2018 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLA 45

Change Year or Vehicle
$50,600–$50,600 MSRP range
(5.0) 1 reviews
Key Specs
Our Take
Road Test
Photos
Reviews
Safety & Recalls
Warranty & CPO
Compare
Back to top

Key Specs

of the 2018 Mercedes‑Benz AMG GLA 45. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Power
  • Transmission responsiveness
  • Excellent handling
  • Intuitive multimedia controller
  • All-wheel drive
  • Aggressive driving modes

The Bad

  • Harsh ride quality
  • Visibility
  • Modest cargo area
  • No reclining backseat
  • Expensive
2018 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLA 45 exterior side view

Notable Features of the 2018 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLA 45

  • Five-seat hatchback
  • 375-horsepower, turbo four-cylinder
  • Zero-to-60 mph in 4.3 seconds
  • Launch control
  • Standard all-wheel drive
  • Power driver's seat and power liftgate standard

2018 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLA 45 Road Test

Joe Bruzek
The Verdict:

The 2018 Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 is a hardcore hatchback with real-deal AMG feel.

Versus The Competition:

There are plenty of $50,000 sports cars out there, but few are hatchbacks.

The 2018 Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 compact SUV is a bona fide AMG product just like the rest of Mercedes-Benz's high-performance, range-topping AMG lineup: It has a hand-built, 375-horsepower powerhouse engine under the hood and a totally unique driving experience compared with the regular  Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class. The AMG GLA 45 starts life as a little SUV — truly little; the GLA 250 is small for its class — and dumps the ride height thanks to a lowered suspension, then adds 167 horsepower and gets a 167-mph top speed.

New for 2018

There are few changes to the GLA 45 for 2018 besides a slight styling update up front. The tweaked nose has new, vertically slotted grille intakes and a silver front splitter insert. Mercedes-Benz says the slotted grill intakes are functional and help provide airflow to the radiators. Out back, a new diffuser insert adds a racier look, while Mercedes says the roof-mounted lip spoiler is functional.

That all sounded nice — until I gazed upon my Kryptonite Green Metallic test car with an optional high-mounted black rear spoiler and 20-inch AMG multispoke wheels. Around the office, we called it the "snot rocket." At an as-tested price of $71,000, the ostentatious paint and tacked-on spoiler were too much for me. Maybe they would be just the right amount of "Fast and Furious" for you.

Acceleration

Few cars have as big a range of acceleration and throttle responsiveness as the Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 does ...

The 2018 Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 compact SUV is a bona fide AMG product just like the rest of Mercedes-Benz's high-performance, range-topping AMG lineup: It has a hand-built, 375-horsepower powerhouse engine under the hood and a totally unique driving experience compared with the regular  Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class. The AMG GLA 45 starts life as a little SUV — truly little; the GLA 250 is small for its class — and dumps the ride height thanks to a lowered suspension, then adds 167 horsepower and gets a 167-mph top speed.

New for 2018

There are few changes to the GLA 45 for 2018 besides a slight styling update up front. The tweaked nose has new, vertically slotted grille intakes and a silver front splitter insert. Mercedes-Benz says the slotted grill intakes are functional and help provide airflow to the radiators. Out back, a new diffuser insert adds a racier look, while Mercedes says the roof-mounted lip spoiler is functional.

That all sounded nice — until I gazed upon my Kryptonite Green Metallic test car with an optional high-mounted black rear spoiler and 20-inch AMG multispoke wheels. Around the office, we called it the "snot rocket." At an as-tested price of $71,000, the ostentatious paint and tacked-on spoiler were too much for me. Maybe they would be just the right amount of "Fast and Furious" for you.

Acceleration

Few cars have as big a range of acceleration and throttle responsiveness as the Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 does thanks to its various driving modes. Somewhere between the least-aggressive Comfort mode and the appropriately named — and optional — Race mode, Mercedes seemingly uncorks the engine's additional 167 hp. In Comfort mode, the engine is tame, the turbocharger responds slowly and there's not much oomph under the accelerator pedal. Plus, the transmission shifts lazily. The experience is exceptionally unexceptional.

