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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I just bought a GLA45 and thought I would say "Hi" and also leave a review as someone who has never owned a Mercedes Benz before. I have owned over 30 VWs, a hand full M3s and a 3.2L 911 Carrera - so I'm pretty well versed in german cars, just never had any attraction to MB.

So what drew me in?

My wife refused to buy another VW because the last 200,000 miles were in a MK5 GTI and then a MK6 Golf R and she wanted something different.

The problem for me is that the GTI is pretty much the perfect car - its reasonably fast, reliable, really fun to drive and gets decent mileage (we commute 100+ miles per day). The R just brought on another level of fun, especially in the snow.

Since I can't warm up to Japanese cars (no STIs here), I really didn't have many options. I found the GLA45 to be really close to the Golf R - it has a very similar AWD system, high output 4 cyl turbo, similar weight, hatch, etc.

So having put 1500 miles on the GLA45 having come from a 2012 Golf R, here's what I think:

Pros
  • The exhaust in sport mode is really good for a 4 cylinder car. I love how it sounds.
  • The AMG Sport seats are phenomenal
  • The brakes are awesome, though I haven't tracked the car yet so I can't really tell if they will fade or not
  • The gas mileage (25mpg avg) so far is quite reasonable considering the weight and power
  • Turbo lag is non existent
  • I love how tall 6th & 7th gears are compared to the Golf R's 6th. Makes for much better economy on the highway
  • The sunroof works at any speed without waffling your ears (why can't VW figure this out)
  • Im really impressed with how fast this car makes heat for the passenger cabin.
  • Dedicated cruise control stalk - VW had this in the MK5 but took it away in the MK6 due to cost saving. Glad to have it back in the MB.
  • Auto start/stop and the press the brake hard to "hold" are pretty handy features. It gives you a chance to rest your legs at a stop light.
  • The bluetooth (paired with an iPhone6) is a lot faster and the hands free call quality is excellent



Cons
The following things might sound like nit picks, but they absolutely drive me crazy. I guess I've been spoiled by how clever VWs are.


Automatic Gearbox
I've been driving for 18 years and have never owned an automatic. I thought I would give a dual clutch a shot, but after 3 weeks I want my third pedal back. (I keep looking for it too, have locked up the ABS at least three times :eek: ). I wish MB would offer a manual gearbox for those of us who like to drive.

Every time the car starts, it defaults to Comfort (Econo) mode despite where you left it when you parked the car. I want mine on M so I have to toggle the drive mode every time I get in the car. I also wish that shifting was more aggressive and instantaneous.

Why can't we have auto start/stop in M & S mode? It's a nice gas saving feature and it has a dedicated button to turn it on or off. It makes no sense that it's tied to the comfort mode only.

Steering wheel:
The wheel grips are fine - they're about as nice as the GTI/Golf R however the steering wheel button layout is absolutely awful. Dedicated answer and hang up buttons? Seriously? Instead of hangup/answer buttons, they should be left and right for skip track or change channel depending on the mode (since they're right next to the volume).

And why is the volume button on the right when you have to use your right hand to change channels with the console knob? (I know this is legacy, I saw the wheel in a 10 year old MB and it had a similar button layout).


Convenience
My car doesn't have keyless go. My Golf R did. I miss it, especially because the MB forces you take the key out of the ignition every time you shut the car off. I don't live in a city - my keys stay in the car.

No window rollup/down from the key? My 1993 Corrado had this... I can't believe MB offers a car without it.

The AMG menu on the dash is neat, but why doesn't it include a boost gauge? Come on!

No trunk net? All VWs have this to keep your groceries from flying all over the place on the way home. This is a driver's car isn't it? EDIT: I see MB sells one separately.

The wipers on a VW/Audi twitch every time you shut the car off to change the direction that the wiper blade is bent on the glass. This extends the blade life considerably.

The wipers on the MB don't park when you shut the car off - they stay in the middle of the windshield where they might freeze to the glass.

Why do they cram so much onto one stalk? I love the dedicated cruise stalk, but having wipers on the same stalk as the blinker and high beam makes me feel like I'm driving a Dodge.

The MB has a manual hood prop. I'm at a loss for words on this one.

Stereo
I have the MB Harman Kardon stereo system in my GLA. The Dynaudio system in the Golf R was significantly better.

The touch screen of the Golf R is a lot more user friendly than the rotary encoder wheel knob in the MB. I think I'll adjust to this over time.


Headlight Switch:
Park, Auto or On. No off? I keep high beaming people in the morning because the auto setting is far too conservative. It's bright out so I can't tell my lights are on and they're usually on high from the night before. The auto setting shouldn't be so conservative and there should be an off position on the switch.

Tweakability
A stage 1 chip for a Golf R is $600. Apparently the same thing for the GLA45 is $2,000. :crying:

RossTech has a VAG Com diagnostic tool for VW/Audi that lets you diagnose any issue and also customize a large number of settings. (Disabling auto door locks for example) I miss that.​


Conclusion
I do like the GLA, it's a neat niche car that appeals to me on several levels. I just wish it had more clever UI ergonomics and the option of a manual gearbox.

So if you're a former VW Audi owner jumping to the MB family, prepare yourself for some surprises that you won't figure out until you've lived with the car for a while. These are all things you won't notice in a brochure or even a test drive.
 

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The problem for me is that the GTI is pretty much the perfect car - its reasonably fast, reliable, really fun to drive and gets decent mileage (we commute 100+ miles per day).
Congratulations on your new GLA45! Please share some photos.

Totally agree on the VW GTI. We had a 2010 model, Autobahn Package that I loved, as well as a MB C-Class. However, four years later as our lives were slowing down, we felt it was time to go down to one car, my son added a wife and needed a second car, so I delivered the GTI to them. I missed the GTI classy hot hatch so much, as did my wife who also appreciates the Mercedes value, that the GLA became the best option for us, though still debating going back to two cars mostly for back-up security and keeping the C-Class upon delivery (more than a year of one-car life has worked well for us by keeping a common on-line calendar).

We started looking at GLAs in October 2014 and I am so very glad we waited for the 2016 model year with the changes in equipment and packages as well as hopefully adjustments to first year issues that have been discovered. Only disappointment -- Universe Blue was discontinued as a color option on the GLA250s.
 

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The window down and up with key is tied to the interior leather package, called summer somthing, you must have alcantera ? Mercedes is penny pinching with the GLA line but I wish more items included in the AMG package and not have to pay extra for little things.

Thanks for the comparison pic, the GLA is wider than a R from the back
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The window down and up with key is tied to the interior leather package, called summer somthing, you must have alcantera ? Mercedes is penny pinching with the GLA line but I wish more items included in the AMG package and not have to pay extra for little things.
I just attached the window sticker with all the options mine came with... I have the AMG Seats with red stitching & red seatbelts. I didn't order the car so I didn't really get an explanation of what was included with what, but I totally agree with you that they are penny pinching!

Is there any way to recode the control module to enable it?

m-type said:
Thanks for the comparison pic, the GLA is wider than a R from the back
Agree - the GLA looks like a hummer when parked next to the Golf, lol. But actually, on paper it's only 1" wider!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
My data might be wrong...on line specs with mirrors...GTI is 70.8 in, the GLA is 79.6 in. Do I have that wrong maybe?

Like your analogy...looks like a Hummer!
apparently im blocked from posting links - I got my data from Wikipedia but a googl search for "GLA45 Dimensions" turned up a handfull of sites that all say it's 71". The Golf is ~70" in width. In the pictures it certainly looks like its a lot wider, so I can't explain!
 

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Well that's odd... I tried holding the unlock button down for 5 seconds or so in order to roll down the windows. Nada...
Is your car a 2016 or a 2015 model?
On my 2016 GLA 250 with the premium package (includes keyless go) I just have to touch the outside of any door handle and all the windows and sunroof will open or close. You have to continue to touch the handle until all are completely open or closed.
I assume that this also works using the key but I have not tried it as yet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Is your car a 2016 or a 2015 model?
On my 2016 GLA 250 with the premium package (includes keyless go) I just have to touch the outside of any door handle and all the windows and sunroof will open or close. You have to continue to touch the handle until all are completely open or closed.
I assume that this also works using the key but I have not tried it as yet.
Mine is a '15 without keyless go (See my con's list in OP). I really wish it had this option :(

But I don't see how the keyless go and the remote window roll down/up would be related to keyless go. You should still be able to press & hold the lock button on the keyfob to roll the windows up when walking away from the car.
 

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Mine is a '15 without keyless go (See my con's list in OP). I really wish it had this option :(

But I don't see how the keyless go and the remote window roll down/up would be related to keyless go. You should still be able to press & hold the lock button on the keyfob to roll the windows up when walking away from the car.
From the 2015 GLA owner's manual:
The SmartKey must be close to the driver's door handle.
X Point the tip of the SmartKey at the driver's door handle.
X Press and hold the button until the side windows and the panorama roof with power tilt/sliding panel are fully closed.
X Make sure that all the side windows and the panorama roof with power tilt/sliding panel are closed.

On vehicles with a panorama roof with power tilt/sliding panel:
X Press and hold the button again until the roller sunblinds of the panorama roof with power tilt/sliding panel close.
X To interrupt convenience closing:
release the button.
 
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apparently im blocked from posting links - I got my data from Wikipedia but a googl search for "GLA45 Dimensions" turned up a handfull of sites that all say it's 71". The Golf is ~70" in width. In the pictures it certainly looks like its a lot wider, so I can't explain!
The Mercedes GLA brochure says 79.6 in with mirrors. Maybe that's the issue...with or without the mirrors? No biggie. It is wider! :)
 
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