MERCEDES-BENZ

MERCEDES-BENZ GLA AMG HATCHBACK GLA 35 4Matic Premium Plus 5dr Auto

Fuel

FuelPetrol

Transmission

TransmissionAutomatic

Acceleration

0 - 62 mph5.2s

WLTP - CO2 (g/km)

WLTP - CO2200 g/km

Mercedes-Benz lights the blue touch paper on its rocket of a crossover, the AMG-engineered GLA 45 S 4MATIC+. With all-wheel drive and 421hp from its turbo two-litre engine, it's searingly quick, thanks to use of the most powerful series-produced four-cylinder turbo engine in the world. It's also practical and isn't going to require a second mortgage to run. What's not to like? The price? Well you can't have everything....

POWER PACKED

Mercedes is marking its territory at the performance end of the premium-badged compact SUV segment in no uncertain terms with the powerhouse GLA 45. Jonathan Crouch reports.

Ten Second Review

Mercedes-Benz lights the blue touch paper on its rocket of a crossover, the AMG-engineered GLA 45 S 4MATIC+. With all-wheel drive and 421hp from its turbo two-litre engine, it's searingly quick, thanks to use of the most powerful series-produced four-cylinder turbo engine in the world. It's also practical and isn't going to require a second mortgage to run. What's not to like? The price? Well you can't have everything....

Background

It's not like Mercedes-Benz to miss out on an opportunity - and the brand hasn't done here. We've been impressed with the second generation version of the company's GLA compact premium SUV and it didn't take the brand's Afalterbach-based AMG tuning division long to get its hands on it and produce the vehicle we have here; the GLA 45. It borrows the potent '45'-spec performance engineering also used on the brand's A and CLA-class models and this spells all-wheel drive traction and a surfeit of power that's almost obscene. Can it work in a higher-riding 'crossover' body? Audi's RS Q3 has demonstrated that a market exists. Can Mercedes trump Audi at its own game?

Driving Experience

There's only one engine on offer but it's quite a powerplant. A 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit might not immediately promise great fireworks, but this one comprehensively trumps the 400hp 2.5-litre lump in the Audi RS Q3, developing a hefty 421hp from a relatively lightweight hand-built twin-scroll turbo engine (which is 40hp than the equivalent version of the previous generation model). That's in '45 S' version form, the only variant of this car offered in our market. Mercedes claims this car's engine to be the most powerful series-production four-cylinder turbo powerplant in the world and although you might well remember the odd Mitsubishi Evo with a few more ponies under the bonnet, for the time being at least it's impossible to argue with Mercedes' claim. This engine develops 500Nm of torque from just 2,250rpm (up from 475Nm before), again incrementally better than the RS Q3 Audi can manage. 62mph from rest takes 4.3s en route to 168mph. Drive naturally goes to all four wheels, but despite the SUV tag, don't be tempted to go green laning in this one. The ground clearance is minimal and the low-profile tyres aren't going to afford much grip on wet grass or protection to the beautifully-finished 20-inch alloy wheels. You get an AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 8-speed dual clutch sports transmission which has a RACE-START function and various AMG DYNAMIC SELECT driving modes enhanced by AMG DYNAMICS integrated agility control. Traction through the bends is enhanced by AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive with AMG TORQUE CONTROL. Plus there's bespoke AMG suspension with adaptive damping based around the three modes of AMG RIDE CONTROL. There's also a high performance braking system and circuit fiends can play with an AMG TRACK PACE app.

Design and Build

The styling of the GLA 45 offers a neat third way if you find the A45 AMG too gawky and the CLA 45 AMG too weird. Of the three, it's probably got the most cohesive front to rear design and it's not too overdone. There's a long bonnet with pronounced powerdomes, plus a compact glasshouse and muscular shoulders over the wheel arches that clearly reveal sports car genes. The AMG-specific radiator grille with the vertical slats identifies this GLA 45 as a member of the AMG Performance family and is flanked by piercing LED High Performance headlamps, plus there are big 20-inch wheels, flared front wings and large air intakes with silver chrome inserts in the fins. Inside, there are contoured sport seats with firm lateral support, double topstitching in red and red designo seat belts, plus AMG carbon fibre-look trim elements in the dashboard support. The chromed air vents are likewise upgraded with a red ring. Yellow trimming highlights distinguish the status of this S-Model and there's an AMG Performance steering wheel in nappa leather and DINAMICA microfibre with contrasting yellow topstitching. Otherwise, it's the standard GLA recipe, with twin front fascia screen and an advanced MBUX infotainment system. There's reasonable rear passenger space on a sliding rear bench - and a practical 435-litre boot.

