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Owner Review

2016 Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 4MATIC Review

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3 years ago we bought this car. I hated it. I hated it on the test drive and I hated it on the drive home. After 39000kms, I will now fight anyone who tries to take it off me. I love it. It is utterly brilliant, entertaining, noisy and monstrously fast. Plus the baby fits in it. The issue at first was me being familiar with big capacity V8s and having no experience with little turbo engines. The GLA45 is more turbo than engine, You need to set up the drive modes correctly, then bring it on boost, and then you can overtake everyone. It spits, pops, crackles and bangs through the gears and on the overrun. Or when you have to be an adult (or parent), it can be sensible, pedestrian and boring.

Performance, it has in plentiful supply. Fortunately standard equipment and safety are just as liberally sprinkled through the spec sheet as kilowatts are. Decent Harmon Kardon sound, dual-pane panoramic sunroof, everything electric, heated racing-style seats, radar cruise and 20-inch rims. In truth, the seats are probably not designed for 12 hour highway jaunts, but around town or around corners they are near perfect. And they look cool. I particularly enjoy the ambient lighting package that is standard and continued to change the colours each time my wife sat in the car until she asked why it did that.

As much as I thoroughly enjoy the GLA, it is far from perfect. Two trips on the back of a tow truck so far and very ordinary service from the selling dealer raised our doubts on continuing Mercedes patronage, but a change in dealer resolved almost all issues we had. I continue to find the Comfort mode drive setting intolerable with far too much lag and delay. I now drive exclusively in Sports+ and accept that 1000rpm idle at traffic lights as being the price to pay for more prompt acceleration from standstill. Tyre and fuel consumption are voracious with enthusiastic throttle application. But the issue that I notice the most is the firmness of the suspension. The GLA has adjustable dampers as standard but with only 2 settings: firm or rigid. It makes for great cornering but it prevents the ride from being relaxing over long distances.

Despite the imperfections, I have grown to truly enjoy the GLA45. It is my daily driver on a 15 minute commute on largely quiet semi-rural roads which lets me experience AMG engineering twice per day without heavy traffic. Would I get another one? Absolutely. When the new one is released I shall run up to the dealer with a wad of money - or if we have another kid then a GLC63. But I won’t leave the AMG family.

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