The Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG launches in Australia this week and, like its fellow compact AMG-tuned siblings the A45 and CLA45, red-hot demand is already outstripping supply.
With cars just now rolling into showrooms, Mercedes-Benz already holds about 300 firm orders on the car. Only 100 are expected to arrive in Australia this year, meaning the waiting list at launch already stretches out in some — though not all — cases to May.
That said, the company’s local arm is expecting to get greater supply from its Affalterbach-based supplier next year across the board, meaning the GLA’s waiting list may not stretch out to beyond 12 months as the other compact models did shortly after launch.
With a hypothetical perfect supply situation, the hottest GLA even has the potential to outsell the A45 AMG with which it shares a platform, according to Mercedes-Benz Australia corporate communications senior manager David McCarthy. Small SUVs are booming here, remember.
The third and final member of the company’s new urban crossover line-up, alongside the GLA200 CDI and GLA250 4MATIC, is priced from $79,430 plus on-road costs, more or less splitting the difference between the $74,900 A45 AMG and $86,900 CLA45 AMG.
It also makes the AMG version $22,430 more expensive than the 155kW/350Nm 4MATIC GLA250 that sells for $57,900, and $32,430 more than the base 100kW/300Nm GLA200 CDI entry model.
Sitting underneath the chunkier pseudo-SUV body is the same record-breaking hand-made powertrain as the A45, CLA45 and the forthcoming CLA Shooting Brake AMG derivative. This 2.0-litre turbo unit was at launch the most powerful series-production four-cylinder bar none.
The GLA’s figures are unchanged, with 265kW at 6000rpm and 450Nm between 2250 and 5000rpm on tap, with up to 50 per cent of the power sent to the rear wheels through the company’s variable front-biased 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system when conditions call for it.
A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission with paddles is standard, as are a trio of driving modes including sport, comfort and eco that adjust throttle, transmission and steering calibration.
Mercedes-AMG claims a 0-100km/h time of 4.8 seconds, 0.2s slower than the A45 or CLA45, and combined-cycle fuel consumption of 7.6L/100km, compared to 6.9L/100km for the A45.
Reining in all that gusto are 350mm front/330mm rear vented, cross-drilled and grooved brakes with four-piston aluminium callipers up front.
This discrepancy is down largely to the difference in weight. With a kerb weight of 1585 kg (with a full tank and driver, under EC rules), the GLA is about 30kg heavier than the A45, though both are based on the same modular MFA architecture.
In return for this the GLA offers greater cabin space than the lower-slung A 45 hatch. The GLA is 125mm longer, 61mm taller and 24mm wider than an A-Class, and offers more rear headroom and an extra 80-litres of boot space, now 421L. The driver sits only 40mm higher, however.
Standard features on the AMG version over and above the GLA250 include an AMG instrument cluster with race timer, AMG performance seats from Recaro (with the regular under-seat storage bins deleted), a leather/suede steering wheel, a 17.8 cm TFT colour display, HDD navigation and 10GB of music storage, voice-control, internet connectivity, DAB+ digital radio, AMG mats, Harmon Kardon surround sound system, illuminated door sill panels, an AMG key, red contrast stitching, brushed steel pedals and a leather upper-dashboard.
Exterior changes include 20-inch AMG 10-spoke alloy wheels wrapped in 235/40 Continental tyres, and AMG night package including blackened beltline, tailpipes, front splitter, exterior mirrors, an AMG twin blade radiator grille, red brake callipers and darker-tinted glass. There’s also a three-stage ESP system.
Options include even firmer suspension ideal for a racetrack for $1990 and an aero package with spoilers and splitters also for $1990.
Available for a brief time from launch will also be a GL 45AMG Edition 1, which has a high-gloss aero package with spoilers and splitters, red highlights on the grille, mirrors and diffuser insert, lairy stickers on the side panels, matte black wheels with red callipers, a black-and-red themed cabin and special badges for an extra $3990.
Keep an eye out for our review of the GLA45 AMG this weekend…