The compact SUV market is a hot one, whether for mass market brands or premium marques. Earlier this week, we reported that Lexus is readying a compact SUV to battle the BMW X1 and Audi Q3. If you’re wondering where Mercedes-Benz is in the scheme of things, here’s the answer.

This is the upcoming Mercedes-Benz GLA compact SUV that will battle all of the above. The GLA Class will be the three-pointed star brand’s entry level SUV, and it will sit on the company’s MLA platform that also underpins the new A-Class and B-Class. The shape is rather car-like, but the higher ground clearance is obvious.

However, compared to earlier spyshots on the Net, this disguised GLA testing on the Nurburgring (snapped by our European spy photographer CarPix) appears to sport bigger wheels that hide bigger brakes, larger air intakes and twin exhaust pipes (as opposed to none being visible). These clues lead to its true identity as the Mercedes-Benz GLA 45 AMG.

The SUV sister to the A 45 AMG hatch and CLA 45 AMG sedan, the GLA 45 AMG is speculated to be powered by a turbocharged 2.0 litre engine paired to AMG’s six-speed, dual-clutch gearbox and 4WD. Expect 360 hp, 450 Nm and a Frankfurt Motor Show world debut in September.