2024 Mercedes-AMG GLA35 Review: Performance | Interior

2024 Mercedes-AMG GLA35 Review

The 2024 GLA35 AMG is a clear testament to Mercedes-AMG’s commitment to offering high-performance vehicles that are also relatively accessible. As the current jewel of the GLA-class, especially in the absence of the GLA45 in the U.S. market, the GLA35 AMG showcases what happens when AMG shifts its focus slightly from luxury towards more economical performance-oriented offerings.

What鈥檚 New with the GLA35 AMG?

For 2024, the GLA35 AMG has received several updates that enhance its appeal and functionality. It now sports LED headlights and taillights, ensuring better visibility and a more modern look. The interior hasn’t been left behind, with an upgraded infotainment interface making the tech experience smoother and more intuitive. A new hood badge adorns the exterior, signaling its AMG pedigree, while a newly standard AMG Performance steering wheel鈥攔eplete with additional dials and buttons鈥攑romises a more dynamic driving interaction.

The introduction of a 48-volt hybrid-assist system marks a significant enhancement in the GLA35 AMG’s powertrain. This addition helps maintain the engine鈥檚 efficiency and adds a subtle boost to its performance, although the peak power figures remain unchanged at 302 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque.

Driving Dynamics of the GLA35 AMG

Performance remains the core focus of the GLA35 AMG. The SUV sprints from 0 to 60 mph in a brisk 4.7 seconds and covers the quarter-mile in 13.4 seconds at 102 mph. This is where the GLA35 AMG shines, showcasing the power and agility expected from an AMG model. The eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission plays a crucial role here, especially in full-throttle scenarios where it delivers rapid shifts.

However, it’s not all smooth sailing. In more casual, everyday driving scenarios, the transmission can feel clunky, particularly during on-off throttle applications. The transition isn’t as smooth when more nuanced handling is required, leaving a noticeable gap in performance that could be improved with a switch to a torque-converter automatic. This change could potentially enhance the daily drivability of the GLA35 AMG without compromising its impressive performance metrics.

The 2024 GLA35 AMG packs a sonic punch that parallels its physical performance. The turbocharged 2.0-liter engine not only performs admirably in power delivery but also adds a unique acoustic dimension to the driving experience. It鈥檚 loud鈥攔egistering 85 decibels at full throttle鈥攎imicking the aggressive growls of a “pissed-off warthog.” This auditory feedback enhances the sensation of speed and power that the GLA35 AMG is eager to showcase.

Moreover, the GLA35鈥檚 engine efficiency is noteworthy. Achieving 30 mpg on a 75-mph highway loop, it surpasses the EPA鈥檚 estimate by 2 mpg, proving that high performance doesn鈥檛 necessarily sacrifice fuel efficiency鈥攁 commendable feat for a performance-oriented vehicle.

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Braking and Handling: Sporty Yet Firm

When it comes to stopping power, the GLA35 AMG stands on solid ground. With a braking distance of 152 feet from 70 mph and 304 feet from 100 mph, its capabilities are on par with those of the Nissan Z NISMO, despite the latter being a dedicated sports car and lighter by 180 pounds. This comparison highlights the robust engineering behind the GLA35鈥檚 braking system.

Handling is another area where the GLA35 shines. Upgraded to Continental Sport Contact 6 summer tires, our test vehicle showed impressive grip, recording 0.93 g on the skidpad. The SUV鈥檚 ability to remain composed through sharp turns and manage weight transitions effectively ensures that it feels more nimble and responsive than expected for its class.

Ride Quality: A Stiff Compromise

Despite its sporty accolades, the GLA35 AMG does not completely escape criticism. The ride quality, influenced by AMG-tuned adaptive dampers, tends to be harsh across all modes. Comfort mode, typically a refuge in Mercedes vehicles, fails to live up to its name, delivering a ride that can feel punishing on less-than-perfect roads. The 20-inch wheels, while aesthetically pleasing, exacerbate this issue, suggesting that opting for the standard 19-inch wheels could provide a slightly more forgiving experience.

Interior and Pricing Review: 2024 GLA35 AMG

Interior Design and Features: A Mixed Bag

The interior of the 2024 GLA35 AMG reflects a blend of style and cost-saving measures, typical of Mercedes’ more budget-conscious offerings. The cabin does feature an array of harder plastics, yet it retains a stylistic alignment with other current Mercedes models, ensuring it doesn’t feel completely out of place in the luxury lineup. The standard AMG steering wheel is praised for its tactile pleasure, although the touch-based controls are noted as less enjoyable to use, suggesting a potential area for interface improvement.

A significant point of contention is the optional seat upgrade, priced at $3,250. The extreme lateral bolstering of these seats makes them uncomfortable for many users, regardless of size, suggesting that skipping this upgrade might be wise for potential buyers. Conversely, the technological enhancements are a high point, featuring modern conveniences like wireless smartphone mirroring and fast-charging USB-C ports, which add a layer of modern usability and appeal.

Cargo Space and Practicality

For those needing more space than the GLA35 offers, the alternative within the same family would be the GLB35. This model provides an optional third row and up to 62 cubic feet of storage, surpassing the GLA35’s maximum of 51 cubic feet. This makes the GLB35 a more versatile option for buyers needing additional cargo and passenger space.

Pricing and Value

Starting at $57,600, the base price of the GLA35 AMG is relatively reasonable for a vehicle that offers AMG-level performance combined with everyday usability. However, it鈥檚 crucial to approach the options list judiciously; our test car featured a variety of upgrades that inflated its price to nearly $73,000鈥攁 steep climb that may not justify the additional benefits. For comparison, the BMW X1 M35i, a close competitor, starts at $50,895 and offers slightly more power (10 additional horsepower) with the same torque, presenting a compelling alternative for value-conscious consumers.

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