By on April 27, 2016

2015 MErcedes-Benz GLA45 AMG Aerodynamics PAckage

One of the coincidental perks in my work life means that my home office is just a couple of miles away from a major east coast autoport in Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia. Very rarely do I leave my home without driving by the CN Autoport. On the way to the grocery store, I spot rows of European luxury SUVs, odd imports such as the TVR Tuscan, handfuls of Land Rover Defenders, a Volkswagen Golf GTI Cabrio destined for perusal at Volkswagen’s Canadian HQ, and Mercedes-AMG GTs crossing Main Road with all the nonchalance of a cat which managed to stop traffic on 5th Avenue.

It also means my eyes, through no fault of their own, notice the periodic import of a Mercedes-AMG GLA45 with Mercedes-Benz’s ostentatious Aerodynamics Package, the least Mercedes-Benz-esque option known to mankind on what is already a decidedly un-Mercedes-Benz-ish vehicle.

The AMG GLA45 is a 375-horsepower version of the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class, itself a tall hatchback sibling of the not critically acclaimed CLA-Class, which is essentially a third-generation Mercedes-Benz A-Class. The A-Class wasn’t sold in North America during the tenure of its first two generations in part because Mercedes-Benz’s North American operations would have risked de-escalating the brand’s lofty image. (Mercedes-Benz is an upmarket brand in Europe, too, but the three-pointed star is as likely to appear on the front of your taxi as it is the top of your wish list.)

From my vantage point, Mercedes-Benz is the company which supplied W126 S-Class sedans to many world leaders whilst North American government leaders were ferried about in, well, less impressive Cadillacs.

While friends of mine drove around in a ratty E30 BMW 318i, I was bowled over by a 25-year-old blue Mercedes-Benz 280E driven by my oldest brother’s best friend. It felt like Mercedes-Benz built the W123 for a thousand-year lifespan.

It’s not just the old stuff. A classy interior in the new GLC-Class will help us all forget the first M-Class’s cabin. The very existence of the CLS Shooting Brake, albeit not in North America, proves Mercedes-Benz has a refined palate. The latest C-Class Coupe shows Mercedes-Benz can rely on a shapely roofline for style, rather than the appendages affixed to that roofline. The Mercedes-Benz Unimog and G-Class, while as unrelated to an SLK roadster as Benzes can be, continue to foster a certain bomb-proof aura.

2016 Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG Aerodynamics Package Rear wing

Keeping Mercedes-Benz’s vastly divergent lineup in mind, I’m nevertheless struggling to follow the path from that blue 280E to an AMG GLA45 with a rear wing that might be too over-the-top for the next Fast & Furious film. The GLA’s aero package would be a step too far for a reincarnated Pontiac Vibe in GXP guise. Okay, maybe not.

But a $50,000 Mercedes-Benz hatchback shouldn’t look like a car that’s dancing on top of the bar in order to grab a Ford Focus RS owner’s attention.

You could accuse the Volkswagen Golf R of being too subdued, but does a Golf R alternative from Mercedes-Benz need to be the hot hatch that hikes up its short skirt, lathers on too much blush, and walks through a perfume shower? Shouldn’t that be the Hyundai Veloster’s job? Shouldn’t a Subaru WRX STI’s rear wing be the least tastefully applied?

2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG Edition 1 Concept

We first saw these adornments on the Edition 1 version of the GLA45, worsened then by lurid graphics presumably borrowed from the first-generation Kia Rio’s accessory catalogue. Now, the rear wing falls under the AMG GLA45’s $1,950 Aerodynamics Package, which can only be selected once you’ve already handed over $750 for the AMG Night Package. Yes, it costs $2,700 extra to make your $50,505 AMG GLA45 look just a little more like the Dodge Caliber SRT-4.

The AMG GLA45 is fast. So was the Caliber SRT-4 in its day. But this is 2016. Fast is easy. Fast is easier than fast has ever been. V6-engined Camrys are fast. V6-engined Ford F-150s are fast. You don’t need to spend an extra $2,700 to tell me your GLA is the fast one. I knew that already because it’s a “crossover” that sits lower than many cars. The goal is being fast while not declaring that fact to the Virginia cop who needs to meet his quota for the month.

