Multimedia Package ($2,480 -- includes 7-inch display, navigation system, rearview camera, voice control, 10GB music storage, DVD player, SD card slot, traffic and weather information); Premium Package ($2,300 -- includes heated front seats, driver side and interior auto-dimming mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, a Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system, satellite radio, media interface); Sport Package ($2,200 -- includes 19-inch AMG wheels, perforated front disc brakes, AMG body styling); Interior Package ($1,700 -- includes leather upholstery, MBTex premium vinyl interior trim, sport seats); Panoramic Sunroof ($1,480); Bi-Xenon Headlamps ($850); Blind-Spot Assist ($550); Aluminum Interior Trim ($150)
Turbocharged, direct-injected, inline-4, gasoline with auto stop-start
DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder
Compression ration (x:1)
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)
208 @ 5,500
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)
258 @ 1,250
Seven-speed auto-double-clutch manual and column shifter and steering-mounted paddles with sport/competition modes
Transmission and axle ratios (x:1)
There's a bit of turbo lag off the line when taking your foot straight from the brake to the gas pedal, but it isn't too bad. By 2,500 rpm it's making good power. The engine is pretty eager, revs decently hard, upshifts are reasonably quick. It makes quite a bit of intake noise and definitely isn't the most pleasing engine sound ever. The engine doesn't have any real personality to it, at least in terms of the way it sounds. The car squats down significantly at the rear when you mash the throttle pedal from a stop. One thing this car doesn't like is any kind of brake/throttle overlap (power-braking) to bring the revs up prior to launching down the drag strip. It won't let the revs rise at all when you do that. The all-wheel drive puts the power down well without any wheelspin front or rear, and our six acceleration runs were nearly dead even across the board, with 0-60 mph within a tenth of a second for all. Manual mode is engaged via a button, and then you use the steering wheel paddles. It blips the throttle on downshifts but does not hold gears to a rev limiter. It automatically upshifts at 6,200 rpm.
The GLA had impressively short stopping distances, but by the third stop there was significant brake odor, and by the fourth stop we experienced some pedal fade. The pedal wasn't fantastic-feeling from the beginning, with longish travel and a spongy pedal. We got even more pedal fade by the fifth stop, but the stopping distance didn't increase by much. The first and second stops were both 105 feet, the fifth stop was the longest at 109 feet and the sixth and final stop was 107 feet.
The GLA (with this equipment) is pretty athletic in the slalom. Its steering is clear and responsive without unnecessary weight or lag. It turns quickly, plants itself with confidence, and is also happy to transition back and forth with reasonable dexterity. Eventually, the electronic stability control (ESC) system senses the front tires losing grip and quickly dabs the appropriate brakes to correct the intended heading. It happens quickly, almost seamlessly and most drivers might never notice. There is a two-tier ESC setting, but there was no measurable difference in this test. On the steady-state skid pad test, however, we did measure a difference between the supposed "Off" and fully "On" settings. At the limit of body lean and tire grip, the GLA is well balanced enough that I could steer it with the throttle alone as the the front tires began to lose grip. Body lean is very well managed and there's certainly plenty of grip from the summer tires. Steering weight is appropriate and there's just enough information coming through the wheel to inform the driver about the front tires' grip levels. This certainly is a good performance for a compact crossover (like the Range Rover Evoque), but still doesn't offer the dynamism or driver engagement of the Porsche Macan S, which is the benchmark.