Words & photos - Daniel Bevis
I think this might be my new favourite car. OK, it may be a bit of an ugly duckling, but my goodness, it's fun to drive.
Imagine a slightly scaled-up version of the revered A45 AMG, so that you get the same engine and 4WD along with a bit more legroom in the back and a bigger boot. That's basically what the GLA45 is. It has a hand-built 2.0-litre turbo motor producing a frankly rather silly 360bhp, which is mated to a paddle-shift 7-speed DCT 'box. The optional AMG exhaust - which you can spot by its central vertical divider on either tailpipe - is probably the best box you can tick on the options list, as full-bore flat upshifts are rewarded with a hilarious crackle that sounds (to wheel out a hackneyed but entirely appropriate cliché) like rapid artillery fire.
The handling is utterly sublime, the 4Matic system shifting the oodles of torque around with pocketfuls of witchcraft and sorcery, so that even greasy roads plastered with wet leaves offer no impediment to supersonic progress. And those AMG bucket seats? Just wonderful. All cars should have these.
I'm totally in love with the GLA45, from its motorsport-inspired aero addenda to its incredible brakes, everything about it is flawless. And it's not often I drive something that I can't find fault with. Yes, the looks are polarising, but I reckon that the brutality of it has a certain functional charm. It's definitely made it onto the lottery wishlist...