Registry Tampa Bay

Hit the gas in Mercedes’ latest AMG GLA 35 mini-SUV, and it’s like trying to hang on to the leash of a frisky labradoodle who definitely doesn’t want to “heel”. 

This little four-wheeled puppy gets its friskiness from an AMG hopped-up 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder that packs a mean 302-horsepower punch. It’s fast. And furious. And one whole lot of fun.

This is the smokin-hot version of Mercedes-Benz entry-level SUV, the GLA. There’s a base GLA 250 version, which is perfectly lovely. And practical. And perfectly excellent value at around $43,000. 

But if you crave a little excitement in your life, want to jack your pulse rate once in a while on your commute to the office or Little League practice, then you need an AMG GLA 35. 

There used to be a crazy-fast 382-hp AMG GLA 45 version. But for some reason, the powers at be at Mercedes-Benz USA quietly jettisoned it from the range some time last year. Too hot to handle, perhaps.

That leaves the AMG GLA 35 as the fastest, most dynamic, most fun model in the GLA range. And with a base sticker of $57,600, it’s also the priciest.

But after a week behind the wheel of this Teutonic tearaway, I came away loving its concept of power and practicality, athleticism and all-wheel-drive agility, sporty and dynamic design. 

And the design got a mild freshening for 2024 that included a few nips and tucks to the front end, with updated LED headlights and taillights, an AMG hood crest, and the option of some super-cool,  21-inch AMG thin-spoke rims. 

While the 2.0-liter turbo-4 stayed pretty much the same, it got paired with a 48-volt hybrid-assist system that includes a belt-driven starter-generator which can add up to 13 extra horseys to the rodeo. 

This adds a little extra response when you step on the gas, while making the stop/start functionality smoother. The extra power isn’t reflected in the motor’s 302-hp and 295 lb-ft output, but it’s there when you need to pass, or make a quick getaway from the stop light. 

Talking of getaways, click the stopwatch and this little bundle of joy can zip from standstill to 60mph in just 5.1 seconds. In reality it feels faster, largely because of the turbo boost, strong mid-range thrust, and the snap, crackle and pop of it AMG exhaust. 

Add to all that an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic which shifts gears with the immediacy of flicking a light switch, plus manual control via paddle-shifters behind the wheel. 

The fun factor is also heightened by the AMG 35’s terrific, racecar-like cockpit. Here you grip a thick-rimmed, flat-bottomed AMG wheel with seemingly more controls than on Lewis Hamilton’s F1 Mercedes racer. 

If you’re feeling flush – financially, rather than facially,  you’ll find it hard to resist the fabulous AMG Performance Seats – a $3,250 upgrade – which hold you tighter than a John Cena body lock. Add the gorgeous red leather inserts – an extra $1,450 – and you too will feel like Lewis at the Nurburgring. 

While there’s plenty of space up front, the rear seats are a little tight on legroom, though lifting the tailgate reveals no shortage of luggage space. And sitting a little higher off the ground, the GLA is a cinch to get in and out of.

But it’s out on the road where this baby Benz comes into its own. It’s truly a blast to drive, courtesy of the rev-happy four-cylinder’s explosive thrust and rowdy exhaust. 

Through the curves, the combo of scalpel-precise steering, AMG-tuned suspension, and 4Matic all-wheel drive give it the nimbleness of some oversized go-kart.

Yes, the ride is on the firm side, but it’s far from punishing, and is in keeping with the car’s AMG-tuned “hot hatch” image. 

In typical Mercedes-Benz tradition, the AMG35’s options list is as long as the Dead Sea Scrolls. Start checking boxes and it’s  not hard to get to the $72,710 sticker of our test car. 

Keep things simple and here is one of the most fun, most practical, most lovable performance SUVs out there.

Planning an Event?

Join The Charity Registry!

Promote your events on our website, membership directory and social media accounts.

3 Responses

  1. “Appreciate the tips shared in this post about carpet care. At Teppich Reinigung München, we take pride in offering top-notch carpet cleaning services that restore the beauty and freshness of carpets. We’re committed to delivering satisfaction to our clients in Munich.”

  2. “Thank you for discussing the importance of carpet cleaning. At Teppich Reinigung München, we specialize in professional carpet cleaning services designed to remove stains, dirt, and allergens effectively. We’re dedicated to providing outstanding service to our clients in Munich.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *