The new GLA is the eighth model to join the line-up of the current compact car generation from Mercedes-Benz. It represents the entry level into the brand's successful family of SUV models. And there are quite a few changes that this new-gen model gets. The GLA features powerful overall proportions with short overhangs front and rear. The front section flows over the A-pillar into the compact greenhouse. The use of dynamic lines has reduced and the GLA now comes with coupe-like lines on the side windows. The radiator grille too features distinctive openings along with a single louvre and a central star. The side and rear views are characterised by the muscular shoulders of the vehicle. The doors reach over the sills, thereby on the one hand improving ease of access, while at the same time keeping the door frames free of dirt and improving impact protection in the event of a side collision. All-round protective cladding adds structure to the overall proportions and emphasises the vehicle's off-road character, as does the simulated underride guard at the front and rear.
The rear lights are in two parts, with the reflectors positioned separately in the bumper. There are massive changes made inside too. The driver's side is dominated by the free-standing display unit, which is available in three variants: with two 7-inch displays with one 7- and one 10.25-inch and, in the widescreen version, with two 10.25-inch displays.
The round ventilation outlets, five of them in all, feature a high-quality turbine look with meticulously designed air guidance vanes. The door centre panel flows seamlessly over into the armrest. The grab and assist handle has a tubular profile and runs horizontally like a railing.
Included as standard is the intuitively operated MBUX infotainment system. MBUX can be individually configured with the aid of a range of options. Although shorter than its predecessor on the outside, the new GLA offers a more spacious interior.
The GLA features the latest driving assistance systems, offering the driver cooperative support and so providing one of the highest standards of active safety in the compact car segment. The very latest functions of the Driving Assistance Package include, for example, the turning manoeuvre function, the emergency corridor function, the exit warning function, and a warning when pedestrians are detected near zebra crossings.
As the first model in its class to do so, the GLA features a car wash function, a familiar feature from its big brother, the GLS. With just one command, the exterior mirrors are folded in and the side windows and sliding roof closed. The information from the rain sensor is suppressed so that the windscreen wipers remