“Pocket Rocket SUV”
The GLA is the most compact SUV Mercedes has in its lineup. It provides a higher ride height then the A-Class and cargo space yet retains the foot print of the A-Class for easier urban driving and parking. The fun here is derived from a heart and soul that has been hand built. Its unique to Mercedes AMG 4 cylinder line-up. A heart that has set records and congers boy racer dreams. Displacing 2.0lL and code named M139, in Europe it produces a mind-blowing 416 bhp and 369 lb-ft of torque. That’s over 208 horsepower per liter! The translation is a 0-60 time of 4.0 seconds. Across the pond we get a tamed down 382 bhp and 354 lb-ft of torque that moves the GLA45 to 60 in 4.4 seconds, it’s a thing of beauty.
Mated to this beast of a motor is an all new 8-speed dual clutch, replacing an outgoing 7-speed. The predecessor was prone to lurching on starts and being slow on shifts. The replacement has eliminated these bugs. Its smooth on transitions from a stop and snaps off shifts lighting quick. It’s a perfectly mated drivetrain that leaves little to be desired. The 4.4 second sprint is achieved via AMG’s modified 4Matic+ system that can distribute power to the wheels with greater precision and control. The system also allows for a specific Race and Drift mode setting, optimizing the system for each type of hooliganism.
To enhance the driving dynamics, AMG’s tweaks do not stop at the engine. The standard GLA chassis has been significantly stiffened with specific detail to the front end of the GLA 45. The result is a razor-sharp response to steering inputs. The body strengthening also equates to a quieter interior as compared to lesser GLA’s. The suspension can be adjusted between comfort, sport and sport+ modes. The latter is great for the track, not so much on the pothole and manhole cover infested streets of the lower mainland. To control all this forward momentum and fun on the streets (or track) the GLA 45 comes with 4-piston front calipers clamping 350mm perforated discs. Opt for the AMG Track Package and you get upsized to 360mm front discs and red 6-piston calipers, these bit hard, but controllably.
The interior is no less a dynamic endeavour. AMG Performance seats great you with heavy side bolstering. Although they are race focused, they provide ample support and adjustability. AMG’s or more specifically Mercedes interiors in any model line are class leading. They combine the best of materials and switch gear with advanced technology. The GLA 45 is no different. Sliding into the AMG seats the dual 10.25-inch center display is what catches your eye first. Spaning nearly two feet across the dash it provides vibrant access to all your driving and infotainment details. Backed by Mercedes MBUX system and you what you get is the most in-depth vehicle control system in the industry. The more time you spend with the system, the deeper you dive into what can be manipulated and altered to suite your needs. It sounds overwhelming, but in practical use is very user friendly and intuitive.
With an as tested price of just under $74,000.00 CAD the GLA is no bargain. It meant to address the needs of the enthusiast and demands of the family at the same time. With more an more families opting to live in multifamily homes, condos and smaller townhouses, parking space for vehicles is at a premium especially with single garage or no garage homes. The GLA 45 checks those needed boxes perfectly especially when compared to its bigger brother the GLC 43 which slots in at same price point. Although you get more space and usability with the GLC, you give up ease of use in every shrinking world and streets.