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The Mercedes-AMG GLA45 S is a mighty crossover that thrills with its mouth-watering performance.

12 Mar 2021


When the first generation GLA45 saw daylight, it didn't really take off. I mean, why would it? There were the A45 and the CLA45, both of which looked better and had the go to match their show. Having a performance SUV felt more like a novelty then, a sort of boasting right to tell friends that you could afford something a little 'different'.

Now, there seems to be a good business case for performance SUVs. There's the Audi RS Q3 and the BMW X2 M35i. Hell, even Cupra - Seat's very own high-performance division - has the Ateca.

So will there be better success with the GLA45 S that you see here on this very page?

So what are you saying?

The 2.0-litre gem of an engine produces 416bhp and 500Nm of torque
Let's get the elephant out of the way. This car right here has a 2.0-litre powerplant that churns out 416 German horses and a mountain-moving 500Nm of twisting force, allowing it to hit the 100km/h mark in just 4.3 seconds. That's a timing that's even faster than the recently tested RS Q3 and the 4.0-litre V8 Aston Martin DBX.

Of course, weight plays a part, but that's exactly what differentiates the GLA45 S from the rest of its peers. At just over 1.7 tonnes, the Merc manages to blast off the line like a hot hatch, yet ensuring that the driver sacrifices none of the vagueness that's often associated with an SUV.

Driving modes can be toggled from the circular knob on the multi-functional steering wheel
This is why the car can be such an enjoyable animal on the road without having to worry about any pity or problems.

Problems?

You see, the GLA45 S' grip is nothing short of colossal, no matter how hard I tried to violate it. Regardless of the driving mode - Slippery, Individual, Comfort and Sport - all I managed was grip, even if I tried to get the wheels to spin.

But this isn't just your usual superficial sort of all-wheel driven performance crossover. Yes, grip levels are insane and the car is mostly calm and composed if you treat the car with respect, but it's the way the Merc tackles roads with such a natural accuracy that makes it stand out from the competition.

The GLA45 S is nothing short of dynamic, quick and composed
Admittedly, the steering could do with more communication, even if it is well-weighted and well-balanced. You don't get quite the sort of communication like the Audi RS Q3, surprisingly, but this crossover does not, in any way, deliver shortcuts in dynamism. You could try brake really late into the corner with the GLA45 S and still manage to keep your line in check, holding on firmly and steadily with its body roll, before accelerating out nippily and confidently.

So there are no problems with this car, really. Not only is there driver appeal, it's roomier and more functional than the aforementioned peers and the A45 and CLA45 sedans.

Functional?

Sporty and luxurious, the cabin of the Merc is a lovely sight
The cabin is largely similar to the rest of the compact range in Merc's lineup. You get the usual two high-definition 10.25-inch screens up front - just like the A45, CLA45 and even the GLB35. As a result, it feels right at home for us car testers at sgCarMart.

Where we also feel right at home is the comfort in here, with added sporty touches like the red and alcantara bits and detailing to complete the whole AMG experience. More than that, like the Audi RS Q3, it's the functionality of the GLA45 S that makes it such an enjoyable car to have.

Not only do you get to drive like a hooligan like myself, you can still store two strollers and a few bags in the 435-litre boot, plant two baby seats at the back seats and still have space for one friend in the rear centre seat if you need to from time to time.

Will buy, Go try or Won't buy?

435 litres worth of boot space for your hauling needs
In all honesty, at $311,888 (as of 23 February 2021) I would say "Go try" simply because I don't have that sort of spare cash. However, if I had to be more impartial and neutral, if you may, I would happily get the GLA45 S.

This isn't just for boasting rights about getting something 'different', but more of the fact that I can drive like a moron on our roads, and still ferry the family from place to place in the sort of style and speed like no other.

Now, if you were to ask me, that's what I'd call a performance crossover.

Hear this performance crossover in action in our video review as well!



Car Information

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Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class GLA45 S AMG 4MATIC+ (A)
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Price

: $333,888

Engine Type

:

4-cylinder in-line 16-valve Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

1991cc

Horsepower

:

310kW (416 bhp) / 6750 rpm

Torque

:

500 Nm / 5250 rpm

Transmission

:

8G (A) AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

4.3sec

Top Speed

:

270km/h

Fuel consumption

:

10.6 km/L

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