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Versatile Mercedes GLA 45 AMG has serious street cred


WITH the launch of the A 45 and the CLA 45 AMG variants fresh my mind, I attended the track-based launch of the GLA 45 AMG. Here we have a vehicle based on an A-Class platform except now, the ride height is increased to provide this performance car with some degree of pavement-hopping ability.

What performance does it offer?

Like its coupé and hatchback siblings it has a 265kW/450Nm hand-built 2.0-litre turbocharged engine under its bonnet. This makes for some seriously impressive performance figures with the 0-100 km/h time coming up in 4.8 seconds and the top speed being limited to 250km/h. It also performs well at the pumps with a claimed fuel consumption figure of 7.5 litres/100km.

Putting the power down

To help put the power down there’s the AMG 4Matic all-wheel-drive and the Speedshift DCT seven-speed sports transmission, which, when changing gears manually via the steering-mounted paddles, allows the car to emit that signature “pop and bang” from its exhaust.

I was pleased to have all-wheel-drive stability when tackling the circuit as it was pouring with rain at Redstar Raceway. The Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) with its three modes - ESP On, Sport Handling and ESP Off - came in handy as the conditions deteriorated. The Sport setting offered enough traction and stability while still allowing for the rear end to get lively.

What’s it like?

After piloting the GLA 45, A 45 and CLA 45 back-to-back, as I had the opportunity to do, I got the sense of where each car is targeted in the market. The GLA is the slowest of the trio and is the least dynamic, however, its ride is the most comfortable and the whole car in general is more suited to our battle-scarred roads.

Handling and braking

The GLA 45 gets the AMG sports suspension with tuned spring/damper units and bigger anti-roll bars. The difference is really pronounced as I drove a diesel GLA around the track and then the AMG, which provides more predictable handling and less understeer.

The AMG high-performance braking system with ventilated, cross-drilled brake discs all-round performed well with little fade while out on the track although it must be said, those brakes were smoking when I stopped in the pits.

The looks

We know that the design of a vehicle is one of the key elements to sales success. The GLA 45’s appearance is decidedly youthful, alluding to the fact that these A-Class-based vehicles are targeted at successful young people.

There’s the obligatory AMG front apron with front splitter and the AMG twin blade radiator grille as well as AMG lettering around the vehicle. The side profile can be altered by which type of AMG-wheel one specifies, while at the rear, there’s a diffuser with titanium grey trim offsetting the chrome-plated twin tailpipes of the AMG.

Interior design

You get sports seats finished in Artico man-made leather/Dinamica microfibre with red contrasting top-stitching and red safety belts are on board. There’s also a three-spoke Nappa leather multifunction sports steering wheel with flattened bottom section. The central display features an AMG main menu and Racetimer to provide information to the driver.

Special version

The GLA 45 AMG Edition 1 is a special option which will be available for one year from market launch. The Edition 1 gets the AMG night package, AMG aerodynamics package, special paint options, 20-inch AMG 10-spoke light-alloy wheels painted in matte black with red-painted rim flange and AMG hub caps.

Inside the Edition 1 are AMG performance seats, AMG Edition 1 design trim, AMG performance steering wheel in black Nappa leather/Alcantara with AMG aluminium shift paddles and an Edition 1 badge on the AMG drive unit.


GLA 45 AMG R 755 000
GLA 45 AMG Edition 1 R 755 000 + R 75 000


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