The difference between a Mercedes-Benz and a Mercedes-AMG is perfectly illustrated by the fierce and feisty GLA35. While the more pedestrian GLA250 smiles, the AMG GLA35 scowls. It pumps out a healthy 302 horsepower from its AMG-enhanced 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and its dual-clutch transmission snaps off rapid-fire shifts sending power to all four wheels. It has a notably higher claimed top speed than its Benz counterpart, too. Not surprisingly, all that added performance comes at a cost, both literally and figuratively. Aside from its bigger price tag, we found the AMG GLA-class to be a bit too stiff for daily commutes, and we’re not sure if the added driving chops make it a better choice than comfier competitors such as the Volvo XC40 or BMW X1. But if you’re more concerned with having a relatively roomy ride with extra kick to it, then the AMG GLA-class might be your steed.
What’s New for 2024?
It seems that Mercedes has dropped the raucous, 382-hp AMG GLA45 from the lineup, leaving the GLA35 as the sole offering for the 2024 model year—though the company has yet to make an official announcement about discontinuing the more powerful version. Other changes include refreshed styling for the front and rear, which includes updated LED headlights and taillights, and for the first time ever the GLA35’s hood flaunts the AMG crest. Engine output remains the same, but a 48-volt hybrid-assist system has been added to the mix—Mercedes claims that it provides a temporary power boost of 13 horsepower under certain driving conditions and makes start/stop functionality smoother. Inside, the AMG Performance steering wheel with AMG Drive Unit buttons is newly standard. Additionally, the infotainment system has also been updated with the latest software, and the AMG GLA gets Apple Car Play and Android Auto as standard. New upholstery and trim options have been made available along with new wheel options.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
For 2024 the AMG GLA-class is offered in a single flavor: the GLA35. Although we would have preferred the GLA45 with its 382-hp turbo-four, the 302-hp GLA35 still makes for a compelling choice and offers lively performance. It’s equipped with a host of standard performance features, including all-wheel drive and a tuned-and-tweaked suspension that pump the driving excitement way up versus the regular Mercedes-Benz GLA250. Unfortunately, heated and ventilated seats aren’t standard, so we’d opt for those as well as the AMG Performance seats. We’d also go for the Night package, which trades chrome accenting for gloss black.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The GLA35 is powered by an AMG-massaged turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 302 hp, and Mercedes claims that’s enough to zip the SUV to 60 mph in just 5.0 seconds. We haven’t had the chance to test the AMG GLA-class in this guise, however, the previous generation GLA45—which made 375 hp—hit 60 mph in 4.0 seconds, so we think Mercedes is being conservative on its acceleration claim for the current GLA35 model. AMG engineers have imbued this iteration with the same amount of athleticism as the previous generation AMG GLA-class but have been able to work in a touch more ride comfort. The previous-generation model offered very little suspension compliance, which resulted in a punishing ride. Additionally, AMG has befitted the GLA35 with hybrid-assist technology starting with the 2024 model year, but we don’t expect this to improve performance; only efficiency.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA has not published estimates for the 2024 AMG GLA35 yet. We expect figures to improve given the addition of the hybrid-assist system. For reference, the 2023 GLA35 is estimated to deliver 23 mpg city and 29 mpg highway. These efficiency numbers are similar to rivals such as the BMW X2 M35i and the Mini Cooper Countryman JCW. We haven’t had a chance to test the new GLA35 on our 75-mph highway fuel economy route. For more information about the GLA35 and GLA45’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The standard GLA-class’s interior is relatively roomy for rear-seat riders, and that applies to the GLA35 as well. Interior material quality is impressive for an entry-level AMG, and the interior design closely resembles other Mercedes SUVs with loftier price tags. Sporty-looking front seats, red stitching, red seatbelts, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, and carbon-fiber interior trim all give the AMG version of the GLA-class a racier ambiance. Notably, open-pore wood and other trims have become available starting with the 2024 model year. Cargo space is adequate, and the load floor is flush with the sill for easier loading and unloading.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Two giant 10.3-inch infotainment displays dominate the GLA-class’s dashboard. One serves as a reconfigurable gauge display and the other handles the infotainment system. The interface features Mercedes-Benz’s MBUX software, which offers the “Hey Mercedes” voice control system, but it also can be controlled via the touchscreen or the touchpad mounted on the center console. The system includes wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, but navigation costs extra.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
A suite of advanced driver-assistance features is offered as part of the Driver Assistance package, but automated emergency braking is standard. For more information about the GLA-class’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking
- Available lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist
- Available adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Basic warranty coverage of four years or 50,000 miles is included with the purchase of a new GLA-class, but both the BMW and the Mini offer three years of complimentary scheduled maintenance.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance
More Features and Specs