Unlike in Europe, Mercedes-Benz doesn't have hyper hatches like the Audi RS3 to compete against in North America, at least not yet. However, the company isn't letting its high-performance compacts get behind the times anywhere in the world with the announcement that the CLA45 AMG and GLA45 AMG in the US are getting practically the same raft of upgrades as the ones across the pond. Both models go on sale in October in US dealers.
Like its European counterpart, the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder in the diminutive AMGs receives upgrades to produce 375 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque (the 381 hp rating over there is in metric ponies). That's an impressive 20-horsepower and 18 lb-ft bump over the current version of the mill. Beyond just the boost in output, quicker acceleration comes from revised, more aggressive ratios in third through seventh gears.
The latest AMGs make great use of their upgrades, too. The 2016 GLA45 now clocks the run to 60 miles per hour in 4.3 seconds, a staggering half-second quicker than the 2015 model. The CLA45 slices 0.3 seconds off its time to make the sprint in 4.1 seconds, which gives the sedan the same acceleration as a SL63 AMG.
In addition to the powertrain tweaks, the 2016 models get a few other added luxuries. As in Europe, they receive the Dynamic Select System that uses a rotary knob select from multiple driving modes. Inside, there's standard keyless start, dual-zone climate controls, and Mercedes' latest infotainment unit. A "Turbo 4Matic" badge on the fender now hints at the vehicles' performance potential.
The new Dynamic Plus Package is the major addition to the options list. It combines a limited slip differential at the front, AMG Adaptive Suspension, Race Mode, Performance Steering Wheel, and pushes the top speed to 167 mph. At the same time, the AMG Driver's Package is discontinued, and the AMG Performance Studio Package is dropped on the CLA45.