By on November 17, 2014

Mercedes Benz GLA 45 AMG side

Per Mercedes-Benz’s own naming strategy, anything with a G is considered an SUV, even if the GLA45 AMG is classified as a car. That would make this GLA45 AMG a hatchback – a hot-hatch if you will. Since no one in United States buys hatchbacks, it’s being called an SUV anyways. I went along with this until I pulled up next to a cross-over SUV called Range Rover at a light and noticed that its door handle was above this cute-ute’s roofline. Truth is that it doesn’t matter what you call it because it’s a blast!

Mercedes Benz GLA 45 AMG engine

The 2.0-liter 355hp engine sounds mean at startup, letting everyone know that this isn’t a plain olde’ Benzito, but it doesn’t sound like a tuned child’s toy either (Fiat 500 Abarth, I’m looking at you).  Select sport mode, start driving and you really wouldn’t know what is under the hood. There is plenty of low-end power and the engine is not screaming in agony on its way to a relatively low 6250rpm redline. It doesn’t feel like any 2.0-liter or turbo motor I have ever experienced; smooth and linear power from idle to redline. Very impressive.

The gear changes from the 7-speed Dual Clutch Transmission are fast, accompanied by exotic car-like gurgling backfire noises that were clearly designed in the most sophisticated of anechoic chambers. These noises may not be to everyone’s liking but will let the slower drivers know that they have just been passed by something special. The transmission’s only issues were at very low speeds, where it sometimes couldn’t decide exactly which gear to chose or when to fully disengage the clutch.

Mercedes Benz GLA 45 AMG dash

The speed and power of this vehicle are really deceptive, especially on the highway where triple-digit speeds are achieved rather effortlessly. Surprisingly, even in sport mode, it doesn’t launch off the line with authority (I didn’t abuse the vehicle by holding both pedals in) but then really takes off once it built up some speed. Buff books say that a quarter mile run can completed in high 12-second range, which was exotic car territory just a few years ago, now accomplished in a four-banger hatchback with a transversely mounted engine.

Toss this SUV wagon hatchback vehicle into a highway on-ramp and it will stick surprisingly well, with minimum body roll. The steering is very quick and direct, and may just be one of the best of FWD/AWD-based cars. On public roads I obviously didn’t drive anywhere near its or my own limits, but even then the little Benz telegraphed its intended part of travel and tire adhesion very well, with safe and predictable intentions toward understeer. There is a downside to all that fancy handling, however. When the smooth pavement ends, the bumpy ride begins. It’s not as bad as some so-called sport sedans with stiff springs and no-profile tires, but it’s certainly worse than any MB I have ever been in – something like GM’s Magnetic Ride Control would make a huge improvement.

Mercedes Benz GLA 45 AMG interior details

The interior will be familiar to anyone who has recently sat in a new MB. The infotainment system is heavy in buttons but generally easy to use, similar to other German makers, with the use of large console mounted knob but with Ford-esque steering wheel buttons. The sports seats are supportive and comfortable, a combination that is not always exclusive. Other AMG cues are visible in big clear gauges, flattened steering wheel, shifter paddles, and a really nice carbonfiber trim.

Forward visibility is not great, with large A-pillars and low sitting position and/or high beltline. The mirrors are rather small, too. From the driver’s seat, the hood has a visible dome in it but I am not sure if it is there to reaffirm that this is a sports, in a WRX sort of way, car or a truck in a 4Runner sort of way. Things get worse looking back; small windows and huge C-pillar make reversing or parallel parking downright challenging. There are sensors and a back-up camera to help assist with this, but the overall process is more difficult than it should be.

Mercedes Benz GLA 45 AMG exterior details

To test this vehicle’s abilities to do SUV things I filled up the trunk with week’s worth of groceries, a booster seat and a toddler seat in the back seat, and then instructed everyone to take their seats, with my wife in the front. Shockingly, everyone was comfortable. The back seat is short on legroom but the kids didn’t care. The trunk is small but swallowed up the groceries and a diaper bag. It may not be a large vehicle, but it is functional in a typical hatchback fashion.

The base Mercedes-Benz GLA250 starts at $33,300. But this GLA45 AMG is anything but base and therefore it starts at $48,300. Add to that your choice of packages: Premium Package, Driver’s Assistance Package, Multimedia Package, and/or Aerodynamic Package, and the total price can easily surpass the $60,000 mark. That is a lot of coin for a car that Mercedes representatives themselves referred to as “a Subaru WRX for grownups”, which may just be the best way to classify this vehicle.

Mercedes Benz GLA 45 AMG front 34

Kamil Kaluski is the East Coast Editor for Hooniverse.com. His ramblings on Eastern European cars, $500 racers, and other miscellaneous automotive stuff can be found there. 

Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC provided the vehicle for this review.

Mercedes Benz GLA 45 AMG rear 34

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137 Comments on “Capsule Review: 2015 Mercedes Benz GLA45 AMG...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    “Toss this SUV wagon hatchback vehicle …”

    Now there’s a definition I can live with, except you forgot “jacked-up” and “overpriced”

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      And perhaps “rough ride”.

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      How about we compromise here and bring back the name Kammback? GM used it to nice effect with the Vega in the 1970s and it’s more interesting than either hatchback, which refers to a cover over a hole and CUV, which sounds like marketing alphabet soup. Thoughts?

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Kammback is good, I approve, though it was/is a nomenclature that never really caught on like “shooting brake”

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Kammback doesn’t refer to a hatchback, although a Kammback can be paired with one. The name comes from the aerodynamic research of Wunibald Kamm and his conclusions about the effectiveness of a flat vertical back panel for reducing drag. Comparing a TR6 to a TR4 will give an application of a Kammback. Vegas had them too, expect for the wagon.

        • 0 avatar
          Superdessucke

          And for wagons we could resurrect the term “Sportabout.” AMC used this on its Hornet wagons in the early-mid 1970s. Provides the proper lifestyle implications that marketing-types are shooting for, and sounds much warmer and more enthusiast-friendly than CUV or SUV.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    Maybe. I like the look and am encouraged by the sport capability of this car. Very surprised there isn’t a larger engine option….I’m sure the AMG purists are complaining over a 4cyl engine in the AMG lineup. Per MB, this is a 4.8 sec car 0-60. I can think of other cars in the $60k range I’d rather buy. Notably a Porsche Macan S.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      I don’t think they can fit anything bigger. *Maybe* a V6, but not turbocharged, which would make it pointless.

      • 0 avatar
        energetik9

        Maybe. I personally don’t have issue with a T-4, although many do. Cars like this dilute the AMG brand. Same challenges faced by BMW M. The purists will hate the 4 cyl and perhaps even the FWD more. I can understand the T-4, but a FWD based AWD system on a car like this would rule it out for me for any serious consideration.

        • 0 avatar
          Bimmer

          The purists will hate the 4 cyl and perhaps even the FWD more.

          Really? Tell that about 4 cyl to the owners of the original E30 ///M3!

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            But what do *AMG purists* care about a *BMW M*?

            (That said, why “AMG purists” should care about anything other than ‘does it have an AMG badge and is it significantly faster than the non-AMG’ is beyond me.

            Certainly there have been plenty of 6 cylinder AMG cars over the years, and I see no reason why a 4 should be out of line, if it *delivers the goods*.)

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            And the 190E 2.3-16 to choose the more appropriate ’80s race sedan to this discussion. Not quite as revered today as the M3, but a cracking good car in its own right.

            This car has AMG appropriate performance, thus it is perfectly fine with an AMG badge on it.

            Mercedes makes exceptionally fine 4 cyl turbos these days. I’m rocking a C250 at the moment, sadly flight delays screwed me out of my week with a CLA.

    • 0 avatar
      Bimmer

      @Sigivald

      In Europe AMG used a 5 cyl. Diesel in the last generation of C-Klasse. I don’t think purists complained, that’s why now they have a 4 cyl. And I won’t be surprised if there will be a 3 cyl in the future.

    • 0 avatar
      ellomdian

      X1, GLA, Q3, and Macan. Aspirational, Ugly CUV’s for people who ruined the Wagon market.

  • avatar
    chiefmonkey

    Nice to see Mercedes has produced a solid contender in the ugly crossover game.

  • avatar
    EX35

    LOL at anyone paying $60K (WTF?!) for a FWD based chassis. LOL.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Audi’s whole lineup is FWD based and is competitive with all the RWD entrants. Most luxury buyers don’t care about drive wheels, outside of AWD in snow belt states. Sillier to me to buy a RWD SUV (like an EX35)… the dynamic advantages of RWD are more than washed out by the SUV’s tall CoG and ride height. But keep continuing on your teenage crusade to “stand for something”

      – 350Z driver.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Audi has been doing it for years. Luxury buyers don’t care about on-the-limit driving dynamics where RWD matters.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        You can get a lot more Audi than this for $60k.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          You can get two Audis for $60K

        • 0 avatar
          VW16v

          Q3 is a much better vehicle. Hell the Golf R is light years ahead of the gla. AMG or not.

