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Review: Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 attempts to bring performance to compact SUV

NEW DELHI: I was looking for a weekend drive in a sporty and premium SUV yet I wished it to be compact. Compact – both in terms of size and price. I looked around for a while, my vision could go no further than the Mercedes AMG GLA 35.
This entry-level AMG, for reference, is assembled in the Mercedes facility in Chakan, and comes with a spirited 2-litre turbocharged petrol mill. This is the smallest and most affordable SUV wearing an AMG batch. Shy of Rs 58 lakh (ex-showroom), is the GLA AMG 35 exciting enough?

03:50Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 | Review

Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 | Review

Before we get to speak about the AMG, I’m delighted to note the dimensional changes Mercedes made to the GLA in general. Gone are the proportions of a hatchback on steroids, the 2021 model stands tall like an appropriate SUV.
The GLA AMG 35 comes in 6 colour trims and the one we had is exclusive and available only on-demand. So how is it different from regular AMG cosmetically? Look for the parallel-slat chrome grille and revised bumpers upfront. The bigger 19-inch AMG-cut alloys look a class apart. Multi-beam LEDs are employed in the AMG variant. On the rear as well, elements like twin tip exhausts and chrome-laden logos are differentiating design factors.

Zoom into the all-black cabin, just before you fire the four-cylinder motor to sing, the red accents amplify the overall feel. Twin HD display, which is fully-digital, connected, intuitive and smooth to operate has become a hallmark across Mercedes-Benz cars. That said, I prefer the sense of airiness the lighter-themed interior of regular GLA imparts.
Space, I dare say, is strict for four grown-ups. The decent-sized sunroof, and automatic AC, wireless charging do very little in transcending the highly personal AMG GLA 35 into a family car.

The smallest AMG unit is good enough for 306 horses and 400 Nm of peak torque. If you’re in a mood to sway the SUV, switch it to dynamic mode, and the firecracker pins down 100 kmph from standstill in just over 5 seconds. The rush of adrenaline is channelized through an 8-speed dual-clutch unit.
Seek practicality, the AMG genes can be subdued in comfort or efficiency mode, where city driving comes naturally. The exhaust note is no raspier, the steering frees up some weight and the fuel consumption doesn’t appear rattling anymore.

The 4Matic or all-wheel drive is standard in AMG GLA 35, if there is a need to take the less beaten path. The ride is quite firm for everyday usage, and that’s understandable. The priority is to deliver fun in the very individualistic car. The sharpness to the steer the AMG variant is significantly greater over the regular petrol and diesel GLAs.
The ace from Mercedes has to be the 8-year/unlimited kilometres warranty package on the engine and transmission, which is transferrable to the next owner in case you opt to sell it off. At Rs 65-odd lakhs on-road, you may get your hands on bigger, more premium sedans and SUVs, but nothing other will assure you the level of engagement AMG GLA 35 does.

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