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Auto blogWed, 16 Jan 2013 15:00:00 EST
We've spotted the all-new Mercedes-Benz GLA testing a couple times in recent months in getting closer to production form and shedding camouflage, but now it looks like we're see our first look at the AMG version of this compact crossover. The low ride height might trick some into thinking that we're just seeing the already-confirmed A45 AMG out testing, but the unique beltline, rear doors and side windows confirm this is some version of the GLA-Class.
What makes us so confident that this is the AMG model? Well, for starters, this prototype has beefier brakes with cross-drilled front and rear rotors and bigger front calipers, but it also sports dual exhaust outlets poking through the rear fascia and a suspension that has been lowered considerably. Our spy shooters said that this car's exhaust note made it almost certainly an AMG model.
Just to be clear, the GLA AMG will not be powered by a 4.5-liter engine. The closely related A45 AMG will carry the "45" in its name to celebrate the first 45 years of AMG, and our sources seem to indicate the AMG version of the GLA will do the same. We're expecting this sporty crossover to produce as much as 350 horsepower from its AMG-tuned four-cylinder engine, and like the all-new E63 AMG, it could very well come standard with 4Matic all-wheel drive.
Ford, Holden and Nissan introduced their V8 Supercar challengers a while back. Erebus Motorport, whose racing program got the green light not even 120 days ago, has finally shown off the Mercedes-Benz E-Class racer that will complete this year's field of entries. The first AMG race car ever to be built outside of Germany, it's an Australian-built tube-frame chassis specced to the series' Car of Tomorrow rules, fitted with body panels that channel the E63 AMG.
Supported by AMG Customer Motorsport, the 5.0-liter engine is provided by HWA in Germany, the racing arm of AMG. Regulations dictate that it have roughly 650 horsepower, a redline between 7,000 and 7,500 rpm and a torque curve that matches the parity baseline set for all cars.
Lee Holdsworth, Tim Slade and Maro Engel will drive the three team cars, each with different sponsors. Their first showing will be at the Clipsal 500 on March 3 in Adelaide, here in the US we'll get to see them in May at the Circuit of the Americas. Check out the videos below of the Erebus car starting up at its launch, and footage of all of this year's cars doing pre-season testing on track together.
In advance of the Nürburgring 24-hour race last weekend, Mercedes-Benz put on a demonstration that had Michael Schumacher playing catch-up in a Formula One car against four examples of AMG metal. There were four cars sent off in staggered starts before Schumacher: an A45 AMG, E63 AMG 4Matic, SLS AMG Black Series, and an SLS AMG GT3 car. "Mr. Formula One," as the German television commentators call him, left three minutes after the SLS AMG GT3.
There are two videos of Schumacher's lap, the first is on-board footage - and even though there were several GoPros on the car the POV never cuts away from the front wing. You can hear the throttle and tell he's not pushing it, you can also tell how bumpy the track is. The second video is footage from the German Sport1 channel - with commentary in German - that shows all the cars taking off and takes the aerial view of proceedings. He looks to be going a lot faster in that one. You can compare and contrast yourself with the videos below.
Oh, and it's worth noting that, even with the likely restricted car, and the made-for-TV environment, Schumi turned in a quick lap. The nose camera shows the F1 car start to slow down on the back straight, near the start/finish line, right around the modern-length track record time of six minutes and eleven seconds.