$33,300 - $48,300

2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class was new.


Performance: 8.1

According to reviewers, the new 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 has an engine that delivers more than enough power, while the more powerful GLA45 AMG offers vigorous acceleration from a stop. The seven-speed automatic transmission receives some complaints from reviewers who say it hesitates to shift in some instances. Automotive journalists praise the 2015 GLA-Class' nimble, car-like handling and its firm, yet comfortable, ride.

  • "If you're the type to fight for the driver's seat, the standard-issue Mercedes GLA250 has a lot to like, while the GLA45 AMG offers even more to love." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "As a daily driver, the GLA will handle everything from runs to school, the Super Target, and pickups of arriving out-of-towners followed by the inevitable and highly anticipated return of same, back to the airport. But the GLA is more than just an around-town go-getter." -- Left Lane News
  • “Tracing along the Spanish coast, the little Mercedes was happy to pass when the passing was good and quiet and refined when loafing through traffic." -- Road and Track
  • "On southern Spain's hilly and entertaining driving roads, the GLA250 4Matic would avail itself beyond our natural expectations for a small crossover, in much the same way that both the Audi Q3 and BMW X1 continue to impress us." -- Autoblog
  • "We spent a full day driving the GLA250 4Matic around the northern part of Vermont where we got a chance to try it out on a wide range of pavement (and no pavement at all). The verdict? It's a well-rounded and capable utility." -- AutoWeek

Acceleration and Power

The 2015 GLA250 comes with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 208 horsepower. The GLA45 AMG has a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 355 horsepower. A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is standard. The all-wheel drive GLA250 earns an EPA-estimated 24/32 mpg city/highway, which is great for the class. All GLA models are equipped with Mercedes’ ECO start/stop feature, which conserves fuel by shutting off the engine when the vehicle comes to a stop in certain driving conditions.

Reviewers say the GLA250 has more than enough power for the average commute, and that it accelerates fairly quickly off the line and has no trouble climbing hills. According to test drivers, the GLA45 AMG offers even more effortless power and rapid acceleration from a stop. Still, a few reviewers complain that the transmission can be slow to respond when cornering.

  • "We saw an indicated 30 mpg on our two-hour drive, which combined mountain roads, a bit of freeway, and some low-speed puttering through coastal villages. The latter exposed a weakness we previously experienced with the CLA: sometimes light or changing throttle inputs, particularly at low speeds or when moving off from a stop, bring an imprecise, uncertain reaction. It could be a function of the dual-clutch transmission, the turbocharged engine, or some combination thereof, but it makes for less precise response than we'd like." -- Automobile Magazine
  • While the GLA250 exhibits a fantastic chassis and plenty of power, the transmission will often leave you waiting mid-corner while it finds a gear to match your throttle input. Should you get impatient and stomp a little harder, doing so only sends the transmission searching for lower gears. It's an annoying trait, one that stands out on an otherwise pleasant vehicle." -- Road and Track
  • "The 355-horsepower GLA45 AMG is livelier, louder, and more fun to launch from a standstill, though its behavior is more measured (and less explosive) than those of other, pricier AMG models. Though its estimated 4.8 second 0-to-60-mph time is slower than its CLA45 sedan counterpart, this AMG nonetheless offers an entertaining and rewarding experience behind the wheel." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "208 horsepower may not seem like a lot in this day and age, but it provides plenty of grunt on local roads and on the interstate." -- AutoWeek
  • "While the engine in the GLA250 lacks the outright firepower of the GLA45 AMG 4Matic's more heavily tuned unit, it nevertheless possesses a solid amount of low-end torque. This imbues it with a satisfying user-friendly nature, as it feels energetic when pulling away from traffic lights." -- Edmunds

Handling and Braking

The new 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class impresses reviewers with its sharp, car-like handling. They say the GLA feels secure in turns and exhibits little body lean. Some report that although the GLA-Class’ ride is a bit firm, it’s never uncomfortable over road imperfections. Most reviewers think the GLA’s steering is responsive, but a few wish it offered more feedback. Test drivers also write that the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class has strong brakes. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is available.

  • "Thanks to a low center of gravity, handling feels nimble and the GLA tracks nicely through corners, with a predictable amount of understeer as the adhesion limits are approached." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • Although we found the steering to be a bit touchy, almost to the point of being overly boosted, it still offered very quick response. Quick corrections revealed a bit of side-to-side wallow, that while not exactly unpleasant, didn't provide the firm ride that some drivers may expect." -- Left Lane News
  • "With the shared components, you might suspect the GLA rides and handles like its CLA brethren, and you'd be right. Pleased with the obedient but somewhat benign responses of the CLA, Mercedes consciously followed the same path when tuning the GLA's suspension." -- Car and Driver
  • "The GLA250 we drove steered and handled very much like its sedan counterpart, which is a good thing. The steering is light yet precise, and the vehicle handles more like a sporty compact than a small crossover." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "On the open road, the new Mercedes-Benz delivers convincing agility and a much smoother ride than the more inherently sporting CLA250 4Matic sedan." -- Edmunds

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