Affalterbach has wasted no time packing its performance goodies into Benz's new subcompact crossover.
Where there's smoke, they say, there's fire – and where there's a new Mercedes, a new AMG version can't be far behind. In fact this time, the German automaker has revealed the new 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 together with the base GLA 250, leaving us not to wonder for even a second how the performance version of the new subcompact crossover will shape up.
Motivation comes in the form of a 2.0-liter turbo four, sending 302 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels through the same eight-speed dual-clutch transmission as the larger, seven-seat GLB 35 (with one more gear than the A 35 and CLA 35). That nets a projected 0-60 mph time of 5.0 seconds flat – a tenth quicker than the GLB, but two tenths slower than the CLA and four-tenths behind the A-Class.
Along with the beefier engine, the AMG version of the new GLA benefits from a retuned suspension and variable-ratio electro-mechanical steering system for better handling.
The body shell is stiffer as well, the transmission and all-wheel drive system have been upgraded in Affalterbach, the electronics recalibrated, the exhaust replaced with a variable system, and the brakes are bigger – measuring 13.8 inches up front with four-piston calipers, and 13-inch discs at the back with single-pot sliding calipers. And as you can see, AMG has enhanced the GLB's appearance with a unique aero kit, a new grille, and wheels up to 21 inches across. There's even an AMG Track Pace system available for those inclined to lap their crossover around their favorite circuit.
Inside, you'll find a beefier, flat-bottomed steering rim with galvanized shift paddles, in front of twin 10.25-inch instrument screens (optional on the base model) that can be switched between Classic, Sport, and Supersport modes, and can even call up special displays like Warm-Up, G-forces, and engine data. Special touches like red seatbelts, stainless steel pedals, and faux-carbon-fiber trim further differentiate the cabin from the standard model's, and while red-stitched black textile and microfiber upholstery comes standard, there's an array of leather packages to choose from.
No word yet on pricing or availability, but we can expect the GLA 35 to arrive at dealers – at a premium – sometime after the standard GLA 250 reaches showrooms in the summer.