Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG – 2017 South Seas Blue - Early Review
So I’m just about to hit 1000km on this car so I feel I can give it at least a reasonable review and the mandatory photos to show it off. =D
As a background my “Car Garage” previously included chronologically: Acura RSX - 2004, VW GTI – 2009 and BMW 328xdrive – 2013. My wife has had a Mazda 3, Honda Pilot, Infiniti EX35, and BMW X3.
Unfortunately I don't have all the codes of what my car has as features but here in Canada it's Premium, Premium Plus, Exclusive, Metallic Paint.
Exterior – I am delighted to say that I did not expect the car to look this good (to my eyes) in SSB. There are lots of GLA 250s where I live but very few GLA45s so I had almost “forgotten” just how great the stance of the 45 is. Essentially it’s a hot hatch on steroids and I love that. The colour is of course completely flashy, but not so much that it screams it. I went with the grey callipers as I thought the red ones would make one too many colours due to my interior choice. The 19’s look great and I do wonder if the 20s would be even better but it was a ride comfort choice really. I am currently on 18s from GTS with Bridgestone Blizzaks 225/55R18.
Interior – Once again I am very impressed with the fit and finish. To be honest, I was actually prepared for a pretty average interior (again, forgetting my test drives a bit) but it is every nice and more than does the job for me. I am very happy with the two-tone Sahara Beige interior. It really “pops” when you open the door and I think works very well with the car. One of my few dislikes is the cheap hard plastic that is against your knee and below the vents. The seating position is great and plenty of head room. Seats are very comfortable. Command screen reminds me of the iDrive screen so I’m not one of those people that feels it looks like an afterthought iPad. On Command, the resolution is great and it’s relatively easy to get used to. There are some things that it does better (selecting the next station is just a rotation and not a rotation and press of the controller) and some worse (BMW has those awesome 8 preset buttons that you can set for nav/phone/text messages). It is a smaller vehicle than the BMW and more the size of my GTI which works for me, my wife and toddler (although I don’t keep a child seat in the car). It is big enough to throw my hockey bag in the hatch and pads and stick in the rear seat. If I had a second child I might need a little bigger vehicle. I have also been so happy that so far (knock on wood) there are Zero rattles. I’m praying it stays this way but I know our Canadian temperature extremes play havoc on the interiors so we’ll see how this goes.
Drivetrain – Oh that engine!! What a wonderful piece of engineering. Thank you to Nico Kruger (the AMG engine builder) for putting a smile on my face every time I turn on the car. The power delivery is a little light at less than 3000 rpm but man does it come alive after that. It just keeps going and pulling although I’m still being wimpy due to the break-in period. The DCT is good, with quick shifts and really great about downshifting as I go into a turn. One annoyance here is a clunking (very light but audible) that I hear from 2nd to 1st?? as I come to a stop. To be fair I think the cold weather and short drives seem to bring this out the most but it’s a little unbecoming at 65 grand. I went with the “regular” exhaust and I have zero complaints. I still get the lovely burbles and farts with quick up/down shifts and it’s currently more than loud enough for me.
Ride and Handling – This is the best handling car I have ever owned. No question. It makes the BMW seem like a Toyota Camry. It’s just so planted, flat on the corners and still a pliable enough ride that I don’t get any crashing of the suspension over our notorious potholes. I think this may be an effect of the 19s and 18s for winter that I’m currently on.
Steering – A little too light for me at low speeds but weighs up nicely with speed. Very happy with it. It lacks great tactile feedback but that is not unexpected with the electric steering.
Dealership and Sales Consultant – So there was quite a bit of drama with the price of my car. When I signed the deal in May, interest rates were at 2.9% and residual was at 53%. When it was time to pick it up the interest rate was at 3.9 percent and the residual down to 51%. This meant a 60 dollar difference in the lease which annoyed me to no end. My sales consultant was excellent though, advocated for me and got me a fabulous deal. The dealership was MB Thornhill and if anyone needs a good sales consultant please PM me (I have no conflict of interest to declare, he was just a really good guy). Oh and in addition we got not only one but two of the holy grail AMG key fobs!
Random Negatives – Really a few tiny niggling things. The seats don’t change position based on what key you use (ie. Position one for key one, position two for number two). The Bimmers did that and so did the Infiniti. The command and knob for driving mode are too close together, sometime I mean to change the station and instead I put it in sport. Should be different feel IMO.
Miscellaneous – I purchased the AMG lock pins as I absolutely abhor the standard ones. I need to pick them up still and I’m nervous about wrecking something when I install them so if anyone has any advice let me know.
Overall – this is the happiest an inanimate object has ever made me. I look forward to driving it, I give it longing looks walking away from it and I couldn’t be more excited to lease it for 44.5 more months.
If you have any questions or comments let me know! Sorry about the low res pics but that's all the forum could handle.