Editor: Jason “The Bok” – Date: 24 July 2017
Mid-size family crossovers are responsible, sensible and sometimes a bit dull, if you agree with what I’m saying, then you clearly have not yet been introduced to the performance oozing Mercedes-Benz AMG GLA45 4Matic.
From the outside, if you ignore the sporting wider flares and options such as the large multi-spoke alloys and large flaring wing over the back, you could be easily lured into a sense of calm, but it would merely be the calm before the storm that you’d be seeing! For it is when you step into the AMG GLA45 that you realise, that with its deep Recaro seats, suede steering wheel and an instrument dial which reads 320 km/h that you are about to start thunder.
Engine: 2.0-litre turbopetrol
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch automatic
Power: 280 kW
Torque: 475 Nm
0-100 kph: 4.4 secs
Top speed: 250 kph
The trump card of the AMG Mercedes-Benz has to be its 2.0-litre turbopetrol motor which is good for, 0-100 km/h in a mere 4.4 seconds and a top-speed which is electronically governed to 250 km/h. With a simply mind-boggling 280 kW and 475 Nm of torque, the Mercedes-Benz AMG GLA45 4Matic is a heavy bruiser wearing a silk gown!
It is so much more than just figures though, the Benz also is packed with attitude. From the moment you step inside and fire the engine to life, it purrs like an excited tiger, which is roaring to leap into action.
There are several drive modes available when you pilot the AMG built GLA45. You can either simply glide along in Comfort mode, in which you can be forgiven for thinking that this is just another calm, safe and civilised cross over. In comfort mode, the vehicle remains quite and relaxing, with only the occasional crack and bark to keep you alert to what is under the bonnet.
It is however when you toggle the drive select dial all the way through Sport, Sport+ and on to RACE mode that the Benz comes into its own. Suddenly, you get throaty roars as the engine forces the revs-up and even when you abroach traffic lights and slow down, you get massive lashings and barks on the down shifts. It is Race mode, that keeps you wanting more and more and more.
While Mercedes-Benz claims a fuel economy figure of a sensible 7.4-litres/100km, you can expect this to at least double in race mode, but you will be having the time of your life.
The GLA is very versatile, it manages to pack decent ride-height, rear seats which fold almost flat and interior loading capacity of 481-litres, which is 140-litres larger than that of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class. The GLA also packs the availability of clever systems such as the Mercedes-Benz Command Online multimedia system with the likes of Apple CarPlay connectivity as well as its wealth of available media choices.
Apart from the interior comfort both at the front and rear of the vehicle, the GLA also features a wealth of safety systems including 7 airbags, ABS with EBD, brake assist and electronic stability control with traction control all to assist you in the drive. The vehicle also features the ability to spec options such as radar-guided cruise control to make for more relaxing commuting.
What does all this performance cost?
The GLA45 AMG is yours for a starting price of R862 628 and it is sold with a 2-year/unlimited km warranty and a 6-year/100 000 km maintenance plan.
You need to bare in-mind that the vehicle which I had under review had some extra’s and options fitted, now these can get pricey, but the ones which you require come down to personal preference and the “base” spec car is still very well appointed. Options fitted to the review vehicle included:
The tasty Recaro bucket sports AMG seats (R26,000), Mercedes-Benz Command Online (R26,600) with Garmin Map Pilot(R14,200) all displayed on the floating 10.8-inch central display screen. Those sexy red seat belts cost and additional (R5,800) and that large wing over the back cost (R11,500) as well as the vehicles 20-inch multi-spoke AMG wheels at (R19,000) and finally the loud-shouting Sports Exhaust which will set you back (R9,000)
The Mercedes-Benz AMG GLA45 4Matic is a very serious machine. Its sporting state of tune and wealth of power, make it feel firm on the road, and perhaps a vehicle which is difficult to truly classify as a family crossover. The 4Matic drive system gives you additional re-assurance and its added ride height make it more practical than many other performance hatches. What this GLA45 really is, is a vehicle which offers an ounce of practical thinking with a wealth of fun-loving lunacy and you just have to love it!