The description of the Mercedes-Benz GLA 45 AMG, as seen on the bumf, says SUV. On Mercedes India’s own webpage, they have listed it under their ‘off-roader’ line up. We have heard others describe it as an “entry-level AMG” or “just another fancy looking Merc”. But nobody refers to it as a practical, four door sports car which is exactly what it is.The GLA 45 AMG is one oddly likeable machine. On the one hand it’s a comfortable family vehicle, brimming with all manner of creature comforts and technology, and on the other it’s a full on, low-slung sports car with performance that outdoes most Porsches on the road. That being said, it’s still more of a subdued, less wild AMG than we are accustomed to. There is no big, unruly V8 powerhouse lurking under the hood and neither is all the power in the world left to the mercy of the rear wheels. Instead, the power is sourced from a turbocharged, four-cylinder engine and channelled to all four corners with the surefootedness of an all-wheel drive system. However, do not for a second conclude that this AMG is a bit weak-hearted. The GLA 45, in fact, is a machine purpose-built for delivering as much driving pleasure as possible from what is basically a crossover platform. Accordingly it’s much more powerful, lower to the ground and with a heavily beefed-up suspension set up compared to the regular GLA. The question now is how well does a purpose-built machine as such, be intended as an everyday performance car?
The GLA is quite the looker and we believe its styling alone will draw enough and more prospective customers into showrooms. With a good base to start from, there was little doubt that the GLA 45 AMG would be anything but a scorcher. On this white car, the first thing that catches the eye is the contrast red insert around the grille, drawing your attention to the muscular front end. That large Mercedes logo sitting like a hinge in the centre of the thick dual slat grille draws you in and the large air inlets and chunky brushed aluminium front splitter complete its aggressive look.
Move towards the side and you notice that the GLA 45 AMG is lower slung than its donor. If there’s any drawback, it’s in this car’s side profile, where it looks a bit too hatchback-like. Mercedes increased the ground clearance of the GLA for India by 30mm to 183mm but keeping in mind the 45 AMG’s sporting pretensions, this car stands at 168mm. Around the same as most Indian cars that makes it perfectly fine for our roads but doesn’t give it the ability to go off-road. The GLA 45 AMG is shamelessly made for the road though and it’s a good one at that. We’ll come to that as we cover the driving bits. Let’s move on to the rest of the design.
In side profile, noticeable changes are the black painted wing mirrors and 5-twin spoke AMG 19 inch alloy wheels. The red brake calipers stand out as well. The GLA 45 AMG has matt grey sill panels to round it off. Towards the rear, two twin chrome exhaust tips mask single split exhaust pipes and a more elaborate diffuser is added on. Other bits like the large side stickers and red strips running on the mirrors and the rear diffuser are optional extras.
While the GLA’s exterior might be confused about itself, the interior has no struggles about its sporty intentions. The optional Recaro seats have tall bottom and side bolsters that give bear hugs upon sitting down. The beautifully curved seatbacks feature chrome cutouts that look ready to accept a five-point racing harness.
The suede-lined steering wheel has perfect cuts at three and nine o’clock positions and fat grips at 10 and two. The dashboard is covered in carbon fiber with aluminum trim pieces. The carbon-fiber look extends to the AMG-branded gauge cluster where the weave acts as a dark background against the satin chrome and red-lined needles.
The rear passengers aren’t treated to the same Recaro buckets, but they do get plenty of room in every direction. I sat rather comfortably behind myself and had nicely padded places to put my elbows, both on the door and folding center armrest.If more room is needed for cargo, the rear seatbacks fold flat. A ski pass-though in the center armrest allows for longer items with only the one seat being sacrificed.
The 4.0-litre engine surpasses the might of all others among SUVs on the roads. Here is a powertrain that is destined to equip the best on the roads. With this vehicle, the engine delivers a displacement value of 1991cc, taking the machine straight to the higher echelons of power on the roads. Furthermore, the ride goes with a massive power capacity of 360bhp, along with a peak torque value of 450Nm, making this one of the most deadly machines on the road. The capacity of the engine translates smoothly into raw power with the help of an excellent AMG Speedshift DCT 7-Speed sports transmission gearbox. All of this channels a top class performance for the vehicle, allowing it to soar through city roads at 225 Kmph as its peak speed. It can rev from 0 to 100kmph within an astonishing 4.8 seconds, possibly the best acceleration value for a luxury SUV of its class and build.
The massive prowess that a company like this shows in its engineering capacity, reflects in the sound, all rounded nature of their builds. The design capacity of this model aims to secure all aspects of the vehicle, and not only its performance and speed abilities. Therefore, this SUV is a model imbibed with the need to bring a tighter delivery from all sides of the machine, without leaving any feature unturned. Thus, the fuel efficiency of this utility vehicle is also touched with the help of its high grade engineering. Its mileage value is 17.9 kmpl, which is rather amazing for normal cars itself, but extraordinary considering this machine’s mighty build and its great performance capacity as well. Therefore, here is a machine that grinds its place through the competition, making itself known not only for perfected forms of elegance and speed, but also for a host of other benefits as well.
It has proved its point with regards to speed and performance capacity, with a mighty engine that is specially conditioned by the top class engineering of this series. As a result, it is amassed with the finest architectural benefits in the realm of drivetrains. The 4 cylinder GLA 45 AMG engine engine is quite possibly one of the most powerful in the world, and it gives this car a displacement capacity of 1991cc. Furthermore, it pumps a mighty torque of 450Nm. This, going along with a massive power of 360bhp, together locks this vehicle in as one of the most definitive performance models ever built.It has a set of firm brake calipers arming the front and the rear brakes. In addition to this, it has technologically advanced aids of usual vehicle standards, meant to enable a greater control. The suspension system is also top notch, helping the car to improve its stability and control, and to keep up a well needed drive balance for the best performance.
DRIVING DYNAMICS ;
The Mercedes GLA45 AMG is powerful and thus all those German stallions are channelled to all four wheels via the company’s 4MATIC all-wheel drive system. The car does well to lay all that power on the road smoothly and there is little of wheel-spin or loss of traction even with a heavy foot. The system does feed more power to the front-wheels so you don’t get the typical rear-wheel drive feel which bigger AMGs offer. Still, there is a load of grip on offer and the GLA45 simply feels up to the task of handling all that madness, it gets an anti-roll bar along with stiffer springs. Handling is excellent as this sports crossover feels quite like a hatchback with sharp body control and a nicely weighed steering which is heavy even at low speeds.
Once you switch off the traction control system, the GLA45 flashes ‘Sport Handling Mode’ on the cluster. It does let you tail out a bit before policing you back on track. Stability is excellent and the big plus of the car is the ground clearance, despite sitting 15 mm lower than the standard GLA. Unlike the CLA45 which touches even rumblers, the GLA glides over speed-breakers like just any other car. The high ground clearance also boasts confidence to hold high speeds for longer because any irregularity of the road isn’t much of a bother. Ride quality is on the firmer side, yet it’s pliant enough to not unsettle you like the CLA45. The car does make the expansion joints on bridges felt inside the cabin. With so much thrust on offer, braking has to be excellent and the GLA45 has massive cross-ventilated discs on board to stop instantly.
SAFETY FEATURES ;
The GLA 45 AMG is the top of the line GLA. It’s got all the features of the GLA that includes Bi-Xenon headlamps with DRLs, aluminium roof rails, a Harman Kardon surround sound system, sat-nav, 7-inch screen, reversing camera, paddle shifters, infinitely adjustable electric sports seats with memory function, a panoramic sunroof, all that you need. The AMG bits like the gear lever with the AMG stamp embossed on the leather and the AMG instrument cluster are unique to this car among other GLAs, as is the steering wheel. The only issue is a slightly dated looking screen and the clutter of buttons on the centre console, that don’t quite gel with the overall interior design.
The GLA 45 AMG proved to be a great driver’s car in terms of sporty handling, a strong powertrain, good grip, and an exhaust that just begs to be heard. The Alcantara and carbon-fiber bits on the interior, along with the Recaro seats, match the mechanicals’ soulful purpose. Like the Fiat 500 Abarth, the GLA 45 AMG is a heck of a hooner, but the GLA just works better as a regular car when the need arises. It’s the five seats a decent cargo hold that make this SUV turned hot-hatch into a usable sports car, but they don’t take away any of the fun.