          • 0 avatar
            natrat

            Not really, price dependent yes the vags are nicer. With a stage one tune the merc is at 405 crank hp. That is no joke.It will go from 60 to 130 faster than most things costing less. Q3 more a truck with handling to match. Golf R probably better but 1) it’s VW 2)high speed manners may not be quite as good. The 45 is turning 2200 rpms @100 in 7th gear. It is truly relaxed at speed.
            The suspension is good but you feel the little hits. With 18s and 50 profile tires instead of 40 and 45 stock (20&19)it’s better. The vws adjustable suspension probably is better day to day.
            So to say the Golf R and the q3 are light years ahead reaks of ignorant fanboyism. Both are beautiful cars

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            Light years!

            Well, at being a Boy Racer car, probably.

            I think (if I was in the market for either, even notionally, which … no.) that some people might prefer the increased interior space *and* fuel economy *and* 100 horsepower/75 lb-ft of torque in the MB, at rounding-error of the same weight.

            Maybe. Despite those “light years” of behind-ness.

            (Look, I can tell you’re a VW partisan, but “light years” without qualification? That’s unsupportable.

            “Better value if you want to zoom around town”?

            Sure, that’s defensible.)

        • 0 avatar
          SatelliteView

          @CoreyDL

          What’s an effin $60k in, pretty much, 2015??? In 1992 dollars it’s about $35k, which is what C class back then started at. This car represents a nice technological progress. I mean, same money in 1992 and today, and look what you can get!

          It amazes me how people get stuck in a very narrow time frame and continue to extrapolate from it for decades. Until one day this continuous extrapolation that undergoes no modernization classifies them as old farts… Sad and pathetic

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            The C-Class was not available in 1992. Your argument is invalid. And if it were, it wouldn’t have been $35k.

            MSRP of a 1992 190E (closest comparison model, though the 190E was larger and MUCH better engineered than when the C- started.)

            $28,950

      • 0 avatar
        EX35

        Audis that cost $60K+ use RWD-biased AWD on sophisticated chassis’.

        And the myth that luxury car owners don’t know/care about RWD has been debunked over and over again. Luxury car buyers ($60K+) want RWD or RWD-biased AWD platforms, whether they are aware of it or not.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          This is true. While there is a contingent of buyers in this category that don’t know or care if their vehicle is FWD or RWD biased, there is another chunk of buyers who very much do care, base their purchase decisions on it, and are willing to pay a premium for it. Therefore to appease those desired buyers, most luxury/performance segments are focused on RWD driving dynamics.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            Show me the data/studies proving this. This “fact” has been touted here for years w/no substantiation/proof.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            I’ve read this information in proprietary marketing reports from 2 different OEMs. Since it’s the form that the performance/luxury segment largely follows, it’s pretty obvious that somewhere there must be some data that these large corporations are basing their design decisions on. Otherwise, they wouldn’t spend the money.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            If RWD is so important, why is the A4 outselling the ATS? Why is the XTS outselling the CTS? Why is the A8 outselling the XJ? Why are the FWD/AWD CLA/A3 and various other crossovers the fastest growing sellers in the luxury market? Why has the Lexus ES been at the top of the midsize luxury chart for at least a decade? Etc. etc.

            Even if it does matter to folks in the F segment, that’s a segment dying a slow death in sales and relevance. Plus it’s not like OEMs can’t be wrong, case in point ATS, which I’m sure they did a lot of market research and surveying on.

          • 0 avatar
            Superdessucke

            We know this isn’t aimed at that crowd. It’s not offered in brown and with a manual.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          You dont need a RWD platform to have RWD-biased AWD. All of Audi’s cars, besides the R8, have their engines placed well ahead of the front wheels, just like a FWD car.

          And how can luxury car owners care about something they aren’t aware or don’t know about? RWD is the drivetrain du jour in the luxury segment because

          – V8s/V12s don’t fit transversely under most engine bays
          – its the cheapest way to put down 400+ HP w/o hassle
          – they already have all the tooling and platforms in place for RWD engines and chasses
          – it creates the long hood short overhang look people associate with 6 figure cars.

          The last one is the most important point and was a huge part of why the 2G Acura Legend was such a hit. It looked like a car twice its price due largely in part to that long hood and short front overhang.

          Show me the data proving that luxury drivers care about RWD dynamics in significant numbers (i.e. more than half) or put this silly teenage meme to bed. Because the fastest growing segments in the luxury realm are largely built around FWD based platforms.

          • 0 avatar
            MBella

            Audi has moved their engines back, and uses a RWD based setup similar to Mercedes 4-matic (excluding FWD based cars like the GLA)

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            Look, I’m not going to be e-mailing you any proprietary PDFs to “prove” what automotive marketers are obviously basing their descisions on. Since you seem so entrenched in the idea that RWD doesn’t matter, it probably wouldn’t make a difference anyway.

            I explained that there is a buyer subset in the performance/luxury categy that bases their decisions on the fact that a car as RWD, and they’re willing to pay a premium to have it. So while it’s entirely possible a majority of buyers of luxury cars as a whole don’t care which wheels drive, the ones who are willing to spend more money are worth more to the automaker. Therefore, the more valuable customers have greater pull in the design of the car when chasing those juicy high transaction prices.

            The fact that you’re using the Lexus ES as an example shows you don’t really understand the fragmentation of the luxury segment. The ES’ direct competition mainly uses FWD in that they are Buicks. The FWD luxury market caters to the lower end of the spectrum who wants prestige but isn’t willing to pay the premium for performance. Any Audi that transacts for a meaningful price is AWD which commands a premium itself.

            In spite of a much higher pricing structure, the CTS actually does outsell the XTS. The CTS is a better driving car, and buyers are willing to pay extra for it.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @danio3834

            Have you obtained any data showing how well the Alpha CTS sells vs the Sigma CTS?

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            “Have you obtained any data showing how well the Alpha CTS sells vs the Sigma CTS?”

            You can find it on Tim Cain’s site.

            The old CTS sold in higher numbers than the new model until last year, certainly due to no internal competition from the ATS and lower pricing than the current model.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Danio

            I thought MY14 was the first year for the Alpha CTS and MY13 the last for the Sigma, did they overlap?

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          They want it even if they don’t know it?

          Maaaybe.

          But how do you *know* they want it?

          Where do you get this information about their preferences that they themselves lack?

          (Now, it may be so – as danio says – that there’s proprietary data supporting the overall claim; and he’s definitely right about the motivated RWD segment – I know from personal experience that even thinking about a used luxury sedan as a “maybe” I far prefer RWD.

          But the claim that people in the segment in general prefer it *far more than they think they do* is a much broader claim than those.

          Remember that if e.g. 1/5 of the market *cares* and the other 4/5 *don’t*, any sane company will cater to the 1/5 to snap up their money rather than leaving it sitting; thus “every big luxury sedan is RWD” – true – is no proof that it’s a secret desire of most purchasers, just that it’s the most sensible thing to *build*.)

        • 0 avatar
          SatelliteView

          @EX35

          Buddy, I think the structure of this car took a 2nd spot on last years EuroCarBody Award. Where engineers vote for the most advanced automotive structure.

          Your opinion that it is not “sophisticated chassis” is null and void. I have no doubt that in terms of structural stiffness, safety, etc it’s amongst the “top 1%”.

          And $60k is $35K in 1992 money. It’s not the same $60k you’ve been forming a concept of all of your life

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      If you don’t understand 355 HP in something the size of a Golf, it probably can’t be explained to you.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Maybe not, but we understand dickhead perfectly

        • 0 avatar
          heavy handle

          A lot of people see the car buying process as finding the largest new car/truck they can get for the amount of money they can borrow. Nothing wrong with that.

          This car isn’t for them. Don’t take it personally, not every car should appeal (or even make sense) to everybody.

          It’s a niche car for those who like small powerful machines. Arguably, it’s sole industrial purpose is to get the base GLA more publicity. Seems to be working.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            I don’t take it personally, but being condescending doesn’t impress anyone. The readers here are interested in value and if 355hp is all this car has to offer, it ain’t gonna fly

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            And I take it (this vehicle) neither personally or seriously!

            It looks like a Fiat 500L even after a Fiat 500L pulls up.

          • 0 avatar
            DeeDub

            The Golf R is a niche car for those who like small powerful machines. This is a niche car for those who like paying $20K too much for a small powerful machine they can’t see out of.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            DeeDub,

            Do you think the Golf R will start at $28,300? ($20K less than this CLA AMG)

            That would be an awesome price, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was $10k over the base GTI. We should know soon.

          • 0 avatar
            DeeDub

            I’d bet a fully optioned Golf R is about $20K less than a fully optioned GLA45 AMG.

    • 0 avatar
      SatelliteView

      What’s an effin $60k in, pretty much, 2015??? In 1992 dollars it’s about $35k, which is what C class back then started at. This car represents a nice technological progress. I mean, same money in 1992 and today, and look what you can get!

      It amazes me how people get stuck in a very narrow time frame and continue to extrapolate from it for decades. Until one day when they become old farts… Sad and pathetic

  • avatar

    And yes, I did refer to the full-size Range Rover as a cross-over. I was being kind of sarcastic, so live with it. It doesn’t have a proper ladder frame.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I am notoriously not interested in SUVs, and I really like this thing. Fortunately it is nothing even close to an SUV, so I feel ok about it.
    As I was reading I was thinking about what I thought it would cost. I figured $48k to start and I guess I wasn’t wrong. Too dang much for this drone. And there’s no chance I’m picking one up used without a warranty/certification. And that will be too expensive too unless these are lot poison, which is doubtful.

  • avatar
    NeilM

    Many current model Mercedes are really good looking. This is not one of them.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    I reviewed this same vehicle:

    With panel gaps as large as Kim Kardashian’s arse crack spread liberally throughout the interior, more plastic trim bits than a Real Housewives of Silicon Valley Cougar Rager, 1/8th the interior space utilization efficiency than a Fiat 500L or Kia Soul, the ride quality of a saddled Dachshund, and the prospective reliability of a 1989 era Hyundai Pony Excel, many will fall in love instantaneously with the giant Plastichrome Tristar glued so conspicuously to the front and rear.

    And then there’s this:

    “…it starts at $48,300. Add to that your choice of packages: Premium Package, Driver’s Assistance Package, Multimedia Package, and/or Aerodynamic Package, and the total price can easily surpass the $60,000 mark.”

    Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz thankfully exists in a world where the types of fools who are so easily separated from their money and future money (debt) are, at least for now, aplenty.

    BUT AT LEAST THE GAUGES LOOK ON PAR FROM SOMETHING BY DAEWOO, SKODA OR SEAT.

  • avatar
    VW16v

    Test drove a gla a few weeks ago with the wife. We were eagerly awaiting the test drive, read a lot about the SUV mostly good. We walked away pretty much disgusted by the “car”. Had worse site lines then a chevy Camaro. Almost claustrophobic for all passengers. Shifted slow and had the numbest steering out of any car / SUV I’ve ever driv n. The headlights were also filled with moisture. Sales monkey said they are all coming jn that way and should be a problem. Right ! Shortly after we test drove a Q3 and it was a better drive in almost every area. It was also a few thousand less. Basically the gla is a way for people to drive a new MB for under 40k and that is it. The GLK is just a few thousand more and it is a better overall vehicle then the gla.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      Plenty of complaints are justified on this car. Slow shifts are not one. I’m sure you never changed it from eco, but it still shifts fast, just uses a higher gear.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    The price is ridic like a C-Class, but this doesn’t have nearly the “prestige” nor a nice interior. And looking at it from the back makes my eyes hurt. It’s ghastly.

    I’d never EVER spend $60k on something like this. You kidding?

    • 0 avatar
      sproc

      Good comparison. For similar money, a very well equipped (but still silly expensive) C400 4MATIC is probably a better vehicle in almost every possible way.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        ANY E Class at anywhere close to 60k has 3x the refinement, presence, quality, maturity and “goodness” as this pointless lump of orange peel (look at that paint!).

        • 0 avatar
          MBella

          So what’s the problem? If you prefer the E-class, nothing is stopping you from buying that instead. It’s not like Mercedes is eliminating all other $50-$60K cars and substituting this one.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Thankfully for Mercedes you are not their only customer. This thing might have something like a 50-70% profit margin. I can see it being very popular in places like NYC and LA where space is at a premium (ruling out a sedan like the C-Class), but people still want that badge and performance.

  • avatar
    jfranci3

    ….but that screen is unforgivable! Can you rip it off? Is it even hide-able?

    Why bother putting something tacky on your dash when consumers can buy suction cups for their phones?

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      It really does stick out like a sore thumb. I have to wonder what the logic behind that design decision was.

