Road Test: 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 4MATIC+

Road Test: 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 4MATIC+

Story by Jordan Allan, photos courtesy of Mercedes



Price: $73,540 (as tested)

Engine: Handcrafted AMG 2.0L Inline 4 Turbo

Trans: AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 8G Automatic

Power: 382 hp@ 6,500 rpm

Torque: 354 lb-ft @ 4,750-5,000 rpm

Curb Weight: 3,913 lbs/ 1,775 kg

Fuel Consumption: (L/100km – City/Hwy) 11.6/8.8


New for 2021: The GLA-Class has been completely redesigned for 2021. It still resembles the outgoing model but features a more premium look, both inside and out and is taller, wider and a slight bit shorter than before.

Segment Competitors: BMW X1, Audi Q3

The Skinny: With the all-new Mercedes GLA Class comes the also completely new AMG GLA 45 version that features a whopping 382 horsepower from its 2.0L twin-scroll single turbocharger, which is a heck-of-a-lot for an extra-small SUV. The engine is paired to a lightning-quick AMG SPEEDSHIFT dual-clutch automatic transmission and power is put to the wheels through the 4MATIC+ all-wheel-drive system that can split engine torque between not just the front and rear axles, but also side-to-side between to maximize traction.

Turbo-lag is non-existent as the SUV accelerates very quickly off the line and the small, compact nature of the GLA 45 pairs extremely well with an AMG-tuned suspension system that handles high speed corners with ease. Four-piston front brake calipers slow the SUV seemingly as quick as it got going while the full host of driver-selectable driving modes provide the ideal setup for numerous situations.

Inside of the GLA 45 features a pretty typical Mercedes-AMG interior, which is by no means a bad thing. It has a full suite of technological amenities, an easy-to-figure-out layout of infotainment and climate controls, and very sporty, race-inspired front seats and a flat-bottomed steering wheel. The 10.3-in. digital instrument cluster is customizable and very easy to read while the standard red seatbelts and red stitching found throughout is another nice AMG touch.

Rear cargo and seating room are adequate for a vehicle that is essentially a hatchback car rather than SUV, and as long as it’s good enough for one hockey bag or 2 sets of golf clubs, you’ll be good to go.

Pros: This seems like kind of a generic answer, but the best part of the Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 is that it’s fun. Its looks are fun. Its size is fun and most importantly, its performance is very fun.

Cons: The ride maybe isn’t as soft as many of Mercedes offerings, but in the name of performance, this can easily be forgiven.

The Verdict: I’m already a big fan of hot-hatchbacks, which the Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 essentially is, so it didn’t take much to impress me with this one. What you’re getting is all the good parts of a hot-hatchback, which is practicality, performance and great looks, and adding in maybe a bit more room and dash of Mercedes prestige and I just don’t see how any of that can equal a bad thing. After spending some significant time behind the wheel, I can assure you it isn’t.

Categories: Driver Plus, Road Tests