Pros: Spine-shattering acceleration, most powerful compact sports utility vehicle.
Cons: Can quickly land you into trouble, stiff ride, uninspiring media interface.
Well to begin, I will not go back on my previous sentiments about the GLA. It really isn’t a pretty car at all. The aero1 package may have a number of extensions and tweaks to its aero kit but sadly I’m not moved by big aerofoils and diffusers hanging all over a car, especially on a Mercedes-Benz. But could its design be mismatched?
As previously mentioned, the GLA 45 is a car that falls way into the deep and dark barrel of the ugly tribe, looking at the rear I often ponder why anyone would approve of such a rear end and sell it to the public? It has an uncharacteristic unfinished look which is often not found on a Mercedes-Benz. The interior isn’t a place where I can say I was wowed either but, it’s a typical Mercedes-Benz interior with good quality materials used to finish it off. Our test mule had the optional memory Recaro sports seats which are brilliant. They were topped off with the red cut leather package which consists of black leather seats, red stitched seat belts, and the black headliner, it really did accentuate the whole sporty package.
The car has a strange funky feel to it, it must be all the red stitching and red accents which signify that you are about to have some fun in a compact “luxury” crossover. Before the drive, I always fiddle with the buttons and knobs in the car, took me a while to get accustomed to the media interface, though, but I am sure with time it will become second nature. I was a little disappointed that the display screen was not touch enabled, it would have been a nice option to have. Climate control is a standard feature and has dual zone capabilities and worked very well during our drive below 0 degrees. Still, it’s nothing fancy but it serves its purpose and serves it well.
Now, I may have gone on about how ugly this car is and so on, but, all I can say is, the 280 kW’s and 475 Nm’s makes up for all that is aesthetically wrong. Mercedes-Benz has kept the traditional turnkey start procedure and frankly it’s good enough, in any case, who has time to find start buttons anyway?
Once you turn the key there is a slight high rev to the car, it’s used to warm the car up quickly and ensures you can get to stomp the throttle as soon as possible. Once we managed to get out of the dealership one could only but smile at the open road. I got a sense that once the right foot is planted, all hell would break loose, but, surprisingly it didn’t, there is a hint of turbo lag and then an endless surge of power all the way to redline.
I often enjoy learning and getting a feel for the car I am about to assault before my attempts at being a fully-fledged racing pro. In this case, I spared no time in gaining the fictitious confidence. I slipped the car into manual mode, dropped down a few cogs planted the go-faster pedal and BANG came third, BANG fourth and BANG fifth, beginning to realize how fast I was going I immediately hooked the next gear and steadied to something legal.
The GLA45 AMG is a serious tar ripping machine. I have no idea how people can ever get used to having such monstrous power and control all in one package under a bar.
Then came the first corner, where I would usually slow down to a crawl and take it easy, but that would have been such a waste in the 45, I started having flashbacks realizing that this AMG had the 4matic insignia on the rear which obviously brought temptation into the fray.
What happened next was basically a demonstration of the 4matic system and its brilliance, I flicked the wheel to the left and planted the loud pedal, what I saw next was the sales assistant holding on for dear life and just short of taking the keys away, I was glad that he is a petrol head, as any other individual would have had me walking back home.
So, to put into simple terms, with the GLA45 AMG, you find a corner, aim for the apex and end up shooting out of it like a bat out of hell. One thing I will guarantee you though is, on each and every attempt you will be faster, braver and looking for more speed. This car inspires confidence much like the Golf 7R. But please do be aware, a number of people who have driven the GLA45 AMG hard have mentioned that it does tend to under steer, and in the wrong hands it may be a little too late to bring it back. I, unfortunately, didn’t have the time or space to try stunts, but given the opportunity in a safe environment, I would welcome it any day. I cannot even begin to describe how fast this car is, but, if you are looking for a daily Golf 7R beater with ample creature comforts, this qualifies with flying colors and you will never be sorry for making the decision to buy it.
I for one have always been a power hungry individual and nothing will ever change that. I thank Mercedes-Benz for giving me the opportunity to feed the bottomless pit that will forever plague me.
I may have fallen in love with a sports utility vehicle, I doubt I will ever be caught dead stating such in public, but, for the GLA45 AMG at any time at any place I would certainly not be ashamed to say I’m in Love.