What’s it like to drive the all-new Mercedes-AMG GLA 35? I got the keys to the car for 20 minutes. 20 minutes?? Yes, I took my time with the facelifted E-Class (embargoed until 10-8), and thus he had to rush to drive the GLA.

Let’s start with what the Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 is: a newcomer for AMG, as previously the world only knew a GLA 45 version. With the fresh new GLA, AMG’s engineers couldn’t stop themselves and bestowed the GLA with their proven ’35-recipe’. That means it gets a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo engine pushing out 306 hp and 400 Nm. 0-100 km/h is done in 5.1 seconds as the AMG Performance 4MATIC variable all-wheel drive grips the asphalt eagerly.

The Drive

What’s it like to drive? Well, clogged up traffic around Brussels isn’t where this car shows itself in the truest form, but the 20 minutes weren’t ones of complete standstill. As with other 35-versions, the Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 gets a dual-clutch 8-speed and that transmission is a gem inside these compact cars (and really in the city too). The whole drivetrain can be anything from mild up to fierce. Put the GLA into Sport+ and it lures you into driving quicker with a decent gas response. It lures you into using the torque-rich character, which it throws at you as fast as it can. Sound isn’t as addictive as in the 45-versions though.

Acceleration feels quick and you’re not slammed into the rear springs. The suspension never seems too soft. The GLA has very, very little body roll. That’s all down to mechanics doing their thing as the Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 has a unique suspension setup. That part is probably the most surprising part of this car, that it almost feels like it isn’t a crossover.

Loving Or Hating It?

Those 20 minutes have me lusting for more, and I can’t wait for more days with it. Those details in- and outside, the acceleration, and engaging drive mean one thing: Mercedes-AMG has successfully entered a new segment.┬áSure, there GLA 45 was there but the 35-recipe is new.

This whole package is tempting for consumers and they won’t be let down. It offers what you expect, and you can convince you other-half this isn’t the top tier you’re buying. Want the full package? AMG has a candy shop in options ready for this car, then you have to pay. Bucket seats, AMG control buttons on the steering wheel, this car has it and won’t come without extra money.

Some Facts

2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo engine225 kW (306 hp) at 5800 rpm, 400 Nm at 3000-4000 rpm
Acceleration0-100 km/h in 5.1 s
DriveAMG Performance 4MATIC
Suspension up frontMcPherson suspension strut construction
Brake calipers 4-piston callipers up front, 1 piston on the rear
Brake disc size350mm up front, 330mm on the back