Presented in 2013 for the first time, the GLA was introduced as a new compact SUV range to the A-class Mercedes line-up. Becoming considerably popular in China, USA, Germany and Great Britain, the manufacturer has made quite an impact as the GLA proves relatively small from the outside, yet is spacious in design. Combined with the versatility of the model on any terrain, it is understandable that Mercedes have sold over 2 million if these models. Four years after the first GLA was launched, what can you expect from the new GLA facelift? Is it worth it and has the GLA range undergone considerable changes?
Mercedes-Benz themselves state that the new GLA was designed as a “Pulse of the new generation”. With hashtags like “#Growupyourownway, #Growup and #MercedesMe”, it is easy to see which market the brand effectively targets. With the integration of new infotainment and phone based applications, the new GLA becomes not just a car, but rather a relationship with the owner. Exactly what millennials want. So how does the new range do this?
Firstly, the MercedesMe application allows the user to be more connected to their vehicle than ever before. The application carries out functions like remote engine start, automatic climate control, maintenance, remote car lock, locate vehicle, roadside assistance, service booking and numerous other functions. With Mercedes Me, the user will have complete control with just the use of a phone.
The German manufacturer also boasts with no less than seven models in the SUV range. The GLA, GLC, GLE coupe, GLS and G all cater to the exact needs of every customer. Even the GLA itself has the largest variant of engines available and customers can choose from a GLA 200d (100kW) up to the 280 kW Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 4Matic.
Lastly, the GLA range also boasts to be the only model in this specific market that features a 360-degree camera.
And that’s not all…
The new GLA range also has three different chassis variants. These are the standard comfort suspension, the lowered suspension, and an off-road comfort suspension (30 mm more ground clearance).
The previous xenon headlamps have also been replaced with soft LED headlamps. These lamps compliment daylight colour temperatures and thus relieve strain on the eyes of the user and oncoming traffic. The lifespan has also been increased significantly, which makes it no longer necessary to change a bulb during the whole lifetime of the car.
The GLA is also fitted with “Active Brake Assist” and “Attention Assist”. These come standard and definitely proves effective as it helps the driver to keep safe, should the person struggle to brake too late or show signs of drowsiness. The steering wheel will start to vibrate, keeping the driver awake (almost like an Xbox or Playstation controller).
Another new feature to mention is also the “Hands-free access” helping the user to open the boot just with the wave of a foot at the rear of the car. A very helpful feature for that ‘young’ parent with their hands full.
Firstly, let’s quickly talk about the 360-degree camera. On the 8-inch infotainment system, a seven-split screen will showcase the surrounds of the car. It even gives you a virtual top view of the car and the area.
Inside, each of the models feels very exclusive. With quality materials, interesting designs and very comfortable seats, the chrome control panel feels young and vibrant, yet also appealing to older generations.
A new feature is also the electronic seat adjustments, positioned on the doors rather than the seats itself, making it easier to adjust.
On the road, the cabin feels comfortable, with little road noise as well as comfortable and light steering. Cabin space at the rear is also a lot more than previous models. The average 1.7 m tall person will comfortably sit in the rear.
What about speed?
Before we get to the “fast” option, let’s quickly look at the price. The GLA range starts with the 200 model at a relatively good N$485 400, with the GLA 250 4Matic costing N$654 700. In the diesel variants, the GLA 200d costs N$513 000, with the GLA 220d 4Matic coming in at N$592 500.
If you do, however, prefer a bit of speed and that rumble in the exhaust, the range stops at the petrol driven AMG GLA 45 4 Matic. This model will set you back with N$856 700, but believe me, the price will be forgotten as soon as you put the right foot down.
The new AMG model comes in with a new air intake grille and new front splitters. This has been done for aerodynamic results as cool air will flow more easily to the radiator. The car will also feature 20-inch alloy rims. If this does not convince you that this is an AMG variant, just walk around and have a look at the rear roof spoiler.
In addition to the highly successful AMG range, Mercedes has also added that they will make room for “Yellow Night Edition” in the A45 4Matic, CLA45 4Matic and the GLA45 4Matic. These additions will be painted night-black or cosmos black, with a combination of matt graphite grey and yellow applique sections.
Prices for this range will be as follow:
- A 45 4Matic Yellow Night Edition = N$105 000 + N$768 100
- CLA 45 4Matic Yellow Night Edition = N$105 000 + N$874 500
- GLA 45 4Matic Yellow Night Edition = N$105 000 + N$856 700
Climb into the car and you will have the same characteristics from the sister-GLA models, yet with a more sporty atmosphere.
Having 474 Nm, the 2.0 litre (4 cylinders) AMG 45 will take you from 0-100 km/h in an eye-watering 4.4 sec. Consisting of a DCT 7 speed sports transmission and an AMG DYNAMIC SELECT, you will definitely not find yourself being bored. With settings like Sport, Sport + and RACE, it is not really necessary to say anything else.
Not just for the young
In conclusion, it has to be said that the hashtag “#GrowUpYourOwnWay” is not solely focused on the millennial generation. Yes, the A-range is a lot more vibrant and carries a younger feeling, but it still retains that classic and comfortable feeling, fitting for every generation.
The new GLA comes in with multiple trend-setter technologies and add-ons, but it remains one of the most cost-effective purchase options in the small SUV segment.
Text: Franco Theron
Pictures: ©Mercedes-Benz / ©Mercedes-Benz Me /Galimoto Media