The second-generation Mercedes-Benz GLA isn’t that old, arriving for the 2020 model year. However, the German-based automaker is ready to refresh it, including the hotter AMG GLA 35, which our spy photographers have caught testing for the first time.

Mercedes isn’t giving the model a complete makeover. Instead, this is its mid-cycle refresh where the company tweaks the front and rear fascias and makes other updates, and the AMG GLA 35 variant can’t escape that. The photos show the hatchback with its front fascia covered, hiding redesigned headlights and a revamped front bumper. The Panamericana grille remains with slight changes. There’s not a lot of camouflage at the rear, but the taillights are covered, suggesting that Mercedes will tweak their styling, likely updating the internal graphics.

Gallery: New Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 Spy Photos

Inside, Mercedes should make even fewer updates. The car could receive the same updates coming to the new A-Class, which include a new steering wheel and infotainment bezel. The refreshed model should receive the latest MBUX infotainment software, too.

With this mid-cycle refresh, we don’t expect the powertrain to receive significant updates. The car’s turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder produces 302 horsepower (222 kilowatts) and 295 pound-feet (400 Newton-meters) of torque, which could stay unchanged in the redesigned model. The engine pairs with the eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission with 4Matic all-wheel drive. The top speed should remain limited to 155 miles per hour(250 kilometers per hour).

Mercedes’ plan for its smaller vehicle remains a bit of a mystery. There are rumors that both the A-Class and B-Class are getting the ax, which would make the GLA and GLB very important to the company. The GLA will likely spawn a third-generation model, which could ride on the company’s upcoming MMA architecture.

However, that transition is still a few years away, and Mercedes hasn’t even revealed the second-generation mid-cycle update. The reveal likely won’t happen until early next year when Mercedes reveals the regular GLA and the GLA 35. The hotter AMG GLA 45 will arrive later. We haven’t spotted it out testing just yet, but we wouldn’t be surprised if our spy photographers spotted it before the end of the year.

Got a tip for us? Email: