When it was launched for 2015, the new GLA-Class was offered in two distinct flavors. The regular GLA250 holds a 208-horsepower, 2-liter turbo four-cylinder engine. For buyers who prefer greater power, and are willing to pay the price, Mercedes-Benz issued the AMG GLA45. What might be dubbed the overachiever of the duo also contains a 2-liter turbo four, but it’s specially tuned to yield a startling 335 horsepower -- 127 more than the GLA250. Both members of this new family of small crossovers affirm that luxury and high-performance can coexist in a tidy-size package, accessible to younger buyers.
What's New for 2016
Brand-new last year, the AMG GLA45 gets several updates for the 2016 model year. Three new features are standard: keyless ignition/start, dual-zone climate control, and seat cushion length adjustment. In addition, a 7-inch video screen replaces the original 5.8-inch unit. Dynamic Select replaces Agility Select, providing four modes: Comfort, Eco, Sport, and Sport+. The available rearview camera now provides a 180-degree view.
Choosing Your Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG
Like the GLA250, the performance-packed AMG GLA45 is about five inches shorter and eight inches lower than Mercedes-Benz's mainstream compact crossover, the GLK-Class. Both GLA models appear more purposeful and ride higher than a typical hatchback, maintaining a more aggressive stance. All-wheel drive is standard, accompanied by hill-descent control, an off-road transmission mode, and 19-inch wheels.
Identical in size to the turbocharged 2-liter four-cylinder in the GLA250, the AMG engine is carefully tuned to develop a lofty 335 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. To cope with all that extra power, the AMG GLA45 gets a sport-tuned suspension, upgraded brakes, launch control, and a performance-spec seven-speed automatic transmission. You can expect to accelerate from a standstill to 60 mph in a scant 4.8 seconds, and still achieve an estimated 25 mpg in combined driving (22 mpg city/29 mpg highway).
Standard equipment includes a power liftgate, power front seats with MB-Tex leatherette upholstery and memory, Bluetooth phone and audio, HD radio, bi-xenon headlights, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless ignition, and rain-sensing wipers. Safety features include a driver alertness warning system and forward collision mitigation with automatic braking. The available Driver Assistance package adds adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and lane keeping assist.
An optional Aerodynamics package adds a full aerodynamic body kit. The AMG Dynamic Plus package includes an adaptive suspension, limited-slip front differential, and Race Start function. Also available are an Exterior Carbon Fiber Package, and an AMG Night package.
Most buyers will probably add the Premium package, which now includes Keyless Go, as well as heated front seats, auto-dimming mirrors, satellite radio, integrated compass, Harman Kardon Logic 7 sound, and an integrated garage door opener. Premium-equipped models may be fitted with an Interior package that includes leather sport front seats and multicolor ambient lighting. The Multimedia package adds a hard drive-based navigation system with an 8-inch display and voice control, real-time traffic and weather information, and a rearview camera.
Three mbrace vehicle connectivity packages are offered: Secure, Entertain, and Concierge. Individual options worth considering include a panoramic sunroof, AMG Performance front seats, and Parktronic with active parking assist.
Even though it benefits from plenty of performance upgrades, compared to the regular GLA250, the $50,505 AMG edition doesn't get any additional standard luxuries. That makes the Premium and Interior packages more essential than usual, in a vehicle of this level of exclusivity. Oddly, at a time when some vehicles priced far lower than a GLA-Class have made a rearview camera standard, it’s optional here.