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        While I agree it’s stupid, it’s supposed to look like a tablet and be attractive to gen y buyers.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        I think it *looks* “tacked on”, definitely.

        But I also think that high on the center is exactly where it should be if it has to exist*; lower-mounted nav systems take your eyes FAR too far off the road.

        And that the ugliness is way overstated by others.

        (Retractables, as below?

        Yeah, that’ll hold up real well, won’t it? What could possibly go wrong with *that*?

        I wouldn’t trust a *Lexus* retracting screen to be durable, let alone MB.

        [Are they still using Bosch after the COMAND fiasco? I have the vague recollection that maybe they finally decided against using Bosch systems for user-facing equipment, but I may be wrong.])

        • 0 avatar
          MBella

          Bosch hasn’t built any of the Audio/Video equipment on any Mercedes for a long time. I think the last time a Blaupunkt head-unit was installed in one was the early 90s. Even then I think the Becker units were more common. I don’t know what Comand fiasco you’re talking about, but I would appreciate you elaborate. The earlier Comand units were made by Alpine, and the newer ones by Mitsubishi.

          Ironically the retractable screen on the last C-Class was actually very reliable, and the only problems I’ve seen were with the display itself, and not the retracting mechanism.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Nope, permanently mounted there. And so, so ugly. But this entire interior is ugly and cheap, so it hurts a lot less to see it here than it did on the C400 Tim reviewed a few days ago.

    • 0 avatar
      TonyP

      I fail to see what was so difficult with a retracting LCD like the old CTS or old G-Infiniti. Wasn’t Audi sporting a retractable display in the 90s? This gen Y tacked on display is horrendous and I can only see the progression going from retractable to tacked on back to retractable.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Which G-Infiniti had a retracting screen as factory equipment? I don’t think I have seen this, and it was certainly not even present in their larger cars like the Q.

        EDIT: Guess I’ve just never seen one popped up and in use. Not a bad design, definitely smoother than something like Volvo uses.

        Audi didn’t have a retractable screen on any of their cars until their circa 04 redesigns.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        @TonyP

        A retracting LCD could be interpreted as tasteful, they were going for devoid of taste (or more seriously, it probably was cheaper to half-ass it as they did vs being retractable).

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          My worry would be having the thing broken into by some low-life attempting to steal the “tablet” off the dash! The thing looks like an iPad-something from 20 feet in a snowstorm!

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    I don’t see how this will sell. Those who can pay the absurd 50-60 or whatever this costs aren’t gonna want a tiny car, even if it says AMG. And those who would like a GLA size car don’t have the cash for the AMG version.

    And 1000 pct amen on the warranty. This motor is a hand grenade. I’m not sure I’d trust Honda with this kind of an engine with specs like this… Daimler? No way. I see money pit and massive depreciation on this one.

    This car I absolutely don’t understand. It’s one of only a couple cars probably, where even if I had the money I just don’t get it. I wouldn’t buy this car if I was a billionaire. And I don’t see the point of its existence.

    Anyone else reminded of a SRT Caliber Btw? :D

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      We had quite a few come in, and they get sold quickly. I think there is one in the showroom, and the only one without an owner.

    • 0 avatar
      natrat

      there is set of people who want something like a german sti, not the sedan version. Mercedes is looking for 5-7% of gla sales and that doesn’t seem hard to imagine. People forget on these forums there are a bunch of rich folks in this country who could give a crap 20 grand one way or the other, just the way it is

  • avatar
    insalted42

    I grew up in South Orange County, CA near Laguna Beach, and this is EXACTLY the sort of thing I would expect to see littering the student parking lot at my old high school. In fact, if i don’t see at least 2 in the parking the next time I go back I’ll be surprised. This has “My super sweet sixteen” written all over it.

  • avatar
    EX35

    Small, luxury SUVs have their place, provided they are not ridiculously expensive. I paid $32K OTD for a new EX35 a few years ago and it has served us nicely. Extremely reliable, comfortable, solid feeling, excellant dealer service, etc. At the time, it was the same price or cheaper (after incentives) than comparably sized “budget” SUVS loaded up with equivilent equipment.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    Go ahead and try to find a base model on a dealer’s lot for $34k. I betchya it’s easier to find Bigfoot.

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    Having had an STI hatch I would buy this except for the price. If I could get a loaded one for $50k MSRP and brought close to $45k with haggling I would. At $60k+ its a no go.

    I’ll hope for a Gold R 400 or AWD Focus RS and save my Benjamins.

