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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
When I was shopping these small utility vehicles, I was REALLY hoping I could have my cake and eat it too. I had my eye on the GLA45 because I've owned several AMG vehicles in the past, but I was hoping to have one as an everyday driver, it has decent gas-mileage, but LOADS of power and AWD...

Now, I am in NO WAY speaking negatively about the GLA45, it is an AMAZING, VISCERAL car, however, here are some points to consider for those on the fence.
These are reasons that only went on in my head, and if they align with someone else's thoughts/perceptions, than I'm glad I could be of help.


The GLA45 has 4-inches of clearance. Roughly the same as about any 'car.' Numerous off-road reviews showed the GLA45 could 'handle' the rough terrain, but they destroyed a lot of front bumpers and skirts on that platform

The GLA250 has 8-inches of clearance. (Mine currently has 10 inches) I have tackled massive drifts, gone on rocky trails etc with my GLA250 already, and it truly does a great job.


AMG styling: Now, this is ALL ABOUT PERCEPTION/OPINION. I love the STANDARD/BASE bumpers with the silver, they look really cool, aggressive AND they have an up-turned nose for better clearance. The giant faux air ducts on the GLA45 were the FIRST parts to get ripped off or damaged the car in off-road testing and curb checks. I also think the AMG styling looks really weird on sport GLA250's that are sitting up at that 8" of height. It makes the vehicle look like a 'scared cat' as the styling cues are meant for a LOWER vehicle. It reminds me of when people were putting bodykits on a Chevy Tahoe or something. Again, just my weird perceptions.

Power:
GLA45 is awesome. A STOCK high 12-second 4-cylinder car running at 26lbs of boost! NO ONE in the industry has done that from the factory. Truly mpressive.

GLA250 has 'plenty' of power for what it does, however, you can easily add a piggyback tune to the GLA250 for $800 that takes the horsepower from 208 to 250hp and 310ft/lbs torque. (VR Tuned) That will put the 'lighter' GLA250 into the High 13's or low 14's depending on what you are transporting, or how you are modded.
Now, 13's is not 'ridiculously fast,' but those are numbers we do in-fact associate with entry-level sports cars like the WRX, G37 coupe, etc. there is also a Carlsson C-tronic tuning box that will add 325ft/lbs torque, and Carlsson takes over your warranty. I'm still waiting to see what HG Motorsports rolls out with. Also, eventually high-flow downpipes and complete turbo-back exhausts will be released for the GLA250, which will bring these tuned numbers even HIGHER. I spoke with one tuning company who claims that close to 400ft/lbs is not an absurd notion for the 250 down the line as long-term testing is in effect right now..

We can 'armchair race' the notion of 13's all day about this platform, however, 320ft/lbs in a 3,318lb vehicle is not hard to deduce from comparing platforms of similar numbers and weight. Remember, all that torque hits as low as 2200rpm, so 0-60 jump will be exponential from the stock 258ft/lbs.

This is not about racing either, it's about upping the 'standard' of acceleration to that of a 'pricier vehicle,' which can be done for as little as $800. [/U]

Weight:
The GLA45 weighs in at 3,495lbs.
My Base GLA250 weighs 3318lbs. That's over a 100lbs lighter, plus, I added lightweight wheels to increase acceleration and improve braking and handling. With an ECU piggyback tune, a lighter car will feel significantly faster with added mods, and it will climb better and save more fuel. I'm also doing a muffler-delete soon that will shed another 20-25lbs off the rear.

Potholes:
My other complaint with the GLA45 is the skinny tires on the 20" wheels. If I am in an SUV, I should not have to worry about dodging potholes so much.

...Let me put it this way, if I had my druthers, I would buy a GLA45 with an 'off-road package' that made it the same height as the GLA250 and also added the standard bumpers or a variation of them. However, no such thing exists, so I would have to pay out-of-pocket for thousands of dollars of base-model suspension and bumpers to make it work for me in the city and in the mountains.
I'd be spending close to $70,000 for a GLA...

