Mercedes-AMG Preparing Two-Pronged GLA Attack On BMW X1

Spy Shots / Comments

The luxury automaker is readying an updated GLA 35 and GLA 45 for war with BMW's recently revealed X1.

After all the excitement of Monterey Car Week, it's time to get back to less exciting news in the form of spy shots. Our spy photographers recently captured the 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLA undergoing testing as it prepares to take on the BMW X1, which debuted fresh for the 2023 model year not too long ago, arriving with sharper styling and loads of upgrades. There's no high-performance version of the X1 yet, and Audi won't bring the RS Q3 to American shores, which gives Mercedes the advantage.

The 2023 Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 and its lesser GLA 35 sibling were recently spotted undergoing development in Europe as they get ready to gorge themselves on a pie that none of Merc's established German rivals seem to want a piece of, but the hot crossovers don't seem to have changed much on the surface.

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The minor changes seem to be concentrated around the front bumper, headlights, and taillights, with the rest of the test vehicles left exposed, save for their fender badges that reveal which AMG models we're looking at. However, we know our stuff and can tell you that the grey car is the GLA 45 and the black is its lesser relation. We know this because, although the camouflage is pretty effective, we can see smaller front bumper intakes for the GLA 35, as well as only two exhaust pipes at the rear, where the GLA 45 has a quartet of the embellishers.

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Interestingly, the higher-horsepower model appears to be wearing smaller and arguably uglier wheels. With a larger diameter, we're sure that the GLA 45's wheels would look a little more attractive, but the simple design seen on the 35 would be our choice.

So what is changing for the GLA? Well, a lightly refreshed front bumper is obvious, with this once again incorporating an interpretation of Mercedes-AMG's Panamericana grille. Both the taillights and the headlights are expected to retain the shapes seen on the 2022 model, but updated graphics will help keep the design fresh for a few more years until an all-new model eventually arrives.

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Inside, we expect that the recently updated A-Class will lend its new steering wheel, updated center console, and modernized infotainment graphics to the GLA range. That infotainment system will also get the latest version of the MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment system. Under the hood, things are expected to stay the same as before. For the GLA 35, that means a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder producing 302 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. The GLA 45 uses the same four-banger, but here you get 392 hp and 354 lb-ft, which in the current car translates to a 0-60-mph time of 4.3 seconds. Perhaps some recalibration of some software settings will shave a tenth or two off that time, but don't expect much else. As before, it's unlikely the S version of the GLA 45 will make its way stateside with more than 400 hp.

Expect a reveal later this year.

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