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The Top Gear car review:Mercedes-Benz GLA
What is it like on the road?
It’s a lot softer-riding than the A-Class. The suppleness helps in the suburban grind, and it eases away the harshness of many motorway surfaces, too. Factor in the well-arranged driving position and it’s relaxing transport, marred only by noisy engines (both petrol and diesel) and a bit of wind noise. The handling is roly-poly but you’re always aware of what’s going on and the reactions and responses are accurate and prompt enough that it doesn’t loll about the place too badly. The 2.1-litre diesel comes in two outputs, the upper 170bhp version being exclusively 4WD (and quite capable off-road), and there’s also GLA 250 turbo petrol, but it isn’t a very charismatic engine.
For charisma you’ll be needing the range-topping AMG GLA 45, a slightly bonkers 4WD device that hits 62mph in 4.8secs – genuinely, a tarmac rally car in kid gloves. The fully AMG-developed engine is an absolute blast and the whole thing works much better than you’d ever expect.