New Mercedes GLA receives more tech, space and comfort

12 December 2019 - autocar

New Mercedes GLA receives more tech, space and comfort

Second-generation crossover sits between A-Class and seven-seat GLB; will go on sale in the spring

Mercedes-Benz has revealed the second-generation GLA, promising new technology and greater comfort to step up the pressure on the BMW X2 in the fast-growing compact crossover market.

The line-up at launch will include a hot AMG version, while plug-in hybrid and electric versions are planned for the future.

The original GLA was launched five years ago, and almost a million have been sold globally since then. As with its predecessor, the new model, due on sale in the UK in the second quarter of 2020, draws heavily on the closely related A-Class.

Its described by Mercedes-Benz CEO Ola Kallenius as being "Better in every respect, with more convenience, more safety and more efficiency".

The GLA will launch with the entry-level, front-wheel-drive GLA 200, using a 161bhp turbocharged 1.3-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, and the four-wheel-drive Mercedes-AMG GLA 35, powered by a 302bhp turbocharged 2.0-litre engine.

Further options will be introduced later in the year; Autocar understands these will include a 215bhp 1.3-litre petrol-electric plug-in hybrid badged the GLA 250e EQ Power. This will use the same 15.6kWh lithium ion battery as the A250e EQ Power, providing it with an official electric-only range of more than 40 miles.

Stylistically, the new GLA builds on the foundations of its predecessor, albeit with ground clearance raised by 9mm to 143mm. Design head Gordon Wagener claims it "combines muscular off-road genes with out philosophy of sensual purity".

The exterior combines smoother surfacing with more rugged detailing than other compact Mercedes models, including plastic cladding on the wheel arches and bumpers. Larger wheelhouses accommodate wheels ranging from 17in to 20in.

The AMG model gains a number of bespoke design features, including a Panamericana grille, a new roof spoiler and different tailpipes.

The new GLA is 4410mm long, 2020mm wide and 1611mm high, making it 14mm shorter and 2mm narrower but 104mm higher than the old model. It's based on the second-generation version of Mercedes' MFA platform, with a transverse engine mounting, and has its wheelbase extended by 30mm to 2729mm and its track increased by 46mm front and rear.

Inside, the new GLA is similar to other recent Mercedes models, featuring a dashboard with a free-standing digital display panel. This contains two 7.0in screens for the instruments and infotainment functions as standard, with a widescreen version using two 10.3in screens optional. The displays are operated via Mercedes' MBUX operating system, which supports both touchpad and voice control. A colour head-up display is also available.

To emphasise the crossover nature of the GLA, the front seats are positioned 140mm higher than in the A-Class. There's 22mm more head room up front than in the original GLA, but rear head room has been reduced by 6mm.

As with the B-Class and recently introduced GLB, buyers can specify the GLA with a rear seat offering 140mm of fore-and-aft adjustment, giving up to 116mm more leg room than before.

Because the rear backrest can now be set at a steeper angle, boot capacity has increased by 14 litres to 435 litres. The width of the boot aperture has also increased by 85mm at 1272mm.

As with other recent Mk2 MFA-based compact models, the GLA has suspension with McPherson struts up front and either a torsion beam or multi-link arrangement at the rear. Variable damping control is optional.

Four-wheel drive models can also be ordered with an off-road package. While offering no increase in ride height, this adds an off-road headlight function and an additional off-road driving mode called Downhill Speed Regulation.

The GLA 200, with a standard seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, can do 0-62mph in 8.7sec, hit a top speed of 131mph and achieve combined fuel consumption of 50.4mpg while emitting 129g/km of CO2.

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