Updated: Apr 1
Mercedes-Benz is on a roll. It's an incredible lineup of vehicles, none of which cut any corners and all of which are no-excuses Mercedes-Benzes, regardless of size class or price point.
Six months ago, I told you about the smallest of the Mercedes SUVs, the GLA 250, and how impressive the new generation model is.
But wait till you see what AMG has done with the same basic vehicle.
Say hello to the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLA45 4MATIC+. The cliche' would be to say it picks up where the GLA 250 leaves off. But that's not true. It leapfrogs that and about two other points on any logical spectrum. I'm not sure the Mercedes-AMG GLA45 should even be possible. But I'm glad it is.
Under the hood, it's a handcrafted 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four. Yes, the GLA 250 has a turbo four, too. That one makes 221 horsepower and gets to 60 from a standing stop in 7.1 seconds.
This one makes 382 horsepower, has 354 pounds per foot of torque and knocks 0-60 runs down to 4.3 seconds. All that power gets to all four wheels through an eight-speed AMG Speedshift dual-clutch automatic transmission. And the EPA fuel economy estimate remains reasonable---20 miles per gallon city, 27 highway.
The one place where the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLA45 4MATIC+ comes close to "picking up where the GLA250 left off" is in price. The base price of the AMG is actually a thousand dollars less than the as-tested price of the GLA 250 I reviewed back in November. And for that base price of $54,500, you get a lot of standard equipment beyond all that power.
The window sticker is at the end of this review so you can see for yourself, but among the standard equipment highlights at that price are AMG carbon structure trim, AMG Dynamic Select and an AMG Ride Control sport suspension, as well as non-AMG-specific content like dual 10.25-inch displays, and dual-zone automatic climate control.
As usual with high-end European vehicles, it's the extra-cost options that make a huge difference, both in terms of the equipment and the price. That's true of the AMG45. The Digital White Metallic paint was $720. The 21-inch black AMG cross-spoke wheels were $2,050. SiriusXM Radio with a free trial period isn't free---it's $460 (Siriusly, Mercedes?).
Adjustable rear seats are $360, the MBUX Interior Assistant is $200, the Burmester Surround Sound audio system is another $850. Wireless charging for your phone is another $200, a USB-C adapter cable is $25.
And then there are the packages. I'm going to refer you to the window sticker at the end of this review for the specific content of each, but we're talking $1,700 for the Driver Assistance Package, $900 for the Exterior Lighting Package, $1,295 for the Multimedia Package, $750 for the AMG Night Package, $1,550 for the AMG Aerodynamics Package, $2,770 for the AMG Performance Seat Package and $2,050 for the AMG Dynamic Plus Package.
Yes, I bust GM for this sort of thing---many of the packages contain equipment that's standard on vehicles costing tens of thousands of dollars less---but this is Mercedes. They (and Audi, Porsche, BMW and other European automakers) do it because they can.
The simple fact is that every one of these packages, with maybe the exception of the Night package, which is largely cosmetic, is stuff that you absolutely want to have to go with that 0-60 in 4.3 and killer handling thing. I can't imagine who would buy one of these without those.
Which means, ultimately, that the as-tested price, including $1,050 destination and delivery, of $71,430 is not a shock, not unreasonable and not a bad price at all for this level of performance and prestige.