$21,520 - $32,423

2016 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class was new.


Performance: 8.0

The 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLA gets good power and acceleration from both of its available engines, according to reviewers. Testers say the larger engine found in the GLA45 AMG makes the car especially fun to drive. Some complain about the engines' inconsistent throttle response at low speeds, and they note that the transmission sometimes takes too long to find the correct gear. Most critics agree that the GLA has nimble handling and a comfortable ride.

  • "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 (2015)
  • "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 (2015)
  • “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 (2015)
  • "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 (2015)
  • "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 (2015)

Acceleration and Power

The 2016 GLA250 has a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 208 horsepower. The GLA45 AMG has a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 375 horsepower. A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is standard. The GLA250 gets an EPA-estimated 25/35 mpg city/highway, which is good for the class, and it features a start/stop system that conserves fuel by shutting off the engine while stopped.

Automotive writers find that the GLA250 has ample power and good acceleration, but they say the larger engine in the GLA45 AMG delivers better power, quicker pickup and is more fun to drive. Some complain that the throttle response is inconsistent, especially at slower speeds. A few critics note that the transmission sometimes takes too long to find the right gear.

  • "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 (2015)
  • "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 (2015)
  • "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 (2015)
  • 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 (2015)
  • "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 (2015)

Handling and Braking

Front-wheel drive is standard on the GLA250, and all-wheel drive is standard on the GLA250 4MATIC and the GLA45 AMG. An off-road package is available.

Some test drivers liken the GLA's agile handling to that of a sporty compact car. Most find the steering light and accurate, though a few complain that it's too sensitive. Critics report that the ride is smooth, though not always as firm or controlled as drivers might expect.

  • "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 (2015)
  • "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 (2015)
  • "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 (2015)
  • 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 (2015)
  • "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 (2015)

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