Mercedes-AMG has pushed its smallest SUV up a weight class.
At less than $ 100,000 and with a compact body, the first GLA45 was precisely geared towards the Audi RSQ3. This time around, Affalterbach has reached a loftier goal for its jacked up hyper hatchback, with a six-figure price tag that puts it in the Porsche Macan territory.
These compact cruise missiles have what it takes for the price on paper, from the steroidal four-cylinder engine to the upscale interior. That’s before you start digging into the details. From the exposed radiator to the oversized brake discs, there are lots of small touches that indicate the serious performance potential hidden beneath the skin. The proof of course always lies in driving. This is where the Mercedes-AMG GLA45 S really delivers.
What does the Mercedes-AMG GLA45 S cost?
Prices for the Mercedes-Benz GLA start at USD 55,100 before road costs for the GLA200 and its 1.3-liter turbo engine. The cheapest GLA with this important AMG badge on its nose is the GLA35 4Matic, which is priced from $ 82,935 before road traffic. He’s sitting on the tree GLA45 S 4Matic + We have a test here that starts with (deep breath). $ 107,035 before road charges (Phew). Serious money on a car that shares its bones with an A-class hatchback and that’s before you tick the radio buttons.
Our tester also included Metallic Paints ($ 1490), the Aerodynamics Package ($ 2990), the High Performance Seat Package ($ 3290), and the Innovation Package ($ 1490). The grand total of $ 116,295 before road costs makes the GLA45 S nearly $ 7,000 more expensive than an Audi RSQ3, with every single option button ticked, and $ 4,000 more than a Porsche Macan GTS.
What are you getting?
Let’s start with the sexy AMG parts because that’s what you’re all here for. Compared to the GLA35, the speed limiter of the 45 S has been raised to 265 km / h and the steering wheel is trimmed with microfiber and a contrast stitched 12 o’clock marker. There is also a Burmester sound system, the AMG Track Pace application and the driver assistance package with adaptive cruise control, front cross traffic assistant, lane change assistant and active speed adjustment for cruise control using traffic sign recognition.
A surround view camera and LED multibeam headlights are just as standard as the usual AMG exterior accessories. The brakes are 360mm front and 330mm rear with six piston calipers in the front and there is a quad exhaust in the rear. Standard across the product range are keyless entry and start, a powered tailgate, two-zone climate control, two 10.25-inch infotainment displays, satellite navigation, wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, rain wipers, DAB + radio and 64 colors -Environment lighting inside.
Our test car options included the aerodynamics package ($ 2990, rear wing and front aero flics), the high-performance seating package ($ 3290), and the innovation package ($ 1490, head-up display and advanced navigation).
Is the Mercedes-AMG GLA45 S safe?
The latest Mercedes-Benz GLA has not been tested by ANCAP or Euro NCAP. All other cars built on the same foundation, including the A-Class hatchback and the GLB SUV, received five stars in the test.
All GLA variants are equipped with the following active safety features on their nine airbags as standard:
- Autonomous emergency braking
- Blind spot assistant
- End warning help
- Active lane departure warning
- Crosswind Assistant
- Pre-Safe Accident Prediction Systems
- Traffic sign assistant
What does the Mercedes-AMG GLA45 S look like from the inside?
If you have sat in an A-Class of any kind, you will feel at home in the GLA45 S. The dashboard is dominated by the two MBUX displays, and the same array of colored lights and expensive-looking trim pieces are hand turned on to create some serious ones Wow factor. When it comes to showroom appeal, it’s tough to beat the GLA. All shiny headline grabbers rely on solid foundations. The heated AMG performance seats in our car are exceptional, with a mix of solid (of course adjustable) upholstery and long-distance comfort that make the standard units look somber.
Now that you’ve learned about the basic seats in the A35, the Performance Seat option is undoubtedly an option worth checking out. Indeed, given the GLA45 S’s six-figure starting price, it should be standard, not to mention how it can throw you in the corners. The driving position is superb and the Alcantara-studded steering wheel feels clunky and firm in your hands. The drive mode wheel and buttons to adjust the drive train are a brilliant idea, and the metal paddles have a comfortably solid feel. Yes, the driving position is a little higher than would-be racers would like, but that has to do with the territory of these crossovers. With such a big focus on technology, the infotainment software in the GLA45 S wants to be good. Fortunately, most of the time it is.
There’s no shortage of ways to control this – in addition to voice prompts from ‘Hey Mercedes’, there are touchscreen inputs, two scroll wheels on the steering wheel, and a mouse-style touchpad on the transmission tunnel – but once you’re comfortable with the requirements, hop from the menu Menu and it’s one of the most intuitive systems on the market. The range of options for the dials is huge, from old-fashioned analog needles to a crystal clear “SuperSport” setup that is perfect if you really want to get started, and the quality of the animation and graphics on both displays is absolutely superb. Quality is pretty good without being absolutely outstanding. The touch points all feel good and the interior looks expensive, but the row of piano keys for climate control feels a bit cheap and the shell it mounts to isn’t what you would call completely solid.
The AMG lightning bolts are nice, but it’s also impossible to miss the fact that in many places the GLA feels like a very close relative of the $ 46,000 A180 hatch. This is proof that Mercedes-Benz has the good stuff for base buyers, but it’s also a little disappointing in a six-figure super SUV.
Storage space is excellent, from the cup holders and wireless charger under the dash to the deep central container. The space in the rear seats is also excellent, which cannot be said about the first-generation GLA. Legroom is reasonable behind a (very) tall driver, and the high-mounted front seats mean there’s plenty of toe room underneath them. The headroom is surprisingly good too, though there’s a panoramic sunroof and the rear vents make the GLA a more kid-friendly space. We took four adults on a two hour trip and no one complained despite being loaded with bags on the roof, which is a strong sign of its practicality. It’s a shame that a fold-down center armrest is optional.
The trunk has made a giant leap for 2021. Mercedes-AMG says you will get it 435L of things back there with the back seats in place and 1430L Folded flat with the 40/20/40 rear seat. We took this to the limit, with the central back seat folded flat and the trunk loaded to the brim with bags, food, drink, and gear for a weekend. Yes, a GLC could have done it with less Tetris, but the GLA has more than proven its practical benefits.
What’s under the hood?
Mercedes-AMG really doesn’t do things by halves. Instead of leaning a little bit The engineers in Affalterbach, who put more strain on the turbocharged four-cylinder engine of the GLA35, started from scratch with the engine used for the A45 S and GLA45 S. In doing so, they developed the world’s most powerful four-cylinder series engine. Adoration at the altar of sophisticated technology? Here’s an engine worth bowing to. Despite the identical displacement and raison d’être, no components are shared with the old M133 engine that it replaces. While not confirmed, we would be shocked if, given the time, money, and manpower that went into its development, the M139 didn’t show up in more than just the smallest Mercedes-AMG models.
The engine has a roller-bearing twin-scroll turbocharger with an electronic waste gate instead of a conventional pneumatic system. This is to make the boost more accurate. This is important because the turbo can pump out a whopping 2.1 bar boost. Mercedes-AMG turned the engine 180 degrees compared to the old engine, so the turbocharger sits on the back of the engine, reducing the number of piping required to decrease lag and save weight.
This grunt is brought to the road via an eight-speed dual clutch transmission and a 4Matic + all-wheel drive system, which can mix the torque between the front and rear axles and, if necessary, between the individual rear wheels. Top performance is an eye catcher 310 kW (at 6750 rpm) and the maximum torque is 500 Nm (at 5000 RPM) and unusual for a compact, turbo-powered engine where the maximum torque is there for a good time rather than a long time. The 100 km / h sprint takes one claim 4.3 secondsThis makes it 0.4 seconds slower than the associated A45 S hatchback. Alleged fuel economy is 9.6 l / 100 km In the combined cycle, we saw less than the claim with a strong propensity to drive on the freeway in a weekend.
How does the Mercedes-AMG GLA45 S drive?
There’s more than one GLA45 S. There’s the car in comfort mode, where anger and performance lurk beneath the surface, and the car in Sport + where they aren’t. The M139 engine is an absolute blast with a lot more character than you’d expect from a turbocharged four-cylinder engine.
It’s relatively cautious in comfort mode, with a muffled growl and slightly pasty gas, which is compounded by the transmission’s tendency to upshift early. It’s docile, though if you lean a little more on the accelerator, endless mid-range thrust is on tap. The dual clutch transmission is relatively smooth and overwinds slightly to reduce the jerking that sometimes occurs with this type of transmission. It’s not 100 percent natural, but you will get used to it. In the city, the GLA45 is far friendlier than expected. The steering is light enough to make parking a breeze, and the power at pintle makes slipping into traffic gaps effortless. The ride is also acceptable. It’s always tight and purposeful, but never crashes over bumps. Since this is a performance car, it’s pretty much perfect. So the hot GLA is a friendly commuter, a docile city car for real estate agents who want to look sharp? No Not nearly.
