Mercedes has wasted no time in getting to work on a high-power AMG version of its yet-to-be-launched GLA low-rise crossover, with the new model expected to use the same drivetrain as the A45 AMG hatchback.
That means a 355bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged engine driving all four wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
The taller body, greater frontal area and high ride height is likely to slightly blunt the GLA AMG’s performance compared with the A45, but expect a 0-60mph time of well under 5.0sec. Land Rover’s hot Evoque, likely to be badged RS, is unlikely to be as powerful as the performance-focused GLA.
Mercedes is also testing a Black Series version of the A45 AMG. It is marked out by slightly wider wheel arches on a prototype that otherwise looks close to the ‘standard’ AMG version.
The biggest challenge for engineers involved in building a Black Series version will be extracting more power from the car’s 2.0-litre engine. In the A45, it is already developing 177bhp per litre.
Ford revealed that it managed to extract 220bhp from its 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine during testing, so a 200bhp per litre target - or 400bhp for the A45 Black Series - is not impossible. But ensuring such an output can be achieved from an engine that remains reliable enough for series production will be no mean engineering feat.