CN Autoport Eastern PAssage NS

Or at least, that’s the goal of those of us who continue to long for the era of E39 BMW M5s or W210 Mercedes-Benz E55 AMGs with wheel spokes wider than a weightlifter’s thighs and – get this – a three-pointed star on its hood, not in its grille.

Perhaps those of us who recall such halcyon days don’t realize that we’re entrenched in a new age, an automotive period in which outrageous acceleration is officially outrageous only if the wheels are black, the brake calipers are red, exhaust pipes outnumber doors, and bodywork announces the amount of downforce created at 155 miles per hour.

Thus, on behalf of myself and all Mercedes-Benz buyers who refuse to accept two-bar grilles with integrated stars, I hereby submit a formal application to whom it may concern for Aerodynamics Package-equipped AMG GLA45s to be parked out of sight at autoports across the land. (And for E63 AMG Wagons to be brought closer to the road.)


There may be consumers who insist on ordering such a GLA, but the rest of us shouldn’t be forced to look upon Mercedes-Benz sacrilege, particularly when we have young children aboard whose eyes may be lured away from appropriate viewing material by such outlandish augmentations.

[Images: © 2016 Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars, Mercedes-Benz]

Timothy Cain is the founder of, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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49 Comments on “GLA45 AMG’s Aerodynamics Package is Mercedes-Benz at Its Worst...”

  • avatar

    It looks like a four-year-old cross training sneaker.

    • 0 avatar

      I got a gla45 cuz i am rich , and rich people dont want vws or subarus. Without the wing it could pass for an imprezza so it doesnt attract unwanted attention.Aside from that this car is absurdly fast and planted on back roads. Not quite as bonkers cornering as my old rx7 but better exit speed . My next car might be an fpace svr but thats pushing 4300 lbs i bet and a macan is around that weight, a ttrs is super gay , a porsche too showy so really there are not many choices for a balistic 4×4 hatch and i dont want a cheap ass focus rs regardless of how well it handles

      • 0 avatar

        This might be the greatest comment in the history of TTAC.

      • 0 avatar

        That post literally embodies every single stereotype you can have about the type of buyer for this.

        It’s genius is in its simplicity.

        • 0 avatar

          I actually almost bought this car. In my opinion, the aero package looks great except for the stupid wing, and this is coming from someone who owned an Evo 9. The car was so much fun to drive that I would have looked past the ridiculous wing. It is a shame that this car may be overlooked because of its styling because it isn’t everyday that a car brings such a smile to my face as the GLA45 did.

          I ended up with a C300 because the interior was such a substantial upgrade in quality over the GLA45’s, not because of the wing.

          • 0 avatar

            I know that it’s fashionable lately to hate on MB because they don’t design their cars like 30 year old S Klasse sedans anymore but I’ve actually driven one of these and they are fun! My brother in law has one (sans wing), I like the look of it in the flesh, it’s a little tight inside but the cabin is well appointed….and it does go like stink! I wouldn’t want to own one out of warranty but it’s a cool little rocket!

  • avatar


  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    Cognitive Dissonance: that feeling you get when the words say Mercedes-Benz but your eyes say Nissan Juke.

  • avatar

    Aw. Driving a Mercedes used to be a way for rich people to spend a lot of money on a (very sedate) sedan to enforce their distance or distinction from other classes of society, e.g. WRX STI buyers. No more. It’s interesting how we internalize the preferences and tastes of the dominant social class and react to different cultural stimuli, determining what is “pretentious” or “vulgar” or “gawdy” rather than “attractive” or “dignified” or “beautiful.” It’s all arbitrary. I’m sure many people find Mercedes’ GLA45 a refreshing departure from the stodgy W124s of yore. If marketing to them yields a profit for Mercedes, so be it!

  • avatar

    This car looks like utter junk on the road. Exposed rear muffler cans like a ’92 Seville, the general appearance of a Mazda3 hatch, and the overwhelming cheapness of a – well – a CLA.

