Extraordinary Rides The 2021 Mercedes GLA45- AMG is worth the money

By C.A. Haire

With its compact size and a tiny, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine, this Mercedes GLA might not impress at first look. But the quad exhaust tips sticking out of the body suggest there is more than meets the eye. If not, the price tag of $59,560 is convincing.

The starting fee of a base GLA is $36,000, and that includes a 2.0-liter, 221-horsepower engine. Next up is the GLA35 with 302 horsepower.

Our test example shown here is the top-of-the-line GLA45 AMG. Here, this little 2.0 motor is built by hand from a German craftsman (or possibly a craftswoman).

It is also turbocharged to create an impressive 382 horsepower, hooked to a dual-clutch, eight-speed gearbox and 4Matic all-wheel drive for maximum traction. With all that power, this compact SUV will need all the traction it can get. Mercedes claims a 0 to 60 mph time of 4.3 seconds, but a skilled driver can beat that.

Driving this vehicle is a blast. With its small size, it can zip through heavy city traffic with ease. Thanks to that massive horsepower, it can do so in a hurry. There is also a drive program for comfort, sport and sport+ modes, as well as slippery for wet/sand conditions.

Because this is an SUV, it can be taken off pavement, and we did so successfully on desert trails.

There are some disadvantages here. First, a spare tire is not included, which limits off-road trips. Also, the fuel mileage claim of 20/27 mpg seems reasonable, but it’s hard to drive this powerful vehicle slow enough to get these figures.

In 2,600 miles of fleet use, the computer stayed steady at 20 mpg using super premium blend. But this AMG is so entertaining to operate, few will care. It’s well worth the money

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