You better have a clear section of road ahead when you flick into Race mode, because this little booger flat out rips. The transmission builds engine revs from a stop for quicker launches, and the engine comes alive with crisp accelerator response and pulling power; it feels every bit as strong as its 375 hp suggests. It's impressive, especially considering how easy it is for a small-displacement, high-powered four-cylinder to have finicky power delivery, such as too much mid-range power or nothing until the top of the rev range. The AMG has a bunch of punch all over the power band.

Race mode isn't viable every day, as the transmission hangs onto gears excruciatingly long and upshifts reluctantly. That was perfect on the racetrack, but less desirable around town. The next-least-aggressive mode, Sport +, is more livable, but still decently peppy around town. 

Ride and Handling

Even the presence of Comfort mode doesn't make the GLA 45 a very livable everyday commuter. Our test car was optioned with the AMG Dynamic Plus suspension, a package for dedicated trackgoers that also includes a limited-slip front differential and Race mode. The optional suspension certainly livens up the GLA 45's handling performance, but it sacrifices ride quality. I did not enjoy driving the GLA45 around Chicago, but wow did it come alive on Joliet's Autobahn Country Club's north circuit, with flat handling and tenacious grip from the all-wheel-drive system that made the track experience a breeze. The GLA45 feels safely planted even near its traction limits — and those limits are pretty high. 

Everyday Livability (or Lack Thereof) 

The GLA 45 isn't a great SUV. It's a fantastic sports car, or perhaps a hot hatchback like a Ford Focus RS or Honda Civic Type R (though smaller). But the backseat is laughably small compared with an Audi A3 sedan or the supersized (relatively speaking) BMW X1 SUV, and that's a fundamental issue with the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class in any configuration. However, it's less of an issue if you consider the GLA45 a sports car. Sports cars, of course, aren't often purely practical purchases.

Not practical at all are the optional, bulky AMG Performance Seats that jut into the GLA 45's backseat space, but they're grippy and keep a firm hold on front occupants — almost too firm. As a skinny guy, I felt the side bolsters were excessive even with their adjustability fully relaxed.  

For the Money

The AMG GLA 45 is a better impractical sports car than the GLA 250 is a practical small SUV. Despite a small backseat and cargo area, this chassis has more room than coupes like the BMW M2 or Audi TTS, which are around the same price. The GLA 45 we drove was loaded with optional equipment that gave it a $71,000 price tag, but you can get all the important performance stuff in the mid-$50,000 range; it starts at $51,595 with destination.

Audi's RS3 sedan is a more direct competitor, but is available only as a sedan in the U.S. The M2 and TTS are thoroughbreds in this price range, but if you need two more doors and cargo versatility, the AMG GLA 45 nicely fills that void.


Latest 2018 AMG GLA 45 Stories

What Drivers Are Saying

Exterior Styling
(3.0)
Performance
(5.0)
Interior Design
(5.0)
Comfort
(4.0)
Reliability
(5.0)
Value For The Money
(5.0)

Latest Reviews

(5.0)

More fun than it looks!

by Mark S. from Delafield, WI on May 13, 2018

The AMG version of this car is amazing - handling, power, more of a sports car than it looks. Mercedes calls the GLA a compact SUV. But it is small by American standards. I replaced (upsized!) my MINI ... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLA 45 currently has 0 recalls

Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLA 45 has not been tested.

Manufacturer Warranty

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    48 months / 50,000 miles

CPO Program & Warranty

Certified Pre-Owned by Mercedes-Benz

Program Benefits

24-hour roadside assistance, trip-interruption services, trip-planning services and Carfax vehicle history report

  • Limited Warranty

    5 years / Unlimited Miles*

    Up to 5 years/Unlimited miles from original in-service date if purchased while under original warranty, or 1 year/Unlimited miles if purchased outside of new-vehicle warranty; no deductible, transferable to subsequent owners
  • Eligibility

    Under 6 years / 75,000 miles

    Vehicles receive a Rigorous inspection by factory-certified technicians.

Change Year or Vehicle

All Model Years for the Mercedes-Benz AMG GLA 45

0 / 0 0 Photos
0 / 0

Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The AMG GLA 45 received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker