Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG – We take this Mercedes performance crossover for a wild ride

Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG test drive
We take this Mercedes performance crossover for a wild ride
Review and Picture by DSF

When Mercedes-Benz Malaysia first introduced the first GLA45 Crossover with input from AMG at RM378,888, the industry stood up and noticed. Customers were impressed, but many opted instead for the A-Class 45 AMG and the CLA 45 AMG sedan. Why, well you could get better performance and handling from these two due to their lower stance and tighter sizes. Still sales for the first generation GLA 45 AMG was not too shabby in comparison to its non existing rivals.

The GLA 45 AMG had no real competitors. It was a lone ranger simply because Audi Malaysia did not have their awesome RS SUV lineup and BMW had not produced their X1 with input from the ‘M’ motorsports division. The Japanese car brands were not playing in this segment and so Mercedes-Benz had the field all to themselves or did they?

Well, many had forgotten about the Porsche Macan. Yes, this performance SUV was larger in size, better equipped inside the cabin and was selling from RM425,000 for the 2.0L turbo that produced just 252bhp, no real fighting chance against the GLA 45 AMG. Yes it is not that powerful until you meet the 3.0L turbocharged Macan ‘S’ producing 340bhp and a sporting 460Nm of torque. The 0-100km/h dash is done in just 5.4 seconds (which is just 1 second slower than this AMG built GLA) and sells for RM610.000 (that’s almost RM200k more and a whole other Mercedes can be in your garage for this price, ‘the basic A-Class for simple driving duties’). So we now know there is no real competitor.

This new GLA45 AMG price has moved up just a little due to the troubling currency exchange rates, the price of this hot crossover is now RM409,463. Still we think its worth the Ringgit and we will explain why.

LED light turns night into day

Available as standard on the AMG GLA45, LED High Performance headlamps replace the bi-xenon headlamps. Alongside brilliant illumination, these headlamps are characterized by a color temperature similar to daylight and relieve the strain on the eyes when driving at night. The energy consumption is also lower: around 60% less than xenon and approximately 70% less than halogen. The low-beam headlamps work with LED projector-beam technology and the high beam with LED reflector technology. Indicators, daytime running lamps and position light are designed as multifunctional fiber-optic cables and enable an unmistakable style through higher degrees of design freedom. For added convenience, changing a bulb is no longer necessary over the entire lifetime of the car.

Increased aerodynamics

With this new GLA model series, Mercedes-Benz further impresses where aerodynamic quality is concerned. The good flow characteristics, which contribute decisively to the low fuel consumption in everyday conditions and a pleasantly discreet noise level even at higher speeds, was achieved through a multitude of aerodynamic optimizations in the high-speed wind tunnel in Sindelfingen. These include a low A-pillar step with corresponding A-pillar geometry and aerodynamically optimized exterior mirror housings. The generously sized trim on the main floor, an additional trim in the center section of the rear axle and even an aerodynamically optimized rear silencer with a connected diffuser further improve the flow of air beneath the underbody. An elaborate roof spoiler lip, specially shaped tail lights plus discreet side rear spoilers also ensure that the air flow at the tail end is aerodynamically optimal.

Safety first: autonomous braking and drowsiness warnings

Vehicle safety is the top priority at Mercedes-Benz. This GLA offers “Active Brake Assist” as standard: it warns the driver if there is not sufficient distance to the vehicle in front and if required, delivers situation-appropriate braking. If the system detects that the driver is reacting too late, it initiates autonomous braking in order to prevent the collision or minimize the consequences. The GLA is also standard-equipped with “ATTENTION ASSIST,” which can detect typical signs of drowsiness via the steering behavior and warn the driver.

The new look

The distinguishing design feature of the new Mercedes-AMG GLA45 is the sharpened front section. The front apron was given an even more dynamic shape, new air intake grilles, a front splitter insert in silver chrome plus flics in high-gloss black. These guide the cooling air flows to the vehicle radiators even more effectively. Some earlier optional extras like the LED High Performance headlamps are now part of the standard host of equipment. The twin louver on the AMG Twin Blade radiator grille is now in silver chrome, as are the inserts in the side sill panels.

Eye-catching features at the tail end are the new diffuser insert in the rear apron, the trim in silver chrome and the new spoiler lip on the roof spoiler which help to improve the driving dynamics of the new GLA45.

