Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 4Matic Yellow Night Edition
Engine: 4 cyls, 1991cc, turbocharged petrol
Power: 375bhp at 6000rpm
Torque: 350lb ft at 2250-2500rpm
Gearbox: 7-spd dual clutch automatic
Kerb weight: 1585kg
Top speed: 168mph
Fuel economy: 38.2mpg
CO2 rating: 172g/km
All right: let’s try to ignore the obvious. Let’s try to concentrate on the more substantial mid-life facelift updates for Mercedes-AMG’s GLA 45, shown here in range-topping Yellow Night Edition form.
There’s a revised front apron, chrome splitter and rear diffuser. They’ve also adjusted the angle of the rear wing to reduce drag without hampering downforce, which to this physics dullard sounds a bit unlikely, but you have to believe that Mercedes knows what it’s doing.
Mechanically, the latest GLA 45 is unchanged, so you’re still getting the world’s most powerful production four-cylinder engine with 375bhp at 6000rpm and 350lb ft of torque between 2250 and 2500rpm.
An AMG steering wheel, AMG sports seats and 20in alloys join the standard YNE equipment list. There’s an 8.0in dash-top infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto mirroring, plus a Harman Kardon sound system.
Unfortunately, that seems to be about as far as we can get without mentioning the you-know-what. We’ll let you work out where it is on the car. It’s not hard.
Whether you go for this sort of thing is obviously a matter of personal taste. Any potential restriction in the resale market caused by the yellowness could easily be counterbalanced by those buyers who love it and would have nothing else.
What is inarguable about the cabin is the ’serious’ feel granted to it by the AMG sports seats and steering wheel. Shame about the over-buttoned dash, which really could have done with some updating, but the Alcantara-wrapped centre-lined wheel is bang on in this application.
Obviously the new car is no quicker than the old one, but that’s not really an issue as the phrase ‘shortage of performance’ has rarely been written in any GLA 45 road test. The traction from the 4Matic all-wheel-drive system (which is mainly front-wheel drive with up to 50% of torque going to the back wheels as required) is mighty and permits violent launches. The 0-62mph run is seen off in just 4.4sec and there’s no real let-off for a good while after that, aided by a lightning-fast (and super-responsive through the paddles) seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.
Tick the £510 AMG performance exhaust option and every run will be punctuated by pops, crackles and burbles, up to and beyond the 155mph limiter if you’ve also specified the AMG driver’s pack.
Driving more sedately will deliver a very worthy 38.2mpg, and the ride is more compliant than it is in the otherwise similar AMG A45 hatchback. Although the GLA 45 sits 15mm lower than the normal GLA, it’s still 40mm above the hunkered-down A45.
That higher stance does slightly blunt the GLA 45’s dynamics but not to the extent that it’s rolling or pitching like an SUV, especially if the optional (£1395) AMG dynamic plus pack is present. The key components of that are AMG’s ride control sports suspension and a locking front differential, and the result is crushingly effective (and entertaining) cross-country pace.
Its character actually feels far more like that of a slightly raised hatchback than of a proper SUV. You’ll get a more commanding view of the road in a Porsche Macan, not to mention less of a cramped feeling in the cabin, but the ‘raised hatch’ persona of the GLA brings its own rewards, notably a sensation of being more focused than the Macan because of its crossover (rather than SUV) attitude on the road.
For the enthusiast, this new GLA 45 is as accomplished as ever in its delivery of of smooth-riding and exceptionally high performance. Most buyers will happily overlook the odd cabin disappointment, but it might be harder to ignore the Yellow car’s £6485 premium over a standard – and equally talented – GLA 45. Many will prefer the regular car’s lower-profile, lower-priced proposition.