Mercedes AMG GLA 35: Entry to the performance SUV club
Demand for SUVs has never been higher. Certainly, Mercedes Benz was quick to notice that and capitalise on it. This year, we witnessed the German carmaker modernising the G-Wagon, bringing a brand new GLB model and more recently, facelifting the GLA baby SUV. Naturally, a performance version for the baby UV was expected to get released soon. And now it is here.
Mercedes Benz completes its range of AMG-powered entry-level models by taking the covers off the AMG GLA 35 4Matic. This baby SUV receives the necessary aggressive styling tweaks along with a more powerful engine and a new gearbox.
Powering this performance SUV is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo engine, spitting out 306hp and 400Nm of torques. That’s almost double the power than what you get with the entry-level GLA 200. It allows the AMG GLA 35 to crack the ton in just 5.1 seconds while the GLA 200 takes a paltry 8.7 seconds.
A part of that significant difference in time is due to the car’s new AMG honed 8-speed dual-clutch transmission along with the 4Matic drive system, retuned for this performance SUV. At most times, power will be sent to the front wheels, but it can get distributed 50:50 between the front and rear axles if needed.
All that extra power needs extra stability. And that has been provided by introducing a shear panel and a bolted aluminium plate under the engine, increasing torsional rigidity at the front. The suspension now gets AMG-specific parts for higher cornering speeds and low body roll. And as for the brakes, 4-piston fixed callipers accompany the 350mm brake discs at the front.
The AMG GLA 35 comes with five driving modes to choose from, comprising of Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport + and Individual. And if all these gizmos weren’t enough, Mercedes equipped this performance SUV with yet another software.
Called the AMG Dynamics, it is an integrated handling system which utilises certain functions of the ESP and brakes the inner wheels individually for better cornering. There are further two modes for this software - Basic and Advanced. While the former operates only under Slippery and Comfort mode to maintain stability at all times, the latter doesn’t step in to apply the brakes unless you're about to get transfixed with some trees.
Rest of the changes on the AMG GLA 35 can be seen, literally. For instance, the front end gets the AMG-specific radiator grille along with the addition of a front splitter finished in silver chrome. The rear gets a new diffuser, an AMG-spec spoiler and two round tailpipes on the left and right. Rounding off this sporty look are 19-inch 5-twin-spoke light-alloy wheels. An optional AMG Night package is also available for people who want a bit more character.
Inside, like any other performance vehicle, you can see the conventional contrast red stitching on the leather upholstery along with splashes of carbon fibre and red accents throughout. In terms of features, the car gets the AMG-spec steering wheel along with AMG-specific dials and sub-menus for the digital instrument cluster. Buyers will also have an option to equip their SUV with the AMG Track Pack, allowing a data logging system to get integrated into the car’s existing MBUX infotainment system.
Expect the Mercedes AMG GLA 35 to get its world launch by the first half of 2020 with deliveries starting by the year end. India won't be getting this AMG SUV before the second half of 2020 as the first half being reserved for the new-gen yet standard GLA to get released.