If you pitted a 6.0-litre bi-turbo V12 against a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder motor and were asked to put a little wager down as to which would prove victorious in a quarter-mile (0.40km) drag race, which would you pick?
It seems like a foregone conclusion, doesn't it? Doesn’t more cylinders, more turbochargers, and larger displacement usually amount to a win? Most of the time, we suppose.
But this isn’t one of those times. What we have here are the Mercedes S 65 AMG versus a Mercedes GLA 45 AMG, fitted with the 6.0-litre V12 and 2.0-litre four-pot respectively. The biggest engine Mercedes-AMG offers versus the smallest.
On paper, the S 65 with its monstrous 620hp/1,000Nm output looks like it would demolish the GLA. Mind you, there's a reason why this motor is feared, as it's the most powerful 2.0-litre four-cylinder in the industry with an astonishing 360hp and 450Nm of torque.
Let’s talk about the underdog here, the GLA 45 AMG. It’s got a leg up on the S 65 brute in some key areas: weight, grip, and launch control. It weighs much less, has all-wheel drive grip from Merc’s 4Matic system, and crucially, launch control.
The S 65’s advantage lies just with its extra grunt, and without launch control will likely spin its wheels under than mountain of torque, potentially becoming more of a liability than an asset.
Let’s see what happens.