2019 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class AMG GLA 45
- AMG GLA 45 comes with 20-inch wheels standard
- Part of the first GLA generation introduced for 2013
- One of the most entertaining crossovers in the class
- Returns respectable mileage considering its performance
- High clearance and optional all-wheel drive lend some all-weather capability
- Long list of available tech and safety features on the AMG GLA 45
- Firm ride quality can grow tiresome on rough roads
- Automatic transmission operates sluggishly in stop-and-go situations
- Not much legroom, headroom or cargo room
- Road and wind noise could be better tamped down
2019 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class AMG GLA 45 pricingin Ashburn, VA
Which GLA-Class does Edmunds recommend?
Edmunds' Expert Review
Overall rating7.1 / 10
A budget Benz? That hasn't worked out well for the luxury automaker in the past (see: C 230 Kompressor). But the 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLA is different. Based on a platform used to build small cars for Europe, the GLA combines performance and Mercedes luxury at the price of an average family sedan.
The GLA 250 starts with a 208-horsepower four-cylinder engine and adds standard features such as a power liftgate, a folding seatback with a center pass-through, and three performance modes that optimize engine and transmission settings for different conditions. Front-wheel drive is standard and an available all-wheel-drive model (GLA 250 4Matic) adds some off-road-specific functions.
Infotainment includes an 8-inch display and Bluetooth, with the option of adding navigation, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, and a Wi-Fi hotspot (the latter through a subscription service). You'll also need to check the options boxes if you want driver aids such as blind-spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control.
Most Benzes lean toward stately power and control, but the GLA is one of the more fun and raucous models in the Mercedes lineup. This is especially true of the AMG GLA 45 top trim, which offers 375 hp, standard all-wheel drive and performance on another level compared to its rivals.
But a new "budget Benz" isn't without compromise. The GLA rides rougher than a traditional Mercedes, and there's a general dearth of headroom, legroom and cargo space. The GLA 250's transmission also isn't very smooth and responds slowly to requests for more power. A high price relative to the GLA's competitors doesn't help either. Similar BMW and Audi models, while not much roomier, offer more refinement for the same price or less.
2019 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class configurations
The 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLA is offered in three trim levels: GLA 250, GLA 250 4Matic and AMG GLA 45. The GLA 250 comes with a 208-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a decent features list that includes power-adjustable front seats, a power liftgate, Bluetooth and a 7-inch central display. The GLA 250 4Matic version adds all-wheel drive and hill descent control. The AMG GLA 45 shares the same basic feature set but with a more powerful engine and other high-performance upgrades.
The GLA 250 starts with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (208 hp, 258 pound-feet of torque), a seven-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. Key standard features include 18-inch alloy wheels, a power liftgate, power-adjustable driver's seat, three performance driving modes, imitation-leather upholstery, and a 60/40-split folding rear seatback with a center pass-through.
Tech features include an 8-inch central display with a dial-and-button control array, Bluetooth and a six-speaker audio system with a CD player, HD radio, an SD card reader and two USB ports. Certain features of Mercedes' Mbrace telematics system (including a Wi-Fi hotspot and concierge services) are available on a subscription basis.
The all-wheel-drive GLA 250 4Matic model adds some all-weather and light off-road capability with hill descent control and an off-road status monitor that analyzes steering angle, tilt angle and grade percentage.
Several option packages are available for the GLA 250. The Premium package bundles blind-spot monitoring, keyless entry and ignition, heated front seats, and hands-free liftgate open and close. The Multimedia package includes a navigation system, voice controls, smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and real-time satellite traffic and weather information.
Adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist are available in the Driver Assistance package, and a new Parking Assistance package adds a surround-view camera and a self-parking system.
The AMG Line Exterior package offers a high-performance look with 19-inch AMG wheels, AMG body styling and a black headliner. The Night package further enhances this look with black wheels, trim and side mirror caps.
Stand-alone options include several package items — blind-spot monitoring, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and heated front seats, for example — as well as upgrades that include a panoramic sunroof, LED headlights, leather upholstery, ambient cabin lighting and a 12-speaker Harman Kardon sound system.
The AMG GLA 45 comes with all-wheel drive and the GLA 250's standard features, but with significantly more power (375 hp, 350 lb-ft of torque) from the same engine. It's further distinguished with 19-inch wheels, a sport exhaust, sport-tuned suspension and steering, upgraded brakes, LED headlights, and a power passenger seat. The GLA 45's options largely mirror those of the GLA 250, but there are a couple of exclusive additions.
The AMG Dynamic Plus package includes adaptive dampers, a limited-slip differential, a Race driving mode and a higher top speed. The AMG Aerodynamics package offers a gloss-black rear spoiler and body kit. A handful of other packages offer aesthetic enhancements inside and out.
Noise & vibration7.0
Ease of use8.5
Getting in/getting out7.0
Audio & navigation
Features & Specs
Our experts’ favorite GLA-Class safety features:
- Active Brake Assist
- Uses radar to detect vehicles and objects ahead and applies automated braking if necessary.
