STUTTGART: Mercedes AMG engineers have been horsing around, quite literally with its most compact sports models in an attempt to squeeze even more horsepower and therefore create even more distance between them and the competition.
The 2-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged engine that powers the AMG versions of Mercedes's CLA and GLA is an engineering tour de force. With 360hp on tap, it is the most powerful mass-produced engine of its kind.
However, records are made to be broken, and as everyone form Audi to Ford is now focused on squeezing similar levels of performance from their own smaller four-cylinder engines, the mechanical magicians at AMG - Mercedes-Benz's tuning and performance arm - have decided to move the goal posts once more.
The 4-Matic (i.e., all-wheel-drive versions) of the CLA 45 four-door coupe, its shooting brake sibling and the GLA 45 crossover now boast 381hp and an extra 25 Nm of torque. In practical terms it means the CLA can now race from a standstill to 100kph in just 4.2 seconds (4.3 seconds for the shooting brake) and the much less aerodynamic GLA can manage the feat in 4.4 seconds.
The powerplant tweaks have been accompanied by changes to the transmission - gearing is even more focused on speed and rapid progress and some of the technology for it has been taken straight from the company's flagship supercar, the Mercedes AMG GT.
It has four different settings to suit the type of driving required comfort, sport, sport+, and individual. And, if owners pump for the optional AMG Ride Control sports suspension and the AMG Dynamic Plus package, like a video game, a new "race" setting is unlocked.
"Thanks to the optimally coordinated measures, our compact sports cars are not only the most powerful but also the most agile models in their class," notes Tobias Moers, Chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes AMG GmbH. "They have all the prerequisites for enabling us to continue seamlessly with our success story in this highly competitive environment."
All three cars are available to order now and will be going on sale in Europe from September. Prices start at €56,168.00 for the GLA 45 4Matic and €56,673.75 for the CLA 45 4Matic in four-door coupe form rising to €57,268.75 for the Shooting Brake version.