A SPIRITED JAUNT TO OLD MONTREAL IN THE NEW MERCEDES GLA250 4MATIC

Nimble was a word that came in mind as we navigated Mercedes Benz’s new GLA 250 4MATIC luxury SUV east along Highway 401, through Kingston, on our way for a respite in Old Montreal.

Snow began to fall as the speedometer notched above 120 km/h, but not once did the mind wander from the music coming through the brand’s COMAND infotainment system (an optional feature in the GLA, complete with latest internet software and Mercedes Benz apps) to what was going on between the tires on an all-wheel drive automobile and a slick highway surface.

That’s what you get: an SUV nimble enough for city streets, proper pep for highway driving, but rugged enough for dirt roads, if that’s your fancy. The new M270 2.0L turbocharged engine powers the GLA – 0-100 km/h in 7.1 seconds. (For more power, look into the GLA 45 AMG – most powerful series production four-cylinder passenger car engine in the world, featuring the highest power density of all series production passenger car engines, 355 hp at 6,000 rpm, 332 lb-ft at 2,250-5,000 rpm torque, acceleration 0-100 hm/h in 4.8 seconds.)

Looking from front to back, it’s all Benz modernism – contoured hood with twin powerdomes, aero style mirrors with LED indicators, Bi-Xenon head lamps, standard 18-inch five-twin spoke wheels.

Driving on a slick surface, as we did, puts the vehicle’s driving assistance systems more in play, and the GLA 250 doesn’t lack here in any way. Featured is a combination of radar-based distance warning, assisted braking by Adaptive Brake Assist, a warning light system in the instrument panel alerting you if you are too close to the driver in front of you, and another audible warning if that distance continues to close rapidly. If necessary, brake pressure is increased to prevent a collision.

Other luxury features: ARTICO leather upholstery, power 12-way front seats with memory and advanced Bluetooth connectivity for music streaming and hands-free calling.

When we finally arrived in Montreal, navigating our way through the narrow streets, in between buildings that date back to the 17th century, we pulled up to our hotel: Hôtel Épik, on Saint Paul West. Sleek, modernism with the newest in luxury automobile technology made for a stark contrast up against the cobbled streets and preserved architecture, almost a time machine, taking you back to the earliest days when this great city was just a settlement.

The GLA 250 4MATIC starts at $37,200 (the 45 AMG 4MATIC goes for $50,500).