA45's cabin. An AMG Performance steering wheel with a 12-o’clock marker headlines the GLA45's cabin.

Six drive modes (Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport+, Race and Individual) allow the driver to adjust vehicle settings with ease on the move.

The GLA45 stands out from the GLA crowd with its AMG-specific Panamericana grille insert, body kit (bumpers and side skirts), alloy wheels, tailgate spoiler and quad exhaust tailpipes.

Inside, the GLA45 S picks up an AMG Performance steering wheel with galvanised paddle-shifters and a 12-o’clock marker, Dinamica microfibre upholstery, contrast stitching and seatbelts, and carbon-fibre or aluminium trim.

Local pricing and specification for the Audi RS Q3 rival will be released closer to its launch. For reference, the current GLA45 is priced from $92,100 plus on-road costs.