The new Mercedes-Benz GLA is making its way to the UK market and the manufacturer has decided to give it a rather unique launch.

Mercedes-Benz GLA 45 AMG

In order to prove the immense grip the latest model provides, Mercedes has sent the car some 189 metres below the ground to try it out on a very challenging terrain.

The GLA has been testing its mettle in the Winsford Rock Salt Mine in Cheshire, where most of the salt used for gritting in the UK is sourced.

Mercedes-Benz GLA 45 AMG

It’s a rather fitting test for the GLA, with the mineral used to help drivers maintain their grip on the roads when the weather is at its most treacherous.

The aim was to take the car as far off the beaten track as possible, with four standard, road-going versions of the machine lowered nose first into the mine.

Mercedes-Benz GLA 45 AMG

Then the models took on the network of over 130 miles of tunnels that run underneath Cheshire, tackling the broken terrain with ease.

It is the largest rock salt mine in the UK and the country’s oldest working mine. Operated by Salt Union, it stretches five kilometres east to west and three kilometres north to south. Activity in the mine has been conducted since the 19th century, leading to almost 23 million cubic metres of space in the underground setting.

Mercedes-Benz GLA 45 AMG

In addition to the existing suspension setup in the GLA, the car also benefits from the 4MATIC system, which offers increased traction in any condition imaginable.

It allows the car to be truly responsive and controlled in both on and off-road situations, and tackling the mine was no problem for the SUV.

Furthermore, drivers in the tunnel benefitted from the Intelligent Light System which is fitted to the cars. This meant the eight-metre high tunnels were lit up perfectly to allow the people behind the wheel to tackle the mines with few visibility issues.

Mercedes-Benz GLA 45 AMG

The high-performance all-terrain car is surprisingly economical for a car of its class. It delivers fuel consumption of 37.6mpg while emitting just 175g/km of CO2. This means the car complies with the standards set by the EU6 rules.

However, the car is still able to deliver an impressive top speed of 155mph (electronically limited) while offering a 0-62mph time of 4.8 seconds.

Mercedes-Benz GLA 45 AMG

This is thanks to a 2.0-litre turbo engine, capable of producing 360hp at 6,000rpm and 450Nm between 2,250 and 5,000rpm. Twinned to a seven-speed sports transmission, the engine is one of the world’s most powerful models, putting it up there with super sports cars.

The car made its world premiere at the Los Angeles International Auto Show last year and received an excellent reception.

Mercedes-Benz GLA 45 AMG

Tobias Moers, chairman of the board of management of Mercedes-AMG GmbH, said: “Our new high-performance-SUV not only offers the world’s most powerful series-production four-cylinder engine, but also impressively low fuel consumption and emissions figures. Not least on account of the performance-oriented AMG 4MATIC all-wheel drive, the GLA 45 AMG is a true AMG when it comes to driving dynamics.”

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