Fine exclusive touches

The interior has been similarly upgraded. The dashboard is covered as standard with MB-Tex and has been given exclusive highlights with red contrast topstitching. A further highlight is the generously sized trim, extending over virtually the entire width of the car: its fundamental structure is printed matte with a high-gloss surface and it bears AMG lettering.

The instrument cluster has been given a new number design, new gauge needles with a black needle center and the chrome frame around the gear also ensure a sporty cockpit experience.

Handcrafted 2.0L turbo engine

With a maximum output of 375hp and 350lb-ft of torque, the Mercedes-AMG GLA45 is among the most powerful cars in its segment. A speed of zero to 100km/h is achieved from standstill after just 4.4 seconds. The extremely agile Handcrafted AMG 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo engine blends thrilling performance and the exemplary efficiency with a further best: the power-to-swept-volume ratio of 187.5hp marks a record for a series engine with four cylinders and it raises the AMG engine to the level of thoroughbred super sports cars.

One of the high-tech components of the four-cylinder turbo engine is the spray-guided direct petrol injection. Piezo injectors centrally located in the four combustion chambers inject the fuel at a pressure of up to 200 bar. The combination of multiple fuel injection and multi-spark ignition improves fuel economy and significantly increases thermodynamic efficiency, leading to low exhaust emissions. The twin-scroll turbocharger and maximum dethrottling of the exhaust system improve the charge pressure build-up, and therefore the engine’s response to the accelerator.

On the road the turbocharged AMG 2.0L four-cylinder engine thrills with extremely fast responses to accelerator movements, high torque, enormous flexibility and a very emotional engine note. The exhaust system features an automatically controlled exhaust flap as standard. The intensity of the engine note changes according to the currently active AMG DYNAMIC SELECT driving mode. The AMG Performance Exhaust System® delivers a sportier note through the modified structure of the muffler system and it thus intensifies the emotively appealing sound experience. It can be regulated via selection of the drive program or via a switch. In the interior the impressive sound can be experienced even more intensely at the touch of a button through the more powerful intake noise of the engine.

AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed sport transmission

The agile and dynamic power transfer is assisted by the AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed sports transmission. Thanks to shorter ratios selected in gears three to seven, the driver senses an even more appealing acceleration experience in all speed ranges. Together with optimized response and shift times, the closer ratio spread ensures better transitions when upshifting.

Best traction as standard: AMG Performance 4MATIC all-wheel drive

For optimum traction even in poor road surface conditions, the standard all-wheel drive AMG Performance 4MATIC system transfers the drive power to all wheels. The torque is steplessly and variably distributed to the front and rear axle. This configuration results in an optimum ratio of sportiness, efficiency and traction to match the driving situation. A multiple-disc clutch integrated in the rear axle differential with AMG-specific control passes on the engine torque to the rear wheels should the front wheels lose traction. The spectrum ranges from purely front-wheel drive to a 50:50 ratio for the front and rear wheels.

Driving the GLA45 AMG

There is no question on its power delivery. From ignition it’s a surge of power that seems seamless. No hesitation even if you want to bolt the car while doodling in traffic. From 3rd gear at around 80-90km/h this car will chase down a supercar easily….might not be able to overtake the supercar, but you will send a clear message to the owner of a RM1.5-2.9million supercar that this 2.0L crossover is no pushover. With a 4.4 seconds acceleration time, this GLA even scares some commuter traffic from the traffic light and when you dart in and out of traffic enjoying its 475Nm of torque, the smile that develops on its driver’s face is priceless.

Concluding remarks

Well, we know its fast. We know its special. We know it handles. But is it practical? Well, the buyer of this car probably has the RM2million supercar and a RM589,000 luxury hybrid sedan already in their garage. This GLA45 is a plaything, a fun car, a quiet racer. Then there is the buyer who just wants something special that works as a day to day commuter in heavy traffic, but delivers some much needed ‘raw’ fun when they want to cure their boredom. This is why this GLA45 AMG will sell and keep its owners happy and contented.

Mercedes Benz GLA 45 4MATIC Specifications
Engine: 4-cylinder inline engine Turbocharged
Capacity: 1991cc
Transmission: 7G-speed DCT automatic
Max Power: 381bhp at 6000rpm
Max Torque: 475Nm at 2250-5000rpm
0-100km/h: 4.4seconds
Top speed: 250km/h Restricted
Price: RM409,463.50

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