2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class

Performance


$33,400 MSRP
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2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 7.8

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA has a strong engine that's hampered by an inefficient transmission and slight turbo lag. It has sporty handling but rough ride quality. The performance-oriented AMG GLA boasts ample engine power and a sportier drive.

  • "It is everything compact SUVs are. As the result of our driving time of the vehicle in Hungary recently, we can confidently say it is indeed roomy, versatile and easy to handle. But additionally we can report it is incredibly fun, rewarding to drive and a high performer. And it has capabilities you'd never guess. So why is it so much fun to drive? Well, Mercedes-Benz' AMG performance arm seems to have an uncanny knack for tickling our driving bone, and they have scored again with the GLA45." -- 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." -- Left Lane News (2016)
  • "The … Mercedes-Benz GLA250 4Matic's on-road character more closely resembles that of a conventional hatchback than a typical go-anywhere SUV." -- Edmunds (2016)

Acceleration and Power

The 2018 Mercedes GLA is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine that produces 208 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The AMG GLA45 has a four-cylinder turbocharged engine that makes 375 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed automatic dual-clutch transmission is standard, while the AMG GLA comes with a performance version of the transmission. The EPA estimates the base GLA250's fuel economy to be 24 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway.

The GLA delivers good raw power, but it can be slow to accelerate because of turbo lag. The transmission is inconsistent and struggles to find the correct gear. Conversely, the GLA AMG is incredibly quick.

  • "The turbocharger needs time to spool up, so when driven with a light right foot, the GLA feels more sluggish than its performance numbers suggest. The dual-clutch transmission is no help, either – it lurches from gear to gear, particularly in the Comfort driving mode. Even when Sport mode is engaged, the gearbox continues to exhibit a certain unpredictability, but it's less noticeable since engine speeds hang higher in the rev range." -- Car and Driver
  • "The transmission is also frustrating – it is slow to engage a gear from a standstill and stutters with indecision in stop-and-go traffic. That's a shame because the GLA250's turbocharged four-cylinder actually possesses solid low- and midrange grunt. This gives it a satisfying and user-friendly power delivery." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • "In the GLA250, a 208-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder provides brisk acceleration and passing power, enough to produce a 7-second zero-to-60-mph run. … The true performer is the 355-horsepower GLA45 AMG. With a sub-5-second sprint to 60 mph, the GLA45 AMG lays waste to every other competitor in this class." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)

Handling and Braking

The Mercedes GLA has tight turning and sporty handling, which results in it driving more like a car than a small SUV. The ride quality can be harsh over rough surfaces, though. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is optional. The AMG GLA includes all-wheel drive.

  • "Handling is sharp and sure-footed, though, which gives the GLA a sporty feel that its softer, more SUV-like rivals lack. The steering wheel needs only a light touch; its precision is appreciated and adds to the GLA's agility. Take a corner at speed and the GLA settles in quickly with its firm suspension allowing little body roll. The trade-off for such eagerness is a ride that can feel choppy and unnecessarily rough over bumpy stretches." -- Car and Driver
  • "The driving experience is sharp and eager. The base 208-hp engine has plenty of punch, while the quick steering and firm suspension provide athletic handling in tight corners. On the flip side, the suspension isn't so compliant on rough roads. Anyone expecting a typical Mercedes-Benz ride might be disappointed. Noise levels at speed are also higher than the luxury-class norm. The AMG GLA45 brings sports-car acceleration and more entertaining handling, but comes at a steep price. For most drivers, the GLA250 will be more than adequate." -- Autotrader (2017)
  • "Around turns, the GLA250 will impress you with its agility and secure handling. The GLA's relatively tight turning circle of 36 feet proves well-suited to the cut and thrust of urban driving as well. Unfortunately, the GLA suffers from an overly firm and occasionally harsh ride quality, especially when you opt for bigger wheel sizes." -- Edmunds (2017)
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