When Mercedes-Benz threw its new CLA to the loons in Affalterbach and they returned it with 355 horsepower harrumphing from its turbocharged 2.0-liter, folks were pretty agog. Time, however, does not stand still, and Volkswagen is working on 400-ish-pony versions of its own 2.0T engine. What’s more, the Blue Oval recently announced that its Focus RS will churn out 345 horsepower. And it wouldn’t do for proud Stuttgart to be trouncing lowly Dearborn by only a mere ten horses. As such, the CLA45 AMG and its wackadoo hatchy-ute brother, the GLA45 AMG, are being updated for 2016.
At this point, habitual Hee Haw viewers will invariably shout at the screen, “How updated are they?” The answer, friends, is 20 horsepower and 18 lb-ft worth of updated. The turbo twins are now making 375 horses and a healthy 350 lb-ft of torque. The 305-horse Subaru WRX STI is seriously bummed at the moment. What’s more, the transmission has been re-tuned for more aggressively aggressive aggression, with the top five ratios re-geared in the name of accelerative prowess.
Mercedes quotes new zero-to-60 times of 4.3 seconds for the GLA45 and 4.1 for the CLA45, which are likely conservative, considering the last AMG-fettled GLA and CLA we tested both made it to 60 in 4.2 seconds. The old cars were Mercedes-rated at 4.8 to 60 for the GLA and 4.4 for the CLA. The new CLA, Mercedes points out, is now as quick to 60 as a V-8–powered SL63. A cynic might comment that it says more for the luxo-barge nature of the modern SL than it does for the quickness of the upgraded entry-level hot rod. But the SL proved to be no slouch during last year’s Lightning Lap testing.
The AMG Driver’s package has been discontinued on both models, while the AMG Performance Studio package—previously available on both models—will now be CLA-only. The new AMG Dynamic Plus package offers a limited-slip front diff, adaptive suspension, a performance steering wheel, and a 167-mph top speed. It also unlocks “race” mode, which can be accessed via the new Dynamic Select system. Dual-zone climate control and keyless start are now standard, as is a new “Turbo 4Matic” fender badge.
No word, as of yet, as to what this extra dose of juice will run buyers, but it should serve to make the dive-plane-equipped GLA even more fantastically ludicrous than it already is. Mercedes says that pricing information is due for release in October.