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    So they’ve got they’ve got their notoriously subpar 7-speed auto but threw in some dual clutches to compensate for quicker shifts.

    Meh.

    That 7 speed still likes to hunt too often for my tastes.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Ummm a dual clutch shares pretty much nothing in common with an auto box. Explain how someone can “throw some dual clutches” into a planetary gear auto transmission pls.

      • 0 avatar
        raresleeper

        I thought about replying with something witty.

        I’d rather not waste the effort.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          If I had to explain everything that sportyaccordy needed explained to him I’d feel exasperated too…………………

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            What raresleeper presumably meant was the AMG 7G MCT (which is used here), not a “dual clutch transmission”, which normally does refer to a dual-input automated manual, not a planetary gear system with a wet clutch replacing the torque converter (the MCT).

  • avatar
    dal20402

    The contrast between this interior and the beautiful 2015 C-class interior, in terms of both material quality and design, is incredible. That is a Mercedes. This looks about on par with Honda circa 2004.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    The tacky 80s Chrysler-esque “TURBO” emblem syncs it for me. Oh how the mighty have fallen.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Yes indeed, a simply magnificent vehicle with a handbuilt engine, and nothing else to recommend it. Not as quick as a new STI around the streets of Willow as chauffered by Randy Pobst.

    But it’s a CUV. I think. Where do I sign? Wifey will like it.

    • 0 avatar
      natrat

      http://www.zeperfs.com/en/fiche5180-mercedes-gla-45-amg-x156.htm
      vs
      http://www.zeperfs.com/en/fiche5346-subaru-wrx-sti-s.htm

      no, the merc is definitely faster, but that’s not saying much, sti is where it was 5 years ago

  • avatar
    seth1065

    Do not get hung up on the 60 K , 90% percent of these will be leased so it is the all important lease payment that will matter to people, not my cup of tea at all but I think MB will lease a lot of GLAs and my guess would be they will get the same take rate as other AMG silver stars, not sure what that is maybe 10% , anyone have a clue what the AMG take rate is?

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    2 liters and 355 horsepower?

    I dunno…makes me think of tuner idiots who will bolt a giant-ass turbo to their Civic/Neon/Subaru/whatever while leaving the internals as they came from the factory. I think the second owner will be in for fun times (unless the first owner was one of those guys who buys a high performance car and drives like a grandma, of course).

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      That’s a lot a gallop from a miniature stallion

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        I would say something about it being fine because rally cars make even more power than that from similarly sized engines, but I have a feeling rally car engines also get rebuilds between races…

    • 0 avatar
      Beerboy12

      Probably Merc did not employ a couple of tuner idiots to strap a turbo onto the motor…
      300Hp + has been achievable and relatively reliable for quite a few years now. Mitsubishi Evo and Renalt Megan come to mind.
      By “relatively” I don’t mean Toyota Camry or Honda Civic levels of reliability but the car won’t be blowing con rods through the side wall any time soon.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      One small difference being that these engines are hand-build (so I’m told!) by AMG, rather than being factory engines that were never intended to have a turbo, and over-blown by some idiot.

      One supposes that the AMG fellows upgrade things like the crank, appropriately.

      I am led to believe that while AMG cars call for more expensive specialist maintenance than non-AMG ones, I’m not aware of a general tendency for AMG engines to grenade.

      (I don’t know what block these are, or how much AMG modifies it, but I don’t think MB sells a non-turbo 4 these days, thus their blocks are Designed For Boost…)

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        I’m guessing that the engine will heat-soak pretty quickly, meaning that it won’t put out 355 HP for extended periods.
        That’s not a bad deal. 15 seconds of full throttle will get you past any reasonable speed, and it probably needs half its rated output to maintain a 155 mph top speed.

        In other words, think of it as a 270 HP engine that can occasionally over-boost to 355 HP. This wouldn’t work on a Peterbilt, but it’s fine for a small aerodynamic car that does occasional 0-100 scorchers.

        • 0 avatar
          linard76

          Mercedes is pretty good at keeping their current boosted engines cool under pressure. The A/CLA/GLA AMGs have been tracked by Car and Driver, etc and are seemingly robust little thing. Also, they seem to be underrated as per German practice.

