Sure, we're excited for the 208-hp 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA250, but now that the GLA45 AMG concept has been revealed at the 2013 Los Angeles auto show, we must admit we're not quite as interested in the garden-variety compact crossover.
Auto Show Floor Update: The Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG concept shown at the 2013 Los Angeles auto show is close to the high-performance production model that will arrive sometime after the standard GLA250 goes on sale next fall. During the Mercedes-Benz press conference, North American president and CEO Steve Cannon stressed the importance of the new GLA-Class saying the sporty crossover segment is expected to grow significantly. Cannon said that the automaker expects the GLA “to appeal to younger buyers who want to indulge in their appetite for style and their appetite for adventure.” - Jason Udy
That's because the concept version of the AMG-tuned GLA produces 355 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque, all thanks to a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that's mated to a seven-speed automatic. All that power is sent to all four wheels via Mercedes's 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system, and the German automaker claims the GLA45 AMG will accelerate from 0-60 mph in less than five seconds. For perspective, we tested the CLA45 AMG getting from 0-60 mph in 4.2 seconds. Mercedes claims the brawny crossover is as efficient as it is sporty, and although fuel economy figures haven't been released, expect it to fall not far below the mechanically related CLA45's official ratings of 23/31 mpg city/highway.
We've spied the AMG-ified GLA testing before and we're glad to see that the nearly production-ready version keeps certain design elements that make it look much more aggressive. The GLA45 AMG wears the signature twin-blade front grille in chrome, while it also has a large front splitter that has been finished in high-gloss black. Inserts on the side sill panels, roof rails, and exhaust pipes have also been painted in the shiny black finish, while matte black AMG wheels are outlined in red, making the red brake caliper really pop out from underneath.
To highlight AMG's pedigree in motorsports, the GLA45 AMG concept wears number "45" graphics on its side body panels. Red touches on the side mirrors, front grille, and rear spoiler add even more interest. All that AMG-glory is expected to continue inside with red contrast stitching, red seatbelts, an AMG steering wheel, and sport seats.
The Mercedes GLA45 AMG concept is set to become the second-least-expensive AMG product behind the 2014 CLA45 AMG that's priced at $48,375, but we won't know full pricing details until the unruly ute is launched later in 2014.