The hotter, more powerful GLA is red-hot to drive, but overdone on styling
You want a sports car, you should go get a sports car. You want an SUV you buy one of those. So should you have one that's trying to be both? The GLA 45 AMG is the souped up and powerful version of the GLA that just arrived in India, and is the last of all the AMGs that we will get this year. And yes that's just this year! It really has been quite a year of launches for Mercedes-Benz hasn't it?
The GLA 45 AMG does make more sense as an AMG model than its bigger siblings like the ML or GL 63 AMG. Why? Well because the GLA to begin with has a more car-like stance and feel, and is therefore more conducive and receptive to undergoing an AMG treatment.
Mercedes-Benz India has gone all out to differentiate the GLA 45 AMG from the stock car. And so you get cheesy decals that look like cheap stickering instead of proper performance graphics. I would have just preferred an exclusive set of solid sporty colours instead, maybe with a stripe down the hood at best.
But luckily the rest of the AMG kit with the 19" alloys, red brake calipers, side skirts and all the AMG & Turbo badging all around, are all worth the fuss. So the GLA 45 looks different enough and that's true on the inside too. Sports seats, a flat-bottom sports steering, and the sexy red designo seat belts team up well with the black and metal trim - complete with the red stitching.
On the road the 4 cylinder AMG engine is nothing short of pure delight. It's a familiar motor as we know it from the CLA 45 AMG, and there is absolutely no difference in its tuning on this car. What is different is that Mercedes-Benz India is going with the Performance Exhaust package as standard, so it sounds deeper and meaner than on the CLA 45. The 4 Matic all wheel drive system also makes for a different ride and handling character, with a tremendous sense of control. The car sits a bit lower than the stock GLA & that also adds to the sportier driving dynamic, with a tighter cornering stance too. The GLA 45 AMG feels like a super hot hatch and I certainly was not complaining! Its a great character, but one that might be lost on the Indian buyer seeking the true SUV experience even from this car.
The engine makes 355 bhp and peak torque of 450 Nm kicks in at 2250 rpm. The delivery of that torque through the 7 speed gearbox is smooth and the car feels ready for action all through the drive.
The GLA 45 AMG launches in India on the 27th of October, which is when Mercedes-Benz will tell us the prices. But it will be expensive and so the car will be the preserve of the chosen few, just like all AMG models right?