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Daily Drives

Mean looks, but missing 4 cylinders

Mercedes-Benz GLA Review

GLA (X156, facelift 2017) | AMG GLA 45 (381 Hp) 4MATIC DCT


Car Owner Reviewer -
March 21, 2020, 1:17 p.m.
Reviewer's Score

8.1

Practicality and Comfort (7.0)
Performance and Handling (7.0)
Reliability and Running (8.5)
Looks and Style (9.0)
Features and Technology (9.0)
Model Avg. 5.6 Generation Avg. 5.6 Engine Avg. 8.1

The Review

Daily Drives Cross-Overs Mercedes-Benz GLA GLA (X156, facelift 2017) AMG GLA 45 (381 Hp) 4MATIC DCT

The looks were enough to get me in, the performance was enough to get me out :)


Summary

This car looked awesome. Especially in black or the dark grey with the aero pack, 20" black spoke wheels, night pack and edition 1 dash trim. When I saw the first one drive past me, that was it. Dog with a bone was I. But from behind the steering wheel, things were a little different. Fast though it was, it always felt like it was missing a few cylinders, to give it that mid range kick to make it a more compelling drive overall

Practicality and Comfort

As a big guy, with a wide back and legs, I am quite selective about what I call comfortable. Starting with the AMG performance seats, I would love to see the people saying that these are very comfortable and easy to drive with. I found them a touch on the snug side, occasionally needing to rock my butt awake. But the upside was that they held me in place well. Riding on 20" wheels with a reasonable profile tire, the drive was comfortable enough. Suspension did feel a little harder than my later c63, but manageable day to day. The boot is quite small I found which mean overhanging larger items into the car. Head room is not a problem for me generally, but there seems to be plenty. Even though its a cross over, it rides very low compared to the Audi and BMW equivalents in my view. As with any other AMG spec cars, it has all the toys including self parking, keyless this and that, so if you like toys, there are plenty. So generally OK in terms of comfort and practicality

Generally I don't keep my cars for very long. However, from the moment I purchased the GLA, I felt like I missed my old C63. Living with the GLA is easy though. It does what it says on the tin and to be honest, for a 2.0 litre engine, it does reward in its own way. That is, if you can get past the drone bellowing out from the quad (don't get me started on this) exhausts. As a junior AMG, it's a good car, but just needs expectations to be set in the right place.

Performance and Handling

This is where the little GLA 45, probably loses the most ground. For a start, the 2.0 litre 380hp engine, certainly has the numbers, but didn't have enough character across the rev range. Putting the car in sport and putting my foot down, it was fast! Faster than my 2012 C63. However, this was from stand still. Once moving, I found that the mid-range was lacking a bit, which I tried hard not to compare to its bigger brother. Even in its own right, the acceleration felt a bit flat. Weird though as this is not the case in the A45, which shares too much to mention with the GLA. The other thing that I didn't really like was what felt like a front wheel bias to the car. With the TTS quattro I have now, 4 wheels feel like they are being driven! with the GLA, even when the rear would chip in, at no stage did it feel like a the were working in tandem as much as the quattro system.

Would I recommend it? MAYBE

I think this car is built with a specific customer in mind and I would say that it serves that customer well. As an introduction to AMG, its a pretty good one. But if you love the harmony of engine and exhaust roaring at you, and you don't mind the extra running costs, I would recommend looking at a few other options including the C63, which in estate form also has a lot more space.

Mercedes-Benz GLA

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