Mercedes-Benz continues compact SUV assault

The new Mercedes-Benz GLA completes refresh of its compact car and SUV range.

With every third Mercedes-Benz Benz manufactured worldwide now an SUV and every fourth a compact car, it should come as no surprise that the brand’s latest Australia release is yet another compact SUV. 

Following hard on the heels of the seven-seat GLB, Mercedes-Benz continues its relentless SUV assault with the arrival of the new Mercedes-Benz GLA crossover SUV. 

Like the recently launched GLB, the GLA is based on the Mercedes-Benz MFA2 platform, which also underpins such models as the A-Class, B-Class, and CLA. 

Standing 1616mm in its boots, Mercedes says the new GLA is 122mm taller than the outgoing model, with a higher and more characteristically SUV-like seating position.

Mercedes-Benz GLA

The driver and front-seat passenger benefit from increased head room, while rear-seat passengers can expect increased leg room, despite the new GLA being 14mm shorter overall than the model it replaces.

GLA models equipped with Benz’s 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system now get an off-road engineering package as standard. 

It adds an additional off-road driving program, a downhill driving function, and off-road animation with incline angles in the media display. 

The package also includes a special light function, available in combination with the optional multi-beam LED headlamps, which widens the spread of the beams for better illumination during low-speed manoeuvres. 

The new GLA also makes a further step forward in safety, courtesy of standard driving assistance system including active brake assist, blind spot assist with exit warning assistant, and active lane keep assist. That’s on top of its standard nine airbags, active bonnet, cross-wind assist, PRE-SAFE accident anticipatory systems, and traffic sign assist.

Mercedes-Benz GLA

An optional driving assistance package also takes the GLA a step further towards semi-autonomous driving, with features like active distance assist cruise control, active lane change assist, extended semi-autonomous driver assistance in traffic jams, and route-based speed adaptation.

Stylistically, all models in the range feature hallmark off-road design features such as the upright front section, short overhangs at the front and rear, and protective cladding all-round.

Inside, the driver is greeted by the same widescreen array of side-by-side 10.25-inch digital screens as other new-generation members of the Mercedes-Benz compact range, including the array of distinctive turbine-style air vents studded across the dash. 

The standard MBUX infotainment system features “Hey Mercedes” voice actuation for dozens of common commands, rendered on high-quality screens with crisp graphics and a choice of four different design themes.

“The high demand for our SUVs shows that we can offer the right model for all of our customers in this segment,” said Britta Seeger, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG, responsible for Mercedes-Benz Cars Marketing & Sales.

“To meet their wishes, the range includes the GLB and GLA, two off-roaders that ideally complement each other: the GLB is the most functional and most spacious representative of our compact-class family, while the new GLA is positioned as its sporty brother and as a lifestyle-oriented SUV.”

Mercedes-Benz GLA

Pricing for the new GLA has increased across the board versus the equivalent predecessor model by between $3500 and $14,935, while the addition of the Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 4MATIC means there’s now an additional performance variant in the range, but no diesel option  following the deletion of the GLA 250d.  

The GLA 200 and GLA 250 4MATIC arrive in showrooms from the beginning of August, while it will be Q4 before we see the sporty AMG-enhanced GLA 35 4MATIC and GLA 45 S 4MATIC+.

Mercedes-Benz GLA 200

Price: $55,100 (MRLP) + $9500 over outgoing GLA 180 

Utilising a 1.3-litre, turbocharged petrol four-cylinder engine making 120 kW and 250 Nm, the entry level GLA 200 sends its power to the front wheels via a seven-speed dual clutch automatic.

It comes equipped with ARTICO faux-leather upholstery, keyless go, climate control, satellite navigation, reversing camera, Apple CarPlay and Google Android smartphone integration, plus wireless charging for compatible devices. 

Other standard features include 64-colour ambient lighting, rain-sensing wipers, DAB+ digital radio, active parking assist, adaptive high beam assist, LED fixed headlights, and 19-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels.

Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 4MATIC

Price: $66,500 (MRLP) + $3500 over outgoing GLA 250  

Powered by a 2.0-litre, turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine making 165kW/350 Nm, the GLA 250 4MATIC drive all four wheels via an eight-speed auto dual clutch automatic.

On top of the GLA 200’s standard features, the GLA 250 gets a panoramic electric sunroof, heated electric front seats with memory, lowered comfort suspension and sports steering, off-road engineering package, remote engine start via the Mercedes me Connect app, and 19-inch alloys.

Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 4MATIC

Price: $82,935 (MRLP)

A new addition to the range and the first of two GLA performance variants, the GLA 35 4MATIC builds on the sporty specification of the GLA 250 4MATIC, adding extra power and torque with a 2.0-litre turbocharged four outputting 225kW/400Nm, in conjunction with an AMG-enhanced eight-speed dual clutch automatic.

Other AMG-specific tweaks include sport seats in Lugano leather, a sports steering wheel in Nappa leather, speed-sensitive power steering, sports suspension and exhaust, high-performance brakes, AMG-specific bodywork, and 20-inch alloy wheels.

Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 S 4MATIC+

Price: $107,035 (MRLP) + $14,935 over outgoing GLA 45 AMG

The range-topping GLA 45 S 4MATIC+ rounds out the high-performance offering, punching out an extraordinary 310kW/500 Nm from a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The feisty four pot drives through an eight-speed dual clutch automatic with RACE START, and 4MATIC+ all-wheel-drive.

Enhancements specific to the GLA 45 include an increase in top speed to 265km/h, performance steering wheel in microfibre, leather sports seats with contrasting top-stitching, a Burmester surround sound system, driving assistance package plus, active distance assist DISTRONIC (including front cross-traffic assist), lane change assist, route-based speed adaptation, parking package (including 360° camera), MULTIBEAM LED headlights, and AMG-specific body styling including roof-mounted spoiler lip and AMG rear apron with specific diffuser look.

Extra performance comes courtesy of an AMG exhaust system with twin tailpipes, an upgraded performance braking system, body shell stiffening, speed-sensitive electromechanical steering, and AMG-specific upgrades to suspension and under body components. 

Edition 1 package

GLA 200 = + $6990 over $55,100 MRLP 

GLA 250 4MATIC = + $5990 over $66,500 MRLP

Mercedes-Benz says an exclusive Edition 1 package can be added to the GLA 200 and GLA 250 4MATIC for a limited time. The package adds a mix of additional features and cosmetic enhancements including heated electric front seats with memory, comfort sports seats clad in black or red imitation leather and microfibre with contrasting top-stitching in red, carbon trim, and AMG floor mats.  

Externally, the Edition 1 is distinguished by an AMG body kit that includes front/rear aprons and side sill panels, chrome and black highlights including window tint, Edition badging, and 20-inch AMG multi-spoke alloy wheels in black with a red flange. 

Other features include MULTIBEAM LED headlights, panoramic glass electric sunroof, lowered comfort suspension and parking package with 360° camera.