Road Test Review: Mercedes-Benz GLA AMG Line Premium
Independent review by Bill McCarthy
- Enjoyable driving experience
- Impressive features
- Luxurious interior
It is no wonder Mercedes-Benz has sold more than a million of its baby SUV, the GLA.
Despite being the smallest in the range, it is far more than a pumped-up version of the A-Class, on which it is based.
The GLA AMG Line Premium is a high performing, top-of-the-range specification, offering drivers plenty of features and nifty gadgets to enjoy.
Engine and Performance
The GLA features two petrol and two diesel variants, with this model featuring the two litre, 190bhp diesel engine, mated with an 8-speed, dual-clutch transmission.
This diesel is a refined unit with a very brisk acceleration; the car hits 62mph in just 7.3 seconds.
It is an extremely lively and sophisticated unit offering rapid acceleration, a high level of torque at 295lb ft which provides excellent pulling power in all gears, and relatively low CO2 emissions. Add to this a fuel consumption of around 50mpg which is quite impressive considering the car is carrying the extra weight of the four-wheel drive capability.
The four-wheel drive offers extra safety, with added traction in poor weather. When you are off-roading, power is transferred equally to each axle, giving the capability of pulling a horsebox or caravan on and off a muddy field.
Design and Practicality
With a muscular stance, coupé-like lines, and the distinctive three-pointed star of Mercedes-Benz, as well as silver roof rails and 19-inch, five spoke alloys, it never fails to attract attention.
This latest version is a bit higher and shorter than its predecessor, but all models are well-equipped and goodies increase as you move up the range. This top-tier trim features leather, heated and powered seats, 64-colour ambient lighting, a multi-function steering wheel, and high-end sound system.
The interior on this range-topping model is pure executive quality, with piano black design and soft touch finish throughout.
The increased dimensions mean there is plenty of leg and headroom, while the seats are comfortable and supportive. The ride is firm but smooth, meaning passengers have a comfortable experience and despite its high stance, the vehicle always feels stable with a marked absence of wallowing on corners.
As an SUV, it needs to be functional, and the seating arrangements offer various combinations. The sliding rear seats offer extra practicality, and the 485 litres of boot space can be increased to a maximum of 1,420 litres depending on the layout of the rear seats.
Equipment and Technology
Like all Mercedes-Benz models, it hosts a myriad of gadgets and gizmos, not to mention its clever MBUX entertainment system which now uses the latest augmented reality software and a comprehensive range of safety kit.
Five round ventilation units are meant to offer a turbine look, and are trimmed in chrome to give a classy touch. The centrepiece is a 10.25-inch touchscreen which is the brains of the car, connected to a touchpad on the central console.
Unlike some touchpads, this one is not shaky and works well, operating key features like sat nav, infotainment, and connectivity for smartphones. It also houses the reversing camera.
On this AMG specification, another 10.25-inch display merges with the touchscreen to provide a cockpit style, and to deliver key driver information.
The standard MBUX connectivity system uses voice control. It can be individually configured with the help of different options for configuring the screens, graphics, and sat nav with augmented reality and learning software.
For this to work, the camera in the roof console behind the windscreen records a video image of the surroundings. This, in turn, enhances the system with helpful navigation information. Indicator arrows or house numbers are automatically superimposed on the image shown on the media display touchscreen.
Other safety features include a full complement of airbags, standard autonomous braking to avoid a collision, and exit warning function. This alerts the driver to approaching cyclists or vehicles, as well as providing a warning when pedestrians are detected near zebra crossings.
The Mercedes-Benz GLA in AMG Line Premium trim is an impressive model, featuring highly efficient and frugal petrol and diesel engine options, as well as cutting edge technology and features.
Our test car with the 190bhp diesel engine offered an enjoyable and high-performing driving experience. It was easy to see what all the fuss is about when it comes to the GLA, as it was a real joy to drive.