Market and Model

Expect to pay around £59,000 for your GLA 45 S 4MATIC+ - or around £65,000 if you want the plusher GLA 45 S 4MATIC+ Plus version. Many will want to add extras - for instance, to upgrade to the larger optional 21-inch AMG Performance light-alloy wheel rims (which are standard with 'Plus' trim) and the DTM-style winged AMG Performance front seats. Still, you do at least get plenty for your not-inconsiderable outlay. Aside from everything we've so far mentioned, there are three bespoke AMG display styles ("Classic", "Sport" and "Supersport") for the instrument cluster. The "Supersport" mode is particularly striking with a central, round rev counter and additional information presented in the form of bars to the left and right of the rev counter: with a three-dimensional perspective, they reach far into the background to an artificial horizon. We also love the standard AMG exhaust system. Depending on the choice of drive program, its sound signature ranges from harmonious and discreet (in the programs Slippery, Comfort and Sport) to emotive and sporty (in Sport+ and RACE). The sound characteristics are controlled by an exhaust gas flap, depending on engine speed and load. AMG Real Performance Sound is available as an option.

Cost of Ownership

The emissions figure of the GLA 45 S 4MATIC+ (215-224g/km WLTP) seems scarcely credible given that this is a 421hp crossover that hits 62 in less than five seconds. Its key rival, the Audi RS Q3 manages 202g/km, but the Audi is less powerful and anyway, you can justify this Merc's return by telling yourself that it's really not that much worse than something like, say, a lightweight Toyota GT86 sports coupe; a car with no all-wheel drive, no usable rear seats, no turbocharger and which develops less than half the torque of the GLA 45 AMG. That's quite jaw-slackening. The WLTP combined cycle fuel return of the GLA 45 S 4MATIC+ is rated at 28.8-29.7mpg. Mercedes is quite upfront about how it's making those numbers. The combination of multiple fuel injection and multiple spark ignition improves fuel economy and significantly increases the thermodynamic efficiency, leading to low exhaust emissions. The injection system's outstanding flexibility also ensures a high degree of freedom in terms of application. There are up to five injections per combustion cycle in the cold-start and warm-up phase, which is so crucial for emissions. Residual values are bound to be sturdy, as the A and CLA-Class cars have already proved. The promise of a hot Mercedes crossover with low running costs and high build values isn't going to be lost on used buyers.

Summary

Mercedes has a product range bursting with talent at the moment, yet the GLA 45 S still catches the eye. Yes, around £50,000 is quite a lot to pay for a vehicle that doesn't really offer that much everyday practicality over a family hatch, but when you factor in the incredible power and performance of this car, it doesn't at first seem an unreasonable ask. Or does it? Think a little more about the GLA 45 AMG and you come away wondering not how it measures up against an Audi RS Q3, but whether it really offers anything much more over, say, a far more affordable 306hp GLA 35 AMG 4MATIC model, other than being slightly quicker to 62mph. It's easy to be wowed by the numbers here - and they are quite some numbers - but let's look at the salient facts. This is a road car. It rides a little higher than most, albeit not by much, but the ride height is just something to lever this car into a different niche. It adds nothing to its dynamic capabilities. If you're not sold on the styling of the A45 AMG and would like something that little bit different, we can see the point of the GLA 45 AMG and Audi has proven that a market exists for testosterone-packed crossovers. Despite all that though, we can't help suspecting that maybe, just maybe, this hot GLA could be a little too niche for its own good.

  • Electric front windows
  • Electric rear windows
  • Rain sensor windscreen wipers
  • Heated windscreen wash system
  • Dark privacy glass from B-pillar backwards
  • Heated glass rear windscreen + timer control

  • Active brake assist includes forward collision warning system with autonomous braking
  • Adaptive brake assist with hold function and hill start assist
  • Brake pad wear warning indicator
  • ESP curve dynamic assist
  • Electronic Stability Program with Anti Skid Control
  • Electronic parking brake
  • Anti lock brake system with Brake Assist
  • AMG high performance brake system with silver brake callipers and black AMG lettering at the front, ventilated and perforated brake disc

  • AMG floor mats in black with AMG lettering and border in nubuck leather look finish

  • Suspension with adaptive damping system

  • Hey Mercedes Voice activation
  • Radio aerial integrated into front and rear windshields
  • Hard-disk navigation
  • Wireless charging

  • Attention assist
  • Speed sensitive power steering
  • Active lane keeping assist
  • DYNAMIC SELECT with a choice of driving modes (Comfort, Sport, Sport +, Slippery and Individual)
  • Mercedes me remote services

