And, conveniently for Affalterbach, that makes the GLA a very credible candidate for a performance makeover: relatively light and low-riding, with little fat-on-the-bone or concessions made to unnecessary offroad suitability. Torque’s up 23lb ft to 350lb ft, and consequently the 0-62mph time is down 0.4secs to 4.2 seconds – a handy tenth faster than the RS3’s conservative claim. Its turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder doesn’t have an equal in the market right now. The car’s standard exhaust system is hushed enough at cruising revs not to intrude, either.
Oxygen system (ATA35) Mechanical (B1) For a Category B2 licence, if endorsed on the licence. You don’t get a particularly convenient hip point, nor particularly commanding forward visibility. Noses out of joint at the upstart 362bhp Audi RS3, AMG has responded with a 376bhp A45, up from the hardly tardy 355bhp predecessor. Related: The 2015 Audi RS3 Sedan Is Coming To The U.S.; Still No Sportback A new Dynamic Plus Package adds a mechanical front-axle locking differential and AMG Ride Control sport suspension with two-stage adaptive damping.
The smaller end of the performance SUV market looks a lot more complex and interesting all of a sudden. With those grievances laid out, Mercedes-Benz has updated its A Class for 2016, and turned up the heat on its A45 AMG to new levels. But precision, stability and turbo-fed traction are the car’s most persuasive hallmarks, and make it feel remarkably flat, quite fast – and a lot of fun – on a twisting road. Overall verdictAn immensely fast and capable car to drive. That the car lacks a bit of sporting edge is a condition you can remedy by opting for AMG Performance suspension, which firms up the tune that little bit more without reducing the car to a bone-shaking mess. However, while it makes the GLA undeniably distinctive, that positioning does invite questions about exactly what’s on offer in this car.