          Just for fun reading on heat soaking.

          http://www.edmunds.com/car-reviews/track-tests/2012-mercedes-benz-cls63-amg-dyno-tested.html

          versus

          http://www.edmunds.com/car-reviews/track-tests/2012-cadillac-cts-v-wagon-dyno-tested.html

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Well as long as the little thing is tough enough to put out that kind of power, there’s nothing to worry about. Guess I shouldn’t doubt the company that will sell you a V12 that puts out 738 lb ft of torque.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            Interesting articles, thanks for the links.

  • avatar
    STRATOS

    Mercedes has shown us the best way to give a vehicle excepional road manners.Lowering the center of gravity.Unless your roads resemble the Baja.

  • avatar
    PJmacgee

    “where it sometimes couldn’t decide exactly which gear to chose or when to fully disengage the clutch”

    sooo…it’s a mess.

    “accompanied by exotic car-like gurgling backfire noises”

    Oh, like an Abarth 500. [dodges incoming rancid produce]

    • 0 avatar

      You see, this is a problem with writing reviews. People read selectively. I wrote how it’s fast too, but you didn’t mention that. No, it’s a typical DCT. :)

      • 0 avatar
        PJmacgee

        Yeah you can’t win against stoopid internet commentariate snark! No criticism of the review, I just couldn’t help myself nitpicking a $60,000 PR-described “grown-up” car with unrefined/indecisive transmission behavior.

        Carry on!

  • avatar
    TonyP

    I’m uncertain of the target demographic for this “thing”. An STI fanboy who’s grown up? A Golf-R who thinks spending Golf-R price for a 4-cyl hatch isn’t crazy enough?

    That being said I somehow like it, a lot. So that answers my own question. It’s targeted towards eccentrics.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    Nice review. It’s interesting that the small, fast and luxurious can exist in the same space these days. This car is clearly not for the financially challenged but it’s great that it exists.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    At a certain point, this just stops making sense. So, crossovers are useful because they’re better at dealing with potholes and rough roads? Sure, until you give them massive wheels and tires that utterly fill the wheel wells. Oh, but they’re easy to get into, and have a commanding view! Well, yes, but then you make one that’s all squat with small windows, and lower it so it’s not a total soggy mess. Oh, but they’re so much cooler looking than hatchbacks! But in a fugly race, it’s probably a dead heat with the roomier B-Class that Benz apparently refuses to sell in the US.

    But then, honestly, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen an AMG driven in anger. I’m not entirely sure most use much more of their copious power than I get from my anaemic 100 horses on a daily basis. So maybe just drop the ruse that it’s about increased performance, and just acknowledge that people just want to be able to demonstrate they bought the most expensive model available. I mean, Benz has plenty of names they could dust off to make an ultra-luxury model – they keep trying to make Maybach happen, but there’s also Pullman, or Grosser, or I’m sure they could come up with something else. So, take our hypothetical GLA Maybach – load it up with an S-Class’s range of goodies, give it enough sound deadening that you could sleep through the Blitz, and give it the build quality befitting a $60k vehicle. Hell, maybe encourage the Porsche model of pricey customization options. That seems less goofy than a stonking quick SUV (of varying enormity) sloooooowly drifting into my lane while the driver has a phone pressed to their face (even though, don’t they come with Bluetooth?).

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      What!??

      A 48k to 60k economy car platform tiny and oddly shaped CUV with a hand grenade motor, lower ride height than most vehicles, the storage space of a Hyundai Accent, an interior not worthy in material quality or assembly of a Buick, that makes fart popping sounds as it crashes over pebbles and ruts while using dizzy logic to grab the correct on of 7 gears – it’s not sensible?

      This is a helluva vehicle as well as great value, and if you don’t think so there are many, many people here who derive their living from selling vehicles who will inform you in crystal clear language that all vehicles make sense, at any price, no matter their qualities or lack thereof, and you should not only NOT dare air your critical thoughts about it, you are just obtuse.

      Buy it! Have fun! Even if it sucks & blows, pay the freight, bend over, and grin and bear it, because no bad choices!

  • avatar
    TybeeJim

    At some point these things become truly inane. I have a Q5 2.0T and it works quite well for a CUV with adequate room and a pretense of rally performance. Of course the quality is superb in my book. But, I must admit that this Benz intrigues me. I’ve read that it is a monster on the track, maybe the sportiest Benz in many moons. I’d like to see a comparo with the Macan which comparably equipped will be 10k more expensive. The thing is, almost no one will ever take these things on the track where they can legally flog the crap out of it. The Macan folks are more likely if they own other P-cars. Let us know when you set up the Macan v GLA45 v WRX Sti duel.

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