2016 Mercedes GLA 45 AMG – video review

It’s the family-carrying rally car from Merc – a 380bhp hot hatch!

By Shahzad Sheikh

2016 Mercedes GLA 45 AMG

On first acquaintance I couldn’t help but be cynical and sceptical about this new 2016 Mercedes GLA 45 AMG – it seemed to be a very contrived piece of niche marketing (and honestly I still believe that’s the case). I mean look at it – HOW is this an SUV? It just looks the same as an A 45 AMG – one of our award-winners from last year.

Click below now to watch my full video review

Or even a Crossover for that matter – and it has to be, because that’s what the new ‘GL’ part of the Merc naming strategy is supposed to represent. This is meant to be an SUV based on the A-Class. First impressions though, suggest this is little more than a slightly dressed up A-Class, second impressions suggest that it might be lifted a little (it is), and third impressions – for this GLA 45 AMG version – confirm that the whole thing is absurd and ridiculous.

2016 Mercedes GLA 45 AMG

I mean who puts winglets on the bottom corners of the front lower spoiler on an SUV, and talking of spoilers, what SUV has a massive wing sitting on the trailing edge of the roofline above the hatch? It’s not very tall either – sure it’s higher than an A-Class – and it is longer and fractionally wider (though the wheelbase is identical) – but parking next to a Tiida confirms that the humble Nissan stands taller.

2016 Mercedes GLA 45 AMG

Plus it has go-faster stripes and stickers which clash terribly with its serrated off-road-esque side skirts. It also doesn’t serve its intentions as an SUV that the boot doesn’t seem much bigger or particularly versatile.

2016 Mercedes GLA 45 AMG

In fact there are styling differences – the headlights have a kink in them and sit prouder, and the side profile is also unique particularly on the rear part of the window-line and on the side scoop. Most noticeably, and surprisingly, considering the wheelbase is the same, there is greater interior room front and rear, and the cabin just feels more inviting and spacious, helped, in part, by the twin panoramic sunroof.

2016 Mercedes GLA 45 AMG

Up front, you don’t sit that high – it just feels like a normal car – and it doesn’t have enough cubbies and storage spaces to put stuff like my XL iPhone 6 Plus. And yet my tall frame was very comfortable.

2016 Mercedes GLA 45 AMG

But how is it to drive? Well it’s 30kg heavier, but that only slows it but a miniscule two-tenths of a second in the 0-100kph sprint (4.4seconds), and whilst the exhaust feels slightly muted (though it still pops and parps!), do not dismiss a car that produces an absolutely astonishing 380bhp from a 2.0-litre Turbo four-cylinder engine.

2016 Mercedes GLA 45 AMG

The grip is solid, there is just a tad more hint of understeer on this than the A 45 AMG, so it’s not quite as sharp, but it would still put some other hot hatches to shame, and overall it can’t be denied that it is just about as much fun to drive as its little brother. The ride is a little better too.

2016 Mercedes GLA 45 AMG

Verdict

Being pretty much on par in terms of performance and poise with the A 45 AMG, yet providing more comfort and space, plus the added practicality of a fraction more ground clearance, for only AED20,000 more, all come together to bring a shocking result. The sceptic has been turned. I doubted this car at the start, but I ended admitting that – particularly as a family man myself – this is the more practical and usable solution for our part of the world. So yes – I would have the GLA 45 AMG over my beloved A 45 AMG. What a fantastic machine.

 

2016 Mercedes GLA 45 AMG – The Specs

Price: AED233,400 ($64k)
Engine: 2.0-litre Turbocharged 4-cylinder, 381bhp @ 6000rpm, 350lb ft @ 2250rpm
Transmission: 7-speed DCT automatic, All-wheel drive
Fuel Economy: 7.4L/100km
Performance: 0-100kph 4.4 seconds, Top speed 250kph
Weight: 1585kg

Tell us what you think of the 2016 Mercedes GLA 45 AMG below

One response to “2016 Mercedes GLA 45 AMG – video review”

  1. R. Gebhard says:

    Yes, I buy your conclusion. I also bought the car, (edition 1).
    0 to Home Depot in seconds, loaded 18 large bags of garden mulch
    Just as fast and way more practical than my 911 trade-in.
    Go ” Benz”.

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