Mercedes-AMG has sent the smallest members of its North American lineup to the gym for the 2016 model year, and the CLA 45 and GLA 45 have emerged 20 hp stronger, and with other revisions conceived to improve all-round performance.

Power is up to 375 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque (a gain of 18), increases that Benz says slice a significant 0.4 seconds from the cars’ zero-to-100 km/h acceleration times, which now clock in at 4.2 seconds for the CLA 45, and 4.4 in the GLA.

Other changes include shorter gear ratios for third through seventh, an update aimed at sharpening acceleration at cruising speeds, and a new standard-fit transmission mode selector allows the driver to toggle through ‘comfort,’ ‘sport,’ sport+,’ and ‘race’ modes to set the seven-speed’s behaviour to match the driver’s mood.

New optional stuff includes a ‘dynamic plus’ package that includes a locking front differential that Benz says improves traction in enthusiastic driving, and AMG ride control suspension with two-stage adaptive damping that works in conjunction with that racy transmission setting.

Mercedes says that despite the power increase, fuel consumption remains “exemplary,” at least by Euro testing standards; consumption specs and pricing for Canadian models will be revealed closer to the launch of the new models, this fall.

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