  • Easy-pack tailgate
  • ECO start/stop function

  • Traffic sign assist
  • Fluid level warning indicator for fuel, oil, coolant and washer fluid
  • Lamp failure indicator
  • Mercedes me connect including emergency call system, accident recovery, breakdown management and maintenance
  • 10.25" Digital instrument cluster display screen
  • Status display for rear seat belts in instrument cluster
  • Smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android auto
  • Multi function trip computer
  • Outside temperature gauge
  • Service indicator (Active Service System)
  • Owners manual and service booklet in English
  • 10.25 inch touchscreen media display
  • Pre-installation of private car share
  • Augmented reality navigation
  • Instrument cluster - AMG sporty menu with gear indicator, warm up menu, set up menu, plus G meter, Race timer and engine data

  • Electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors with integrated LED indicators

  • Carbon structure trim
  • Chrome air vent surrounds

  • DAB Digital radio
  • Media interface
  • Bluetooth connectivity including audio streaming
  • Burmester surround sound system
  • 2 USB ports (type C) in rear stowage compartment and one in front of center console
  • MBUX multimedia system with AMG specific display designs, programs and engine data

  • AMG real performance exhaust sound system
  • AMG exhaust system with flap control dependent on drive program
  • AMG body styling - larger air intake in black
  • AMG body styling - Rear air outtakes
  • AMG body styling - Front apron with air deflectors on the outer air intakes
  • Signature AMG radiator grille
  • Aerial for GPS
  • AMG specific/dual flow exhaust pipes in chrome (non-functional)
  • Car wash function
  • Front wings with TURBO 4MATIC lettering
  • Body coloured door handles with chrome insert for keyless entry
  • Panoramic sunroof
  • Body colour bumpers
  • Roof spoiler

  • Automatic headlamp activation
  • Adaptive brake lights
  • Rear fog lights
  • LED third brake light
  • LED tail lights in two piece design
  • Multibeam LED headlamps with adaptive highbeam assist plus

  • Air conditioning - Two zone thermotronic luxury automatic climate control with display

  • Galvanished gear shift paddles on steering wheel
  • Luggage net on driver/front passenger seat backrest
  • Twin front cup holders
  • Net in front passenger footwell
  • Stowage compartment with retractable cover
  • Stowage compartment in centre console
  • Centre console with AMG specific hand comforter and button to control manual transmission and 3 stage ESP
  • Multi-gesture touchpad control on center console
  • 3 spoke AMG flat bottom performance sports steering wheel in black nappa leather with perforated grip area, 12 o'clock and silver chrome AMG lettering
  • AMG illuminated door sills with changeable cover
  • Front centre armrest with stowage
  • Sports pedals in brushed stainless steel with black rubber studs
  • Manually height and reach adjustable steering column
  • 12V power socket in centre console
  • Black roof lining
  • Leather trimmed gearknob
  • Illuminated glovebox

  • Courtesy light in boot
  • Interior lighting - 64 colour Ambient lighting
  • Ambient lighting in front headrests
  • Interior mirror with black reading lamps and frameless

  • AMG Night package - GLA
  • AMG Aerodynamics package - GLA
  • Mirror pack - GLA Class
  • Interior lighting with light and sight pack - GLA
  • Load compartment pack - GLA
  • Parking pack - GLA

  • Bonnet with power domes
  • Active bonnet pedestrain safety measure which detects an impact and raises bonnet by 65mm
  • Driver and passenger head and side airbags
  • Crash responsive emergency lighting
  • Childproof locks manually operated for rear doors and electrically operated for rear power windows
  • Dual stage Driver/Passenger Airbags
  • Tyre pressure monitoring system
  • 3 rear 3 point seatbelts
  • Drivers knee airbag
  • Window airbags
  • Front and rear seatbelt reminder
  • Warning triangle and first aid kit
  • Front passenger seat occupancy sensor

  • Auto Mercedes-Benz child seat recognition sensor
  • Adjustable head restraints
  • Heated front seats
  • Sports seats
  • Seat cushion angle adjustment
  • 40:20:40 split folding rear seats with backrest
  • Two outer rear seat isofix and top tether child seat fixing points
  • Electrically adjustable front memory seats with four way lumbar support
  • Seat cushion depth adjustment for improved seating

  • Vehicle key with decorative surround in chrome
  • Alarm system with immobiliser and interior protection -Thatcham category 1
  • Keyless Go starting function
  • Keyless go lock/unlock
  • Remote central locking and crash sensor with emergency opening function

  • Rear axle multi-link

  • Sunvisors with illuminated vanity mirrors

  • Summer tyres

  • 21" AMG multi spoke light alloy wheels painted in matt black with high sheen rim flange

