Skip to main content

2024 AMG GLA 35 4MATIC- A Sports Car Hiding In Luxury Crossover Clothing

The 2024 AMG GLA 35 is a Mercedes-Benz vehicle hiding in a tiny niche. Maybe a niche you are interested in?

If you are looking for a luxury subcompact crossover with sports-car like acceleration and handling, Mercedes-Benz may have just what you are looking for. The company builds a small number (around 5,000 per year) of its AMG GLA 35 for folks who want this combination, and are willing to pay around $63K to get it.

2024 AMG GLA 35 4MATIC - What Is It?
The AMG in this Mercedes-Benz vehicle’s name refers to the company’s sporty division. GLA is the vehicle series, and it means subcompact four-door hatchback crossover. 35 has no specific meaning. It does not align with displacement, horsepower, or cylinders in any way. 4MATIC is the brand name for Mercedes-Benz all-wheel drive. The GLA is a five-passenger vehicle sized at the small end of the subcompact vehicle market.

2024 AMG GLA 35 4MATIC - Powertrain
The AMG GLA 35 4MATIC has a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine with just under 300 lb-ft of torque from 3,000 to 4,000 RPMs and 302 peak horsepower. This is mated to an eight-speed AMG SPEEDSHIFT dual-clutch automatic transmission (DCT) equipped with multiple modes and paddle shifters. The all-wheel drive system is called AMG Performance 4MATIC. The vehicle is also equipped with a mild hybrid system. It earns a 24 MPG Combined EPA Estimate using Premium fuel. 

2024 AMG GLA 35 4MATIC - How Much Does It Cost?
Our media vehicle had a total consumer cost less dealer markups, doc fees, and dealer-added content of $63,475, according to the Monroney sticker info provided with the tester.

2024 AMG GLA 35 4MATIC - How Does It Drive?
The AMG GLA 35 is built for speed. Its DCT is not ideal for mello around-town daily driving, but it shines when you pin the throttle. The engine is also tuned for assertive driving. The turbo seems to do its thing at around 3,000 RPM, as opposed to around 1,500 RPM like most mainstream vehicles. The upshot of all this is a 0-60 MPH time of just above 5 seconds, according to MB. We would have guessed it was even faster off the line based on how it feels. 

The AMG GLA 35 is low to the ground. This vehicle has no off-road pretensions. Handling is tight and precise, and the ride is firm, but in a high-quality sort of way. Those who want a sporty ride will love it. 

The steering wheel is special in the AMG GLA 35. It has all manner of vehicle controls on it and hanging off of it. We feel it is very cool, and it is a plus for the vehicle. Finding your preferred drive mode is simple, and the vehicle can be customized to the driver’s likes very easily (after you are familiar with the systems). Braking is ideal for sporty driving, and the brake rotors are cross-drilled (we think that’s the proper word) and look serious through the alloy rims. 

Interior image of 2024 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLA 35 by John Goreham2024 AMG GLA 35 4MATIC - What Makes It Special?
This is a very low-volume vehicle. The GLA series is eighth in sales among the MB vehicle lineup, and the AMG versions are a subset of that line. Your author is pretty sure he has never seen one in traffic (despite living near an MB dealership in an area with a lot of MBs). So, it is an exclusive vehicle here in our, no doubt. 

The interior is excellent. The seats of our tester were upholstered in brown MB-Tex synthetic material and microfiber suede that was great to look at and felt really good to the touch. All the usual MB interior themes are in the GLA. This vehicle does not feel in any way “lesser” than any of the high-end MBs we have had the pleasure to test. Noplace is a limited budget apparent to the occupant. It appears that MB built this to be the finest vehicle of its type, which we can honestly say we feel it is. 

MB also did a great job with the infotainment system in the AMG GLA 35. The phone cubby fit our Samsung Galaxy S24 nicely. The center screen is touch-sensitive, and the controls are super intuitive. The learning curve is quite quick. Android Auto worked instantly, wirelessly, and flawlessly in our week of testing, and we are confident Apple CarPlay would as well. From our point of view, MB did everything right in this vehicle. 

Notes: Our media vehicle had the standard outstanding seats. They were very comfortable and sized for full-sized people. I’m six feet tall and a smidge over 200 pounds. We would not opt for the performance seat option without giving it a good test drive. Also, it is our understanding that the vehicle ships with summer-only tires. Ours had winter tires fitted for the safety of our testers in winter temps. 

2024 AMG GLA 35 4MATIC - Conclusion
Although there are lower-cost vehicles similar in some ways to the AMG GLA 35, such as the Dodge Hornet GT and Mazda CX-30 Turbo, none we have ever tested are as good as this vehicle at what it is intended to be. If you want a fun daily driver built to a $40K budget, you can find many from which to choose. However, if you want a vehicle this size and shape and want top-quality fit, finish, and feel along with performance that is near the limit of what is possible to exploit on public roads, the list is very short. In fact, it may be this single vehicle. 

John Goreham is an experienced New England Motor Press Association member and expert vehicle tester. John completed an engineering program with a focus on electric vehicles, followed by two decades of work in high-tech, biopharma, and the automotive supply chain before becoming a news contributor. In addition to his eleven years of work at Torque News, John has published thousands of articles and reviews at American news outlets. He is known for offering unfiltered opinions on vehicle topics. You can follow John on Twitter, and connect with him at Linkedin.

2024 AMG GLA 35 images by John Goreham.