The small sport-utility market is red hot these days, especially the luxury segment, making the timing of Mercedes-Benz North American debut of its newly redesigned GLA line-up in Detroit just about perfect.
Introduced in 2013, the GLA group gets an exterior makeover that gives it better aerodynamics and a sportier look, executives noted. The series comes in three versions: GLA 250, GLA 250 4Matic and the GLA45.
The GLA 250 is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine putting out 208 horsepower and 258 ft-lb of torque. However, the GLA 45 also gets a 2.0-liter inline four with a turbo, but it’s handcrafted by the folks at AMG. The result? 375 hp and 350 ft-lb of torque.
The 250 will do 0 to 60 mph in 7.2, also available in the 4matic with variable rate all-wheel drive, it’ll shave a tenth of a second off that time at 7.1 seconds. Again, the real beast is the AMG-powered inline four: 4.3 seconds for zero to 60 with a top speed of 155 mph.
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While prime performance is expected by Mercedes buyers, interiors must pass the discerning eye of those buyers as well. The interior of the GLA is produced with high-quality materials and excellent workmanship, the maker notes, adding it’s enhanced by new seat covers and trim parts as well as chromed control panels.
The free-standing 8-inch media display is slim and is easily legible, as are the new gauges with red needles. The controls for switches on the electric seat adjustment in the doors have been given small yet effective highlights in silver chrome — and the stowage compartment in the center console is also surrounded by a chrome frame. In addition, the air conditioning vent rings are more strongly accentuated and thus underscore the harmonious SUV touch in the interior.
However, the GLA 45 gets a few extra interior tweaks. The dashboard is covered as standard with MB-Tex and has been given exclusive highlights with red contrast topstitching.
The generously sized trim covers virtually the entire width of the car: its fundamental structure is printed matte with a high-gloss surface and it bears AMG lettering. It is available in black/red (standard) or in black/silver depending on the choice of upholstery.
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The instrument cluster has been given a new number design, new gauge needles with a black needle center and the chrome frame around the gear also ensure a sporty cockpit experience, Mercedes notes.
Looking good and high performance are pillars of the Mercedes experience, but safety is crucial to its reputation as a luxury and performance leader, especially in its smaller line-up of SUVs. The GLA offers “Active Brake Assist” as standard: it warns the driver if there is not sufficient distance to the vehicle in front and if required, delivers situation-appropriate braking.
If the system detects that the driver is reacting too late, it initiates autonomous braking in order to prevent the collision or minimize the consequences. The GLA is also standard- equipped with “ATTENTION ASSIST,” which can detect typical signs of drowsiness via the steering behavior and warn the driver.
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Adding to that are the improvement of the bi-xenon headlights to the brighter and more focused LED headlamps “characterized by a color temperature similar to daylight.” No pricing details were released.
Tags: 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA debut, GLA 250, GLA 250 4Matic, GLA 45, Mercedes GLA models, Mercedes SUVs, Mercedes small SUVs, TheDetroitBureau.com., auto news, mercedes news, michael strong, new small Mercedes utes, thedetroitbureau