  • Tirefit tyre sealant kit

  • Noise Level dB(A): 69
  • CO: 0.316
  • HC: 0.017
  • NOx: 0.014
  • HC+NOx: N
  • Particles: 0.0004
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb: 200
  • Standard Euro Emissions: EURO 6

  • Cylinders: 4
  • Cylinder Layout: IN-LINE
  • Number of Valves: 16
  • Camshaft: DOHC
  • Fuel Delivery: TURBO DIRECT INJECTION
  • Catalytic Convertor: True
  • Engine Layout: FRONT TRANSVERSE
  • Compression Ratio: 10.0:1
  • Transmission: SEMI-AUTO
  • Gears: 8 SPEED
  • Cylinders - Bore (mm): 83
  • Cylinders - Stroke (mm): 92
  • CC: 1991

  • EC Directive 1999/100/EC Applies: False
  • WLTP - MPG - Low: 24.4
  • WLTP - MPG - Medium: 32.8
  • WLTP - MPG - High: 36.7
  • WLTP - MPG - Extra High: 31.7
  • WLTP - MPG - Comb: 32.1
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Low: 11.6
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Medium: 8.6
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - High: 7.7
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Extra High: 8.9
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb: 8.8

  • Generation Mark: 2
  • Alternative Fuel Qualifying: False
  • Did at least one aspect of this vehicle's safety give cause for concern?: False
  • Special Edition: False
  • Special Order: False
  • Based On ID: N
  • Insurance Group 1 - 50 Effective January 07: 42E
  • Service Interval Mileage: 12500
  • Service Interval Frequency - Months: 12
  • NCAP Adult Occupant Protection %: N
  • NCAP Child Occupant Protection %: N
  • NCAP Pedestrian Protection %: N
  • NCAP Safety Assist %: N
  • NCAP Overall Rating - Effective February 09: N
  • Badge Power: 306
  • Badge Engine CC: 2.0
  • Vehicle Homologation Class: M1
  • Coin Series: Premium Plus
  • Coin Description: 4Matic
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Years: 3
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Mileage: 999999
  • Manufacturers Paintwork Guarantee - Years: 3
  • Manufacturers Corrosion Perforation Guarantee - Years: 30

  • Engine Power - KW: 225
  • Engine Power - RPM: 5800
  • Engine Torque - LBS.FT: 295
  • Engine Torque - NM: 400
  • Engine Torque - RPM: 3000
  • Engine Power - BHP: 306
  • Engine Power - PS: True
  • 0 to 60 mph (secs): False
  • 0 to 62 mph (secs): 5.2
  • Top Speed: 155
  • Engine Torque - MKG: 40.8

  • Emissions Test Cycle: WLTP
  • RDE Certification Level: RDE 2

  • Alloys?: True
  • Space Saver?: False
  • Tyre Size Rear: 255/35 R21
  • Tyre Size Spare: TYRE REPAIR KIT
  • Wheel Type: 21" ALLOY
  • Tyre Size Front: 255/35 R21
  • Wheel Style: MULTI SPOKE

  • Width (including mirrors): 2020
  • Height: N
  • Height (including roof rails): 1588
  • Length: 4436
  • Width: 1849
  • Wheelbase: 2729

  • Minimum Kerbweight: 1657
  • Gross Vehicle Weight: 2190
  • Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres): 51
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Up): 495
  • No. of Seats: 5
  • Max. Towing Weight - Braked: 1800
  • Max. Towing Weight - Unbraked: 750
  • Max. Loading Weight: 533
  • Max. Roof Load: 75
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Down): 1430
  • Turning Circle - Kerb to Kerb: 12.7

  • Cruise control + speed limiter: Included
  • Active blind spot assist: £0

  • Speed limit assist: Included

  • Designo metallic paint: £795
  • Metallic paint: £595
  • Solid paint: Included
  • Designo special magno paint: £1,795

  • Leather upholstery: Included
  • Two tone leather upholstery: £0

  • Driving assistance pack - GLA Class: £1,495

  • Metallic - Digital white: £595
  • Metallic - Cosmos Black: £595
  • Metallic - Denim blue: £595
  • Metallic - Iridium silver: £595
  • Metallic - Mountain grey: £595

  • Solid - Polar white: £0

  • Designo metallic - Patagonia red: £795
  • Designo Magno - Mountain grey: £1,795

  • Exit warning: £0

  • Two tone leather - Classic red/black: £0
  • Two tone leather - Titanium grey pearl/black: £0
  • Leather - Black: £0
  • Leather - Bahia brown/black: £0

Whilst every effort is made to verify and ensure the accuracy of the data, the information should only be used as a guide and no purchasing decision should be made without verification of the data from either the manufacturer or franchised dealer. Our offers may be on a different model year to that represented by this data and so specification may differ accordingly.

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