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Future models - Mercedes-Benz - GLA - 45 AMG

LA show: Mercedes previews chunky pocket rocket

G whiz: The Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG will become the German brand's flagship compact SUV from next year.

Benz GLA45 AMG becomes next model to employ thumping 265kW four cylinder

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Mercedes-Benz logo21 Nov 2013

By RON HAMMERTON in LOS ANGELES

MERCEDES-BENZ used the Los Angeles motor show to spring its latest AMG special, this time a new flagship for its GLA compact SUV range powered by the world's most powerful four-cylinder turbo engine shared with the company's other small hotshots such as the CLA45 AMG and A45 AMG.

Although it is officially a concept, expect the GLA45 AMG to go into production next year and land in Australia in late 2014 – about six months after the standard GLA debuts Down Under in the second quarter.

Powered by the beastly 265kW/450Nm 2.0-litre turbo engine from the AMG hot shop, the GLA45 AMG is said to be capable of accelerating to 100km/h in less than five seconds – more than 2.0 seconds faster than the GLA 250 that packs 155kW of power.

Mercedes is being deliberately vague on performance specifics until the formal launch, and likewise has indicated only that fuel economy for the AMG-tuned GLA will be “something with a seven in front of it”.

Unveiling the concept on the Mercedes stand, AMG chairman Tobias Moers described the small SUV as a “a stake firmly in the ground of the strongly growing market segment of compact SUVs”.

“Our customers – a young target group who set great store by styling, dynamism and independence – can now start looking forward to a dynamic high-performance car,” he said.

“The most powerful four-cylinder engine in the world and the AMG Performance 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system add up to make the Concept GLA45 AMG a unique proposition."The GLA45 AMG will get a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission driving all four wheels.

The concept's body kit includes a large roof-mounted rear wing, front air splitter and fat AMG alloy wheels, all in gloss black. You can forget the garish signwriting flourishes – items such as the big '45' on the doors won't make it into production.

Sitting lower than the standard model, the GLA45 AMG will employ an AMG tuned suspension based on the MacPherson front and multi-link rear set-up of the standard GLA.

The GLA, which was launched in its standard form at this year's Frankfurt motor show, sits on the same modular platform as the Mercedes A Class, CLA and B Class.

It gives the Stuttgart company a much needed entry into the burgeoning luxury compact SUV market currently dominated by the BMW X1 and Audi Q3.

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