Let's look at cost analysis:
GLA45 AMG - $63,685 average cost
GLA250 base- $33,000 average cost

That is a difference of $30,000!!!

Now let's factor in my mods:
Tune: $800
Lightweight wheels and new tires: $1800
Aftermarket cross drilled rotors - $223 (Edited, I later found the CLA sport rotors for $223)
HG Engine damper - $199

Total after modded: $36,023, and ready for the trails as well as the city.

Even if i bought some really SICK Recaro racing seats to mimic the AMG, I'd still be under $40,000. I could enhance the whole interior with carbon bits, suede headliner etc. And still be significantly less money than the AMG.

As it sits, the GLA45 truly is a badass Hatchback 'car' with really big wheels and wheel-wells. I would LOVE to track this car, or use it as ONLY a 'city car.'

But if you are looking to get some SUV benefits out of the GLA platform, I would suggest going with a thoughtfully-planned GLA250.

Hope you enjoyed my thoughts on this, and I hope it was helpful for those shopping. Again, my intentions are not to besmirch the GLA45, it's an incredible vehicle.
 

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Agreed with everything Boris! The GLA45 is actually classified as a car, not officially on the website of course, but through the certification process. The front clip doesn't meet approach angle requirements or something...
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Agreed with everything Boris! The GLA45 is actually classified as a car, not officially on the website of course, but through the certification process. The front clip doesn't meet approach angle requirements or something...
Ah!!! Good point parker! Thank you for mentioning!

I do remember they said I'd have to tint my rear windows on the GLA45 because it is not a 'truck,' whereas the GLA250 already has privacy glass.
 

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Does Carlsson really takeover the warranty? I was looking at the C-tronic and I was worried about frying the engine and being stuck with a $20,000 repair bill.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Does Carlsson really takeover the warranty? I was looking at the C-tronic and I was worried about frying the engine and being stuck with a $20,000 repair bill.
Yes, which is why the Carlsson unit is so expensive. However, they are banking on these not being that extreme of boost levels, and it still utilizes the OEM knock sensors and everything else. With a tune you aren't going to be pushing 26lbs of boost like in the GLA45.
 
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I drove the 250 and was all set to sign when i saw a 45 hiding in the corner of the dealer garage. I was hooked after driving a block. First of all the steering is completely different as it has a tighter ratio. Similarly the brembo brakes will flatten you against the windshield coming down from 130 if you want. Next the suspension is on another level of communication, ie it will go around corners way faster than i am capable of driving. Basically it tracks flatter and its the difference between a sports car and a truck. The 20s are a little crashy but on a smooth surface it is incredibly quick. Later i switched to 18s as a good compromise. The 250 would have been fine but after i went for another test drive there was no way i could do it after trying the 45. Like a sucker i paid for 10$k worth of crap options like multimedia where the internet just doesnt work and a thousand bucks for a carbon interior trim piece etc. Some of it like the attention assist is useless but the distronic and blind spot assist is worth it. So at 55 with a couple select options it is a reasonable proposition vs the competition, above that it stops making sense. I don't think it really compares with the base model. These vehicles are entirely different from a performance standpoint. The 45 is more along the lines of a golf r or s3, cla45 or tts on the smaller side whereas the 250 is less focused and has a different mission. The ground clearance is 5 inches, not 4, which is an inch more than the R, cla45 and s3. If budget is the number one factor look elsewhere, no one needs 400 hp with the piggyback but i wanted a fast car for once in my life so i splurged. You could build up the 250 but add in brakes suspension etc and it adds up quick, as an allrounder though it would do the trick if you want a small truck.
 

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Great information, this should greatly help those that need help deciding between the two, possibly better than what some people at dealerships would have to say to explain it all.
 

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Yes, which is why the Carlsson unit is so expensive. However, they are banking on these not being that extreme of boost levels, and it still utilizes the OEM knock sensors and everything else. With a tune you aren't going to be pushing 26lbs of boost like in the GLA45.
Stock its running 14 psi (I believe), what's yours at now Boris?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Stock its running 14 psi (I believe), what's yours at now Boris?
I'll be tapping boost eventually to monitor via a boost gauge. I'd have to contact one of the tuners to find out how much boost, but I'd guess the boost-increase is minimal. (15-17)

Thanks everyone for chiming in!

Foglights
I can't go back to edit, but I should've also added that the GLA250 base also gets Foglights, which the GLA45 and 'Sport package GLA250 are missing due to the massive air vents on that particular bumper. I should mention, I am discussing the USA models.
I believe the GLA220 in Europe and other countries besides USA have the same 'skid-plate' bumper as the base model, but it also lacks foglights...

UK GLA220:


Here's something interesting from South Africa: They paint the skid plate???


All the little differences in GLA's around the globe is interesting
 

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Thank you for the very informative comparison, almost bought a GLA45 but decided on the 250 and I'm enjoying it very much. My sister finds it too scarily fast when she rides with me. Would still like to do some inexpensive piggyback tuning to add just a little bit more umph.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I drove the 250 and was all set to sign when i saw a 45 hiding in the corner of the dealer garage. I was hooked after driving a block. First of all the steering is completely different as it has a tighter ratio. Similarly the brembo brakes will flatten you against the windshield coming down from 130 if you want. Next the suspension is on another level of communication, ie it will go around corners way faster than i am capable of driving. Basically it tracks flatter and its the difference between a sports car and a truck. The 20s are a little crashy but on a smooth surface it is incredibly quick. Later i switched to 18s as a good compromise. The 250 would have been fine but after i went for another test drive there was no way i could do it after trying the 45. Like a sucker i paid for 10$k worth of crap options like multimedia where the internet just doesnt work and a thousand bucks for a carbon interior trim piece etc. Some of it like the attention assist is useless but the distronic and blind spot assist is worth it. So at 55 with a couple select options it is a reasonable proposition vs the competition, above that it stops making sense. I don't think it really compares with the base model. These vehicles are entirely different from a performance standpoint. The 45 is more along the lines of a golf r or s3, cla45 or tts on the smaller side whereas the 250 is less focused and has a different mission. The ground clearance is 5 inches, not 4, which is an inch more than the R, cla45 and s3. If budget is the number one factor look elsewhere, no one needs 400 hp with the piggyback but i wanted a fast car for once in my life so i splurged. You could build up the 250 but add in brakes suspension etc and it adds up quick, as an allrounder though it would do the trick if you want a small truck.
I was hooked on the GLA45 too natrat. EVERYONE should drive that variant before cross-shopping. Since I always keep one or two summer cars, I couldn't justify the price or the need for speed.

HOWEVER, I want to be perfectly clear, the GLA45 experience is incredible. It's like driving a true 'Rally' car. (Especially one when fitted with the AMG performance-exhaust upgrade and put into launch mode)
I normally drive big V8's, turbo V8's etc, so switching to a lightweight, AWD platform with a high-boosted 4-cylinder engine is an immensely-different driving experience. A FUN experience.

But... I needed the clearance for what I planned to do and needed to pull the seats out of the rear, put it through snow, ice, mud, etc. I didn't want to have to worry about those issues AND I wanted to still look like a proper Benz when rolling through the city. Like I said, if I eliminated my summer vehicles and raised the suspension and changed the bumpers, I'd be set.

Anyone think this discussion should be a sticky? I'd love to hear more opinions/perspectives...
 

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Just thought I would add my test drive experience here while we were discussing them both.

GLA45:
The car I drove had the AMG Driver's Package with the performance suspension so my experience may differ a bit from others. That said... Wow! What a fun car! I loved it. I thought the suspension was tight and predictable. The acceleration was impressive and the performance exhaust was well tuned, maybe a bit too much in Sport mode as it would "burp" often when there were changes in the turbo performance. Honestly, it was an incredibly fun car to drive and was the model I was going to order. The hesitation for me was that the Performance Suspension and Performance Exhaust on the model car were likely going to be a bit too stiff and noisy for my family. While not harsh, by any means, you did feel the bumps and you always heard the car. I was going to hold out and try to drive one that did not have the upgraded suspension/exhaust but a chance drive by a dealer had me sold on the GLA250.

GLA250
When I first got behind the wheel of the vehicle I felt that it would be at a disadvantage as I had just driven the GLA45 the day before and the experience was still fresh in my mind. I was very shocked to find out that was not the case. The car was actually pretty fast. I can’t compare it to the GLA45 because they are different beasts but it was definitely fun. The handling was a bit different than the GLA45 but it was very tight and also very predictable. The ride was far more refined than the GLA45 but it also had 19” wheels versus the 20” on the GLA45, it sits about an inch and a half taller, and has different springs/suspension components. All in all, I really liked the ride of the GLA250. For what I am using this vehicle for (chauffeuring the kids and the dog around town and my daily commute to work) it seemed like a perfect fit…and at roughly $15K (USD) cheaper I was sold.

 

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No Towing for the GLA45, either.

One other consideration not mentioned is that you can get aftermarket tow hitch for the GLA250, but not the GLA45. I don't tow much or often, but for versatility sake you can put together a setup of a cargo box on top and a hitch mounted bike carrier on the GLA250 for cross-country trips or car camping.

No such option for the GLA45.

Full disclosure: I figured this out the day after I bought my GLA45 and strongly considered unwinding the deal on my GLA45 to get the GLA250 for this very reason. In the end I kept the GLA45 -- I just got back from a cross-country trip to Montana with where I had the cargo box on top, had to drive over some gravel roads and speed along long stretches of open road. Haven't yet found a reason to regret the decision to keep it, but I think overall I'd be just as happy if I did go for the GLA250.
 

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Your numbers are not entirely correct. That weight you posted is without 4matic, with 4matic MB specs it at 3428 so your weight savings is not correct unless you want to buy front wheel drive but since you are touting off road capabilities I think you would be looking at the 4matic? Also incorrect is your cost. The average cost of the GLA 250 out the door is not 33, that is the average price of a car sold without options and how many cars actually sell without options? Very very few. You did not use the same no options pricing for the 45 but if you do that 30k savings is almost halved. Of course there were probably very few 45s sold with no options whatsoever in 15 either but as that is your yardstick then you use it for both.

Off road capability? I think most people are aware that most SUV/CUV/trucks of any type or brand never see anything worse than an unpaved road. I don't think too many people who actually like to go four wheeling would use a GLA 250 for the purpose and I think most GLAs will never prowl anything more severe than a potholed parking lot. I would not take either off road but I do have to admit that if I was forced to drive either the 250 or 45 off road I would choose the 250.

Throwing all the performance mods you mentioned at the 250 would still have it below the power level of the 45 but doing so without all the forgings and such in the much stronger 45 engine which is retaining the warranty that you had just tossed on the garbage heap. Having seen Dinan and many others deny on their alleged warranties I would never consider doing these things unless I knew I could afford to pay for anything whatsoever in the drivetrain because I would be well aware I may have to after they roll me over on the warranty. And trust me I mod a lot, I love it, but I do it knowing I may take a big shot if it comes to it and I have in the past. The other issue with the idea of bumping the power on the 250 is that if going fast/having fun is your reason for buying you have just hit on the one thing the 45 truly does better than the 250 which would seem to bring buying the 250 into question.

Overall I do agree that there are many people for who the 250 would be a better car but there is no reason not to use the correct numbers in an objective manner. In truth these cars are aimed at different buyers. I have no interest in the 250, not that there is anything wrong with it but its an answer to a question I never asked. MB said that there expected sell through for the 45 will be as a second toy car that has some modest utility and that seems to jive with what I read owners saying about their 45. They did not buy it to go off road and haul groceries and so on, they bought because it was fun without being entirely unpractical.
 

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I'm one of those demographics that MB aim the GLA 45 at:
Late 40's not requiring family wagon or snow off road- require Fun Road / Fast Track car.
To my purpose it's awesome.
If that's your purpose it's not a few differences between the two...
it's huge ..different engine ..transmission cooling Points, brakes etc various clever hidden benefits to the naked eye.
But again I've just been on the race track (another thread) and this car is built to be pushed HARD.
Never once did anything overheat or let me down..because it's built for this ..
And that's my purpose
As Boris says if that's that's not your be all end all then there is a lot you can do with with gla 250 to cover a lot
Of other areas that my AMG will not go..
I've just fitted a Willall Racing System to my 45 and is now pumping Out 450 BHP ! (Another thread soon)
But that's my end goal track times...
Good luck in your choice either way that three pointed star looks great regardless of the boot badge ��
 
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At the end of the day it just isn't the same. Reminds me of the AC unit in my 911 back in the day. Aftermarket Rube Goldberg contraptions are never quite satisfying.

The GLA45 AMG is a sports car, period. I don't care what it looks like, I will beat the pants off a Boxster S in any driving scenario and no one, no where will disagree that a BS (there is a pun in there) is a sports car.

When you drive a 45 you start off with a sh*t eating grin on your face and that eventually gives way to chortles of glee. This is because this car was built to drive, just drive, drive fast, take tight turns. It almost has a swagger. I don't think you will get that with the Goldberg approach.

That said, if you can cobble together the equivalent of a GLA45 AMG with off-road benefits out of a GLA250, go for it.

One other thing, no AMG seal on the key, or anywhere else for that matter.
 

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One other consideration not mentioned is that you can get aftermarket tow hitch for the GLA250, but not the GLA45. I don't tow much or often, but for versatility sake you can put together a setup of a cargo box on top and a hitch mounted bike carrier on the GLA250 for cross-country trips or car camping.

No such option for the GLA45.

Full disclosure: I figured this out the day after I bought my GLA45 and strongly considered unwinding the deal on my GLA45 to get the GLA250 for this very reason. In the end I kept the GLA45 -- I just got back from a cross-country trip to Montana with where I had the cargo box on top, had to drive over some gravel roads and speed along long stretches of open road. Haven't yet found a reason to regret the decision to keep it, but I think overall I'd be just as happy if I did go for the GLA250.
I thought that there was somewhere on here (or another forum) a DIY for how to make the hitch fit the GLA 45. It requires some minor modifications.
 

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Although the GLA 45 did draw me into the fold, my common sense and the fact I carry 2 big dogs around with me, I decided to get a GLA "25"0 instead. No complaints with my DINAN tune. The car only cost me $19k off lease, just serviced with a few months of warranty left.

It's too easy to get lost in a car, which is just a conveyance. What is more important is having an important destination where you are needed and loved. I love my car and tweek it a lot, but there is a limit. Although I could literally drive any car I wanted, the sweet spot for me was a used GLA. Higher price = higher stress as well.

It's a matter of priorities, and as always...the car is there to serve you, not for you to serve it.
25967
 

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the 45 is more visceral, you get in and the steering feels tighter and more direct, the throttle is more sensitive and responsive, the brakes..., the suspension.... etc
the 250 you hop in and can drive it without thinking about, it pulls away from a stop with none of the 45's drama, it floats over potholes
both are nice and handle well
sadly the new ones have a 6 inch lift for the seats and roll in turns, lol
 

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I had an Audi Q5 loaner for a couple weeks and was turned off by the body roll. Alas MB has gone the full SUV route with the MY2021 GLA's, so .....

...
sadly the new ones have a 6 inch lift for the seats and roll in turns, lol
 
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