    I’d be frankly embarrassed to lease (God knows no one ‘owns’ a GLA) one of these gauche Daimler cash grabs. A 123k-mile 2005 LaCrosse with seven Minnesota winters under its belt, three missing wheel covers, and half the beltline chrome peeling and pitted exudes more honest entry luxury than this. At least its more reliable. And has more headroom.

  • avatar

    Don’t like this but the previous generation, C63 AMG Black Series in full DTM trim is a car I’d drive. Wing and all.

  • avatar

    Wealthy high-school students have officially become a demographic in the MB marketing department.

  • avatar

    Good Heavens, the lengths people will go to to convince themselves they aren’t really driving a small mini-van.

  • avatar

    Great read! Finally someone, other than myself, admits to liking the traditional grill and hood ornament.

  • avatar

    The GLA is what happens when you give a large moth some absinthe and tell it to design a car. The rear end reminds me of the face on a moth.


    • 0 avatar

      I can’t believe it still has those pesky windows and a grille emblem which only takes up about 1/5th face space. C’mon now Hans, we need a tri star the size of the entire hood.

    • 0 avatar

      OOOhhh, sudden absinthe craving. Thanks, you helped me decide on my after work drink. No craving for this crass car at all. It’s everything despicable about conspicuous consumption with none of the benefits of spending lots of money other than showing it.

  • avatar

    I would gladly pay 1-2000$ extra for a body kit delete option on most of the “performance” variants of cars nowadays, like the STs, GTI/R etc. I want them to look exactly the same as regular version of the vehicle with no differentiation whatsoever. The Golf R isn’t subtle enough by far.

    • 0 avatar

      I like the Audi “S” differentiators… Subtle, but they’re there and you can tell something is a little special. Wide bodies, lower suspensions, and aluminum mirror caps (except B8 series S4 they started using painted plastic, for shame).

  • avatar

    I don’t think it looks That bad, at least in the context of ugly modern CUVs. But every female who saw you driving it would think you had a small penis.

  • avatar

    hell give my the VW Golf R understated german car that will blow the doors off most cars and go unnoticed by most, Maybe MB can try that idea it worked well for them for 50 years or so. I get that they have to chase every dollar but sell it in China if you need to.

  • avatar

    Mercedes are now merely products.

    I miss art.

    Today it’s all about what a car “has” and what a car “does”.

    Once it was about what a car “is”.

  • avatar

    I don’t know, that spoiler is ridiculous. Even my product of the 80’s teenage self would look at that spoiler and go, that is ridiculous. The rest of the vehicle is attractive to me, but I love 5-doors.

    Take that stupid spoiler off, it isn’t that bad to me, but doesn’t address all of the other awful flaws the CLA suffers. For a fist full of dollars (not AMG versions) you can go C-class.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    This is hideous. But I do like the GLA – I like small footprints yet enough height for my gawky 6’3″ frame.

  • avatar

    The worst crime this car commits, is that if you want adjustable suspension in Canada, you have to get this hideous package. So it’s either lose your spine due to rough ride and have a subtle looking GLA, or get adjustable ride and deal with the bodykit.

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    This car is Mercedes’ version of an Impreza STI, it should look the part. I would be surprised if this body kit package isn’t there by popular demand.

  • avatar

    Jealous of the style and success of the South Koreans, Mercedes Benz has now out-Hyundai-ed Hyundai.

  • avatar

    I don’t see anything wrong with it – that is what all the punks and thugs do to their Honduhs. And we know Honduh owners are the brightest set of 2 watt light bulbs in the carton.

  • avatar

    Oops. I didn’t know this package was factory. I saw one of these on the road the other day, snapped a picture, and shared it across social media with a snarky boyrace-shaming caption. OH WELL.

    The GLA and CLA in any trim are embarrassments to the MB brand. What’s interesting is the buyer they are attracting vs. Audi A3, here in LA at least. People who drive A3s for the most part look like people who would buy an A4. People driving CLAs look like Dodge Charger / Nissan Altima buyers.

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