Everyone’s got some sort of love story about the one that got away. Maybe it was the cute girl or boy you desired at band camp when you were 17, but never mustered the courage to ask them out. Or possibly it was a chance occurrence when the stars aligned and champagne flowed a little too freely and there was a single night of passion. Or maybe, there was just enough of a spark from a fleeting, but special moment that had you wondering “what if…” ever since.

Now imagine having a second chance to spend time with that special love, enough time to either make you reconsider everything else in your life, or to be grateful for the decisions you have made. Enough time to get to know the real personality of the object of your desire.

My love story, if you care to hear about it, is based on a chance encounter and a few exhilarating moments together that were enough to linger in my thoughts and dominate my (automotive) fantasies for months after.

Last autumn, I had the good fortune to briefly drive Mercedes-Benz’s newest rabble rouser – the GLA 45 AMG. Dressed up with sexy 20-inch footwear, a sassy wing and enticing crimson lipstick… err, I mean trim, this car I’d previously paid no mind, suddenly captivated my desire in a meaningful way.

Mercedes calls the GLA 45 AMG a compact SUV, but I call BS on that. It’s a hot hatch like several other unicorns that those lucky drivers across the Atlantic can buy any day of the week. You know the ones, those sensational little Euro-brand compacts that can haul mom, dad and junior, plus a boot full of groceries, and really haul ass too. Only this unicorn is real and it’s here in North America and my God, I want to hug and kiss the decision maker and Mercedes-Benz Canada who decided we deserved to have it.

Four doors, a hatchback, plus all-wheel drive mean the GLA 45 is a sensible car. It’s the sort of machine I can drive around to visit clients or in-laws and have them think, “Oh, Jeff’s finally exercising some common sense and restraint with his automotive purchase.” And yet, with that giant three-pointed star on the nose (does any car maker other than Mercedes have such arrogance to put TWO brand badges on the front of their car?), there’s enough cachet to pull up to the valet and not feel like a chump.

But there’s more, much, much more. There’s the part where some German fellow, probably with a moustache and a dry sense of humour, constructs the heart of this practical compact hatchback family car to offend those with proper manners and common sense. An angry snail resides beneath the hood of the GLA 45 that does flaming Sambuca shots and yells, burps and farts loudly every time someone kicks him in the butt with the accelerator pedal.

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