2019 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class

Performance


MSRP
$33,950
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2019 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 7.0

The 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLA is agile and handles corners confidently, but it has a stiff ride. The GLA’s base powertrain can feel sluggish off the line, though it delivers good fuel economy.

  • "Most Benzes lean toward stately power and control, but the GLA is one of the more fun and raucous models in the Mercedes lineup." -- Edmunds
  • "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 GLA 45. … The AMG GLA 45 vaults from zero to 60 mph in just 4.3 seconds -- performance car territory -- but equally impressive and less expected is the vehicle's extreme agility and ability to plant." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)
  • … the deep-red GLA 45 was an entertaining tall-ish hot hatch, with a firm, yet not crashy ride over crusty two-lanes, and the ability to get around tight corners with minimal understeer and just a tad bit of yaw." -- Automobile Magazine (2018)

Acceleration and Power

The Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 comes standard with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 208 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is also standard. Throttle response in the GLA is timid, and the transmission struggles to find the right gear. There’s also some turbo lag, meaning this car doesn't feel especially peppy from a stop.

The AMG GLA 45 has a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 375 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque.

The standard GLA gets an EPA-estimated 24 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway, which is above average for the class. Models with all-wheel drive earn 23 mpg city and 31 mpg highway. The AMG GLA 45 gets 22/28 mpg city/highway.

  • The GLA 250 uniquely blends straight-line performance and sharp handling with an elevated ground clearance for rutted roads or the occasional field you might drive through. It's like a powerful Subaru XV Crosstrek. Unfortunately, the throttle and transmission don't respond as quickly as we'd like. … The 208-hp turbo four-cylinder feels energetic, but acceleration around town is hampered by the sluggish throttle and transmission." -- Edmunds
  • "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." -- Car and Driver (2018)
  • "It's in traffic and in-town driving where you'll notice its start/stop feature, which cuts engine power at idle. Restarts aren't too jarring, but noticeable all the same. You can defeat it with the press of a button. On the highway and at higher speeds, the GLA can feel a bit twitchy -- another consequence of its smaller size and wheelbase. With a 0-60-mph time of just over seven seconds, the GLA isn't slow but also doesn't feel particularly fast. Some turbo lag can be felt, especially when you floor it from a rolling stop. We also wished for a touch more refinement from the 7-speed twin-clutch automatic." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)

Handling and Braking

The GLA has athletic handling and pinpoint steering, but its ride is rather harsh, which becomes more pronounced over rough surfaces. Front-wheel drive comes standard, and all-wheel drive is optional.

  • The GLA's steering is nicely weighted whether driving around town or being pushed on a mountain road. It errs on the lighter side, but it's precise and linear with sharp turn-in. You can feel the road through the steering wheel. … The GLA doesn't handle like an SUV. It feels more like a nimble hatchback, thanks to well-managed body lean, plenty of tire grip and a well-tuned stability control system. … The GLA's suspension, wheels and tires send far more impact harshness into the cabin during around-town driving than we've come to expect from luxury cars. The poor ride quality is a big reason why the GLA fails to earn a higher rating." -- Edmunds
  • Ride quality also seems more compliant with the AMG Ride Control Sport Suspension in its Comfort setting. … On bumpier roads, impacts are felt, but they're not jarring. I don't believe the GLA 45 will fare as well on the really broken Midwest roads back home. … Thankfully, the GLA 45's ability to hustle hard doesn't change. With AMG Dynamic Select in Sport Plus for more aggressive engine mapping, gearbox shifts and a firmer suspension calibration, corner carving is a hoot. … Completing the GLA 45's rather riveting drive experience is sensational steering response and feel, confidence-inspiring braking, and a pleasing, crackling exhaust note during downshifts." -- CNET (2018)
  • 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 (2018)
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2019 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class

MSRP: $33,950 - $53,350

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