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2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA 45 AMG First Impressions

A Mercedes for the boy-racer in you By ,

Malaga, Spain -- Mercedes-Benz: A storied, legendary luxury and innovative brand, the three-pointed star carmaker is well-known for designing and building some of the most finely crafted automobiles and trucks in the world.

They are also revered for putting together some seriously potent performance sports cars such as the SLR and SLS supercars. Mercedes and AMG’s power and performance enhancing abilities are equally transmitted to their fleet of saloons and coupés such as the E 63 AMG and the CLA 45 AMG. They’ll even put the hurt on the fast SUV crowd with the likes of the ML 63 AMG, but on a hot hatchback? This seems too playful for the gang from Stuttgart.

It isn’t. The new 2015 GLA 45 AMG is more playful and boy-racer-ish than anything the 125+ year-old brand has ever unleashed on our shores, and I’m very thankful for it. The GLA 45 AMG is the result of Mercedes letting its hair down and partying until the wee hours of the morning. Even so, there are still a few things that they won’t do, but a good time will always be had.

What is a Mercedes-Benz GLA 45 AMG?
The GLA 45 AMG is the pumped version of Mercedes-Benz’ latest arrival, the GLA-Class. The sensible compact CUV has gone through the amazingly capable hands of the crew from Affalterbach and has come out the other side a track-ready grocery getter.

2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA 45 AMG Price and Specs
For a vehicle to wear the coveted AMG logo, it must be special if not monstrously powerful. The GLA 45 AMG utilizes the same hardware as the GLA 250, although severely beefed up.

The autographed, hand-built turbocharged 2.0L 4-cylinder pumps out a mighty 355 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 332 lb-ft of torque between 2,250 and 5,000 rpm. The charger is a twin-scroll type and draws air through an air-water intercooler and will produce 26 max psi (or 1.86 bar).

An AMG SPEEDSHIFT 7G-DCT 7-speed dual clutch automatic sport transmission transmits the power to all four wheels via Mercedes’ 4MATIC AWD system.

The results generated by all this technical wizardry is a 0-100 km/h sprint is over and done with in 4.8 seconds and will reach an electronically limited top speed of 250 kmh.

Where pricing is concerned, it will be announced closer to the release date which will be sometime in late summer or early fall.

Driving the 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA 45 AMG
I expected to be scalped. I thought I was not going to be able to walk away from driving the 2015 Mercedes GLA 45 AMG. I was convinced that I was going to need an oxygen mask, some downers, and a wheelchair. But none of this happened.

I had a great time carving a sampling of the Spanish mountains located in the Parque Natural Montes de Malaga, north of the city, but I never scared myself or thought I was going to go flying over the ledge. And that’s slightly unfortunate. I know my colleagues at the office were sad to see me return…

Despite my tested Edition 1’s flamboyant exterior, the GLA 45 AMG remains a Mercedes, albeit a badass civilized Mercedes. The 4-pot’s power is what is most surprising. With all that boost, I was anticipating (hoping) for a kick in the backside at WOT -- but it never came. Some turbo spoolage noise occurs, and before you know it the speedo reads ludicrous speeds. Granted, speed does not pile on in an S-Class-smooth sort of way, but it’s almost underwhelming while blasting on the highway.

One way to remain involved is by setting the transmission to “M” manual mode and slamming away at the gears. This is a must on the tight, rapid switchbacks where selecting the right gear for exit acceleration is crucial, and bloody rewarding. The 2015 GLA 45 AMG is especially alive somewhere north of 4,000 rpm and when pushed this way, it feels like a proper hot-tempered hot-hatch. The AMG sport exhaust does wonderful things with the gases off-throttle and flat-out; this is when the AMG comes unto its own.

The AMG sports suspension is calibrated for even road surfaces, and preferably the banked type. Most of the back-to-back esses were free of imperfections and here the 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA 45 AMG shone like the Spanish sun. In the city, the older tarmac and stone roads demolished the driving pleasure. I’m not so convinced that this setup will be “nice” in Canada.

My major gripe with the drive was the steering, which felt over-assisted and under-communicative. Precision and response were quick and on-the-spot tight, but the whole process was cold and discombobulated. Never were the car’s abilities in doubt, but I wanted it to play a bigger role in the process.

Inside and Out of the 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA 45 AMG
The 2015 Mercedes GLA 45 AMG gains so much thanks to the AMG-specific exterior styling that includes a front splitter, 19” wheels, side sills, and rear bumper.

The tested Edition 1 in the gallery includes unique 20” wheels, red exterior accents, an oversize hatch-mounted spoiler and some questionable side decals. This thing is a must for that boy-racer that lurks within… Yeah, I like it a lot.

The cabin is all Mercedes. The Recaro seats are insane on every conceivable level, and I love the low-slung driving position. The AMG-specific shifter fits perfectly in the middle of the center console and the partially alcantara wrapped steering wheel fits the car’s character.

Comparing the 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA 45 AMG
The new 2015 Mercedes GLA 45 AMG blurs many lines as far as who it plays against. The Audi S3, the BMW M235i and the all-new Porsche Macan all fall in the AMG’s crosshairs.

Once more, I’ve not driven any of these vehicles, however, pricing will play a huge roll in where the GLA stands.
 

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    2015 Mercedes GLA-Class 45 AMG 4MATIC
    mercedes gla-class 2015
    2015 Mercedes GLA-Class 45 AMG 4MATIC
    Review this Vehicle
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