The BMW X2 is knocking at the door. This means that the “other” German car makers are pushing hard to further solidify their place in said market range. This week, Mercedes-Benz — one of BMW’s biggest rivals — have announced a redesign of the highly successful GLA model range. Even though this isn’t a product of BMW’s, it’s still exciting and important competition to the Bavarian brand.

The vehicle, which belongs in the small SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) class, made quite a splash when it was introduced. Featuring quirky looks, good build quality and a rather new style on the market, it quickly garnered praise and attained good sales results. The pinnacle of the offering is the Mercedes-Benz GLA 45 AMG, a powerful, all-wheel drive little monster. The AMG is powered by the handcrafted 2.0L turbo engine, thus making the Mercedes-AMG GLA45 one of the most powerful cars in its segment.

It’s also is equipped with a fast AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed sports transmission. It allows the Mercedes-Benz GLA to accelerate from 0-62mph (0-100km/h) in as low as 4.3 seconds. With an electronically limited top speed of 155mph (250km/h) those long and dreary runs on the autobahns can be a lot more attractive endeavors overall.

The 2018 Mercedes Benz GLA 63 750x498

In order to achieve optimum traction even in poor road surface conditions, the standard all-wheel drive AMG Performance 4MATIC system transfers the drive power to all wheels. The torque is variably distributed to the front and rear axle. This configuration results in an optimum ratio of sportiness, efficiency and traction to match the driving situation. A multiple-disc clutch integrated in the rear axle differential with AMG-specific control passes on the engine torque to the rear wheels should the front wheels lose traction. The spectrum ranges from purely front-wheel drive to a 50:50 ratio for the front and rear wheels.

On the road the turbocharged, handcrafted AMG 2.0L four-cylinder engine affords the driver with extremely fast responses to accelerator movements. Additionally, it offers high torque, enormous flexibility and an emotional engine note.  Furthermore, the exhaust system features an automatically controlled exhaust flap as standard. The intensity of the engine note changes according to the currently active AMG DYNAMIC SELECT driving mode.

With the optional AMG Performance Exhaust System the sound is even sportier through the modified structure of the muffler system and thus intensifies the emotively appealing sound experience. It can be regulated via selection of the drive program. In the interior, the impressive sound can be experienced even more intensely at the touch of a button, through the more powerful intake noise of the engine.

The 2018 Mercedes Benz GLA 50 750x498

As far as design goes, the changes for the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA are subtle and unimposing. The interior looks and build quality are still the focal point of the vehicle’s interior, providing a welcome work area for the driver and a comfortable interior for the passengers as well.

The interior of the GLA 45 AMG is dominated by the extensive appointments and yellow touches, ensuring both the driver and passengers grasp the sporty side of tthe AMG. The AMG Performance Seats in MB-Tex /DINAMICA microfiber also sport yellow trim, as do the AMG DINAMICA Performance Steering Wheel, rear bench seat, dashboard, beltlines (only on CLA45) and armrests. Further highlights include door sill panels in Graphite Grey with a yellow AMG logo, floor mats with yellow edging, AMG logo in yellow, plus yellow air outlets.

Mercedes-Benz AMG GLA 45 4MATIC Yellow Night Edition, X156, 2017

The extensive standard equipment of the AMG Performance Studio Package is another interesting and appealing aspect seen. It includes the AMG Aerodynamics Package, AMG Night Package, AMG DINAMICA Performance Steering Wheel. Consequently, the steering wheel comes with a yellow 12 o’clock marking with an “AMG Edition” badge and yellow contrasting topstitching. Among other features.

Naturally, we can only compare the Mercedes-Benz GLA 45 AMG to the possible BMW X2 M40i that might be the pinnacle of BMW’s offerings for the future model. While the vehicle is yet to be announced or an actual production car revealed, we are certain that the market – albeit niche in volume – for small, fast and nimble SUV’s will be hard to neglect by the car maker, hopefully yielding us a gorgeous looking, rather fast and driving dynamics oriented vehicle.

Meanwhile, take a look what the competition has to offer, in the form of this beautiful little thing, in the media gallery below.

[Photos: John Hietter @jhietter]