Switch the small mode switch to sport and the throttle response becomes more urgent. Switch it to Sport + and it will be sharper again. Sport + is the place where the fun really happens. The suspension becomes tighter, the steering becomes heavier and the exhaust changes from grumpy to really gritty and starts to pop and crack when driven over.
The engine likes to turn in a way that only a few turbo engines can. Instead of a crowded mid-range torque curve, max torque doesn’t arrive until 5000 RPM, so you actually need to drive the car towards the redline to get the full experience.
Really get in and the GLA45 S is rabid and rushes through the tightly stacked lower ratios towards the Redline. It feels just as fast as the 4.3-second sprint to 100 km / h suggests, even with four people and all their trash loaded.
The dual clutch transmission is a lightning fast engine on the run that decisively and quickly downshifts under braking and breaks the gear ratios when you have a proper immersion. However, the metal paddles are also a tactile delight and reward your switch to manual mode with a positive click on each layer. It’s not a real manual transmission, but it’s still fun to take manual controls.
The nuclear drive train is combined with an amazingly powerful all-wheel drive and a planted, grippy chassis. Despite the high driving position and the bulky body, the GLA45 S can absolutely dominate a road. When switched to Sport +, it feels alert and on tiptoe. A quick front end and loads of grip from the sticky Continental tires allow you to really fling it around corners. The ride is firm, but you can reasonably use Sport + on smoother roads without seeing a physical therapist.
However, it’s not necessarily the most rewarding way to ride it. If you’re a little more careful on the way into a corner, you can use the clever all-wheel drive system to your advantage by matting the throttle and letting the 4Matic + Brain Shuffle torque on the rear axle and then the outside rear wheel to get you on to fling the next straight.
You are always aware that a silicon brain under you is working hard, using myriad sensors in German to ensure that the GLA is making the fastest and most efficient progress. However, this doesn’t mean that it doesn’t feel connected or like a video game.
It’s really fun to make the most of it by muscling the popping hyper hatch in a flurry of paddle shifts, exhaust pops, and neat little movements from the steering wheel. It’s also impossible to miss how damn fast it is, because the 2.0-liter engine is a force of nature. It’s short, which makes for manic out-of-mark acceleration, but also means you hit the rev limiter of second gear at around 80 km / h. On some Australian roads, this means you can easily get stuck between second and third gear, forced to choose between peak power on the redline or fall into the meat of third and drive the torque.
On the other hand, it’s not a bad choice. The fact that the GLA45 can do both is proof of the flexibility of the AMG power plant. The way you can choose and mix your drive mode is also impressive. Thanks to the numerous controls on the wheel and on the transmission tunnel, you can tailor the car exactly to your needs – and you will not be overridden, no matter how silly your combination is.
For example, manual mode is really manual mode, and every combination is on the table. Sport + for the drivetrain and electronic aids, Sport for the chassis, manual transmission were my first choice for hard driving, while comfort with a loud exhaust was the perfect everyday.
If the armor on the GLA45 is cracked, it is road noise at freeway speed. It wasn’t as pronounced in the GLA as in the A45, but at 100 km / h on Australian back roads there is simply too much roaring in the cabin for it to be a premium crossover. Blame the sticky Continental rubber, blame it for a lack of soundproofing, but it spoils the otherwise impressive all-rounder.
How much does it cost to operate the Mercedes-AMG GLA45 S?
Maintenance of the GLA45 S is required every 12 months or 20,000 km. A three-year service package costs $ 3000costs a four-year pack $ 3700and a five year package will set you back $ 4,300. Mercedes-Benz was the first premium brand to sell a significant volume to switch to one Five year guarantee on unlimited kilometers in Australia, although Volvo has since followed suit.
CarExperts takeover of the Mercedes-AMG GLA45 S.
The GLA45 S is a mad little beast of an SUV, just like its little brother A45 S, but it’s also a far more refined daily driver than its die-hard, cramped predecessor. Kudos to Mercedes-AMG for using a fun but flawed formula and smoothing the edges to create a truly well-rounded performance SUV. The fact that a road is being torn down like a ramping rally car but the school run can also be torn down without breaking a sweat is deeply impressive.
The tradeoff for the car’s newfound competence is the price, which is a bit on the high considering some of the things that are standard missing. All of our tester’s options should really be standard, especially the seats and the head-up display. The GLA45 looks like a flagship performance crossover, and there’s no doubt it drives like one. He’s just not quite like one.
READ MORE FROM CAR EXPERT
2021 Lexus LC500 performance review
2022 Cadillac CT4-V and CT5-V Blackwing unveiled
In 2021, Mercedes-AMG GT73e spied on PHEV