Mercedes GLA hybrid engines, drive & performance

Running on electric power, the Mercedes GLA 250 e is quiet and refined. The petrol engine is a bit noisy, however

Mercedes GLA 250 e plug-in hybrid
Overall rating

4.0 out of 5

Engines, drive & performance rating

4.0 out of 5

0-62mphTop speedDriven wheelsPower
7.1s137mphFour215bhp

The GLA is at its best running on electric power, which is perfectly straightforward thanks to its usable range. The tiny 1.3-litre petrol engine can be noisy at times, especially under hard acceleration. Things quieten down at a cruise, however.

Taking things easier actually suits the GLA's personality. The integration of the engine and electric motor is smooth, with the car switching between the two almost imperceptibly. The steering is direct and the gearbox is slick; the system works away in the background, just as it should.

But this isn't the kind of car you'll relish throwing down your favourite back road. The GLA is more adept at town driving and motorway cruising than being driven flat out. The 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system provides plenty of grip when you need it, offering extra security in inclement weather. 

Mercedes GLA 250 e 0-62mph, top speed and acceleration

Thanks to its combined power output of 215bhp, the Mercedes GLA plug-in hybrid feels brisk in a straight line. Using the engine and electric motor, it'll do 0-62mph in 7.1 seconds – the kind of time that not too long ago was the preserve of hot hatchbacks and sports cars.

Even if you run the car purely in Electric mode, it feels sprightly enough away from junctions and traffic lights. It's easy to avoid using the engine, too; provided there's enough energy in the cells, the GLA will prioritise the battery unless you put your foot to the floor.

Handling

As you might imagine, given this car's similarities with the plug-in hybrid A-Class, the GLA feels a lot like that car but with a slightly raised ride height. This means it has a greater tendency to lean during faster changes of direction, although on the whole it feels safe and secure.

The gearbox works well, switching up and down at just the right time. In Electric mode you can even take control of the regenerative braking using the paddles on the steering wheel.

The 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system offers lots of grip, and while the ride has a firm edge on the AMG Line model's 19-inch wheels, it's not bad enough to be a dealbreaker.

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