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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Edited to add: If you just arrived here from Google and would like to skip to the answer to the question, check this post: Receiver hitch on a '21 GLA 45?

Anyone have any luck installing a receiver hitch on their '21 GLA 45? Both Curt and Draw-Tite (links below) make hitches that are compatible with the GLA 250, but their sites don't say that they'll fit on the GLA 45. I've asked tech support for both places whether it'll fit on the 45, but so far I've gotten no reply. I went to a local shop, but they won't do it on my car because the manufacturers don't state that the hitches are compatible, so basically I'm at the point where I just buy one of the 250-compatible hitches and give it a shot installing it myself.

Anyway, I thought I'd ask here whether anyone here has managed to get a receiver hitch installed. I'm really only interested in putting a bike rack on it, no plans to actually tow anything with it.

 

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Maybe you can find a 250 and check the underside to see what or if there are any differences in suspension or exhaust that could block the install.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I think you're going to have to do some cutting on your rear diffuser. That could turn out to be very ugly
I'm afraid that I will, but hopeful that I won't. Based on the pictures I've found, it seems like the diffuser on the GLA 45 isn't hugely different from what's on the 250. And, thankfully, there isn't a diffuser ridge in the spot where the receiver itself pokes out from under the car.

Maybe you can find a 250 and check the underside to see what or if there are any differences in suspension or exhaust that could block the install.
Both of the hitches I've found have pictures of the underside of the 250 in their installation instructions, which is great. I got under my 45 yesterday to compare. The exhaust is definitely different. I think if it's not going to work, that's going to be the reason. The bracket holding the hitch has to go around the muffler while also staying out of the way of the exhaust pipes on either side. On the base 250, the exhaust pipes don't actually go all the way back, whereas on the 45, they poke out the back of the car.

Anyway, I decided to take a chance on it and I ordered the Curt receiver. Hopefully it'll be here by the end of the week so I can make an attempt at an installation this weekend. I'll update with results.
 

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Please repost here what is the results. This way, the question is asked in the future, we have the answer. If you do any modes doing the install, explain them.
 

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Neither one fits. I've had a shop try to install the Curt, and while the holes and everything line up, the hitch prevents the exhaust tips from being put back in. Shop contacted Curt and asked if something was wrong and (at the time) Curt didn't know there were differences between the AMG and non-AMG fits. This was before Curt/Draw-Tite specified that it would fit the 250 model because the site only listed that it would fit the '21 GLA. Shop owner showed me the problem and we both agreed that the Draw-Tite would run into the same issues. Been looking for a hitch since. Decided to go with a roof rack bike rack since it seems like it might be a while before something comes out.

StealthHitch was working on a hitch for the '21 GLA but last update from them was that production was on hold due to material issues.

Edit : Yes you will need to cut the heat shield and make a slight cut into the rear diffuser to make them fit. They ended up cutting my heat shield, but not the diffuser since they noticed the exhaust issue before cutting into that. But I believe that any hitch in the future will need these cuts made regardless.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the info, bad news though it is. I guess I should've waited a couple more days for responses before pulling the trigger on the hitch order, huh? Ah well. Etrailer's return policy doesn't seem too bad. I figure I'll unbox it, line it up, and see what it looks like, maybe take some pictures for posterity.

I'm curious - do you know when they updated their sites to state that the hitches only fit the 250? I've kinda got it in my head now that maybe I looked into hitch compatibility before they updated to say 250 only. I wouldn't have bought this car had I known I couldn't put a hitch on it and I know I looked into that prior to buying. I do a ton of mountain biking and one of my bikes is a 45 pound e-bike, so a hitch mounted rack is BIG deal for me.

Did StealthHitch give an ETA on when they might release a compatible hitch? And did they confirm it would fit on a 45?
 

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I did the install in September. At the time the hitches didn't specify the GLA 250. I was checking a month ago and noticed that they now specify 250. I'm not sure when it was put on there. When I bought the car I was under the impression I would be able to put a hitch on it, same as you. I do triathlons so it was important that I am able to transport my bike. Luckily for me, tri bikes are super lightweight and I can easily lift it up to a roof rack.

No ETA on StealthHitch. Not even sure if it's compatible with a 45. It was just a short video of them fitting a hitch onto the '21 GLA with a comment reply stating that they halted development on it. This was Feb '21. Video is linked below.

 

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I did the install in September. At the time the hitches didn't specify the GLA 250. I was checking a month ago and noticed that they now specify 250. I'm not sure when it was put on there. When I bought the car I was under the impression I would be able to put a hitch on it, same as you. I do triathlons so it was important that I am able to transport my bike. Luckily for me, tri bikes are super lightweight and I can easily lift it up to a roof rack.

No ETA on StealthHitch. Not even sure if it's compatible with a 45. It was just a short video of them fitting a hitch onto the '21 GLA with a comment reply stating that they halted development on it. This was Feb '21. Video is linked below.

I have a Stealth hitch on my 2015 GLA45. They sent me the 2015 GLA250 hitch. The only difference was the dropdown piece. I had Stealth custom make it after I gave them the measurements. Had to cut a a very small piece of the defuser grom the inside and not visible from outside.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yep. It didn't fit. Not that I really expected it to. The exhaust on the 45 is different from the one on the 250 and it is in the way. I suspect it's possible to make a hitch that would fit, but right now it seems no one does. I took some pictures, but they were super close up and hard to interpret, so instead I did an artist's rendering of the situation. Here's the underside of the GLA250, as pictured in the instructions for the Draw-Tite hitch (ignore the red circles):

Hood Automotive lighting Motor vehicle Vehicle Car

The top of the image is the rear of the car. Note that the exhaust doesn't go all the way back to the faux exhaust tip in the bumper. With the hitch installed, it looks something like this:

Automotive lighting Hood Automotive tire Toy Car

Those proportions are probably totally whack, but I think I got the tow bar width about right. That width is the main issue, as far as I can tell. The 45's exhaust pipe extends further towards the rear of the car than the 250's, directly into a different exhaust tip with a double-barrel look that extends back under the car. Please excuse my shoddy MS Paint skills:

Hood Automotive lighting Car Automotive tire Toy


The tow bar runs into the exhaust tips. It won't mount with them there. Those exhaust tips are fully removable, so perhaps you could mount the hitch if you were willing to go without them. That would look really, really dumb though.

I think a tow bar that isn't quite so wide could fit, though that would definitely change the mounting bracket substantially. I'm no expert though. I think what I'm going to do is go talk to a local metal fabricator and see if they think anything can be done. If not, I guess I'll buy a roof rack and start lifting weights :\
 

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Yes. That is the exact issue preventing the hitch from being installed. We looked at possibly shaving down the hitch but it would destroy the structural integrity of the hitch since the connection points are right there.The hitch would need to be shortened and the connection beams would need to be moved towards the inside.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I spoke to a local metal fabricator shop that does automotive work to see if they could come up with something. They decided they didn't want any part of it. Maybe one of the major hitch manufacturers will figure something out in a year or two, but for now I'm throwing in the towel. I bought the Mercedes OEM cross bars (MUCH cheaper than the third party stuff!). Sigh.
 

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I spoke to a local metal fabricator shop that does automotive work to see if they could come up with something. They decided they didn't want any part of it. Maybe one of the major hitch manufacturers will figure something out in a year or two, but for now I'm throwing in the towel. I bought the Mercedes OEM cross bars (MUCH cheaper than the third party stuff!). Sigh.
You mind if I ask how much that set you back? I asked about the OEM cross bars and they quoted me $700+.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·

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Wow. Thank you so much! I called them and asked why it was so high and they said whoever quoted me did exactly what you said, the price was for 2. I guess the guy didn't know that it came as a set. Just placed the order through the parts department for $324.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Heh. I actually kinda did the reverse when they told me the price. I figured they quoted me a price for one bar because there's no way Mercedes (Mercedes!) of all manufacturers charges half what a third party would for the same basic kind of thing. I had the parts department visually check to make sure there were two bars in the box while I was on the phone with them..

Anyway, I installed them today. They go on and off pretty easily. Probably going to pick up a bike rack tomorrow and give it a test run.
 

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Found this. It's for the AMG35. I believe the 35 and the 45 are built on the same frame. I asked the manufacturer but they're not sure as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
That's a heck of a coincidence. I also found that particular hitch today. I contacted the manufacturer about it and the guy I talked to sounded pretty certain that it would not fit on the GLA 45. The primary reason he gave was the exhaust tips, which are double-barreled on the GLA 45, but only a single tip (and thus narrower) on the GLA 35. The rear ends of the two cars otherwise look identical from the pictures I've found, but I can't say whether there are other exhaust differences between the two. So maybe if one could source the single-tip exhaust from the GLA 35, this hitch would fit?

I also managed to get ahold of someone from Stealth Hitches on the phone a couple of days ago. They confirmed that they will not be selling a hitch for the 2021+ GLA of any flavor - basically, they don't think there's enough volume to make any money off of it.

I'm currently on a waiting list for U-Haul to use my car to fabricate a hitch that they'll then sell. Supposedly, this waiting list is 12-18 months long. We'll see how that goes, I guess. I'm getting real tired of lifting my e-bike up to the roof.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I know, right? I was briefly very excited before I called them. It should be doable to find the GLA 35 exhaust tip assembly, so if that's truly all that prevents that hitch from installing, it's actually a solvable problem.
 
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