- Distance Pilot Distronic
- Maintains a set distance from the car ahead of you when the cruise control is set on the highway.
- Lane Keeping Assist
- Monitors road markings and helps detect unintended lane drifting. Alerts driver by vibrating the steering wheel.
Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class vs. the competition
2019 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class
2018 BMW X1
Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class vs. BMW X1
BMW, Mercedes' traditional rival in every class, offers its compelling subcompact X1 with a strong, responsive turbocharged engine and sharp handling to challenge the GLA. And like the GLA, the X1 rides atop a sport-type suspension that isn't especially smooth or particularly quiet. The X1 beats out the GLA for overall passenger space and cargo room, which is something to consider if you'll be regularly driving more than yourself and a front passenger. If you seek high performance, however, the Mercedes is the only choice. The X1 offers nothing that comes close to the AMG GLA 45.
Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class vs. Audi Q3
The GLA has its work cut out for it with the new Q3, which has been redesigned with much-needed updates. The Q3's infotainment system is fully updated (now, finally, with USB ports) and includes a 10-inch display and a Wi-Fi connection. The Q3 has also grown a bit. It's just 3 inches, but it's enough to add room in the formerly cramped rear seat as well as some extra cargo space. There's also now a more powerful turbo four-cylinder engine and suspension changes that promise a smoother ride, perhaps even smoother than the GLA's. We'll need to wait until a full test to find out.
Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class vs. Lexus UX
The UX is the newest entry to the luxury subcompact class. Like its German rivals, the UX distills its brand's traditional standards into a small package. Loaded with style and several standard features that are optional on other models (leather upholstery, for example), the UX makes a good alternative to the sportier nature of the Audi, BMW and Mercedes. That said, the UX drives and handles with more athleticism than most Lexus models, especially (and ironically) the available hybrid model. The hybrid model itself gives the UX an edge in this class since no one else offers one, and we think it's actually the best UX to buy.
The 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLA proves that even Mercedes isn't immune to temptation. With the market for compact crossover SUVs exploding, and the thirst for prestige brands growing as well, Mercedes needed an entry in the compact crossover niche, so the GLA was born.
The "A" in GLA indicates that this is a member of Mercedes' smallest-size class. And it hints, accurately, that much of the GLA's engineering is shared with the smallest four-door the company sells in the United States, the CLA sedan.
Budget-friendliness may be an odd concept for American Mercedes buyers, but the company has contended in many smaller vehicle classes in Europe and elsewhere for decades. The GLA still carries hints of Mercedes overengineering even if it doesn't show up on the bottom line of the window sticker. Well, at least before options are added.
Shaped something like a well-worn Converse Chuck Taylor, the GLA possesses familiar Mercedes styling cues, including a giant three-pointed star in the middle of its grille. Unfortunately, those floppy-shoe stylings cover a relatively tiny passenger compartment. Headroom, legroom and shoulder room are all tightly limited. And cargo room sits between not-very-much and negligible.
The GLA comes in two distinct models. The one that's advertised with a low, Honda-like starting price is the GLA 250, powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at a modest 208 horsepower that drives the front wheels through a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission. A version of Mercedes' 4Matic all-wheel-drive system is also available.
Well above the GLA 250 is the AMG GLA 45 that comes from Mercedes' in-house tuning shop. Using the same basic engine but with the turbo wick turned to "insane," the 2.0-liter four slams out an astonishing 355 hp. It's enough, Mercedes says, to rocket the all-wheel-drive AMG GLA 45 to 60 mph in just 4.3 seconds. It's louder and ruder than the GLA 250, and the suspension can be punishingly stiff. But if having the quickest small crossover matters to you, here it is.
Both GLAs handle well and ride firm. The expected Mercedes refinement simply isn't there, but fuel economy is about average. The basic GLA 250 is EPA-rated at 29 mpg combined (24 city/33 highway). The AMG GLA 45 knocks out 26 mpg combined (22 city/28 highway).
Making sense of the subcompact crossover market is tough, but you can count on Edmunds to clear things up for you and get you a great deal.
2019 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class AMG GLA 45 Overview
The 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class AMG GLA 45 is offered in the following styles: AMG GLA 45 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 7AM).
What do people think of the 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class AMG GLA 45?
Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class AMG GLA 45 and all its trim types. 0 Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2019 GLA-Class AMG GLA 45.
Edmunds Expert Reviews
Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class AMG GLA 45 and all model years in our database. Our rich analysis includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2019 GLA-Class AMG GLA 45 featuring deep dives into trim levels including AMG GLA 45, etc. with careful analysis around pricing, features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving and performance. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.Read our full review of the 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class AMG GLA 45 here.
Our Review Process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
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2019 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class AMG GLA 45 Listings and Inventory
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Should I lease or buy a 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.
Check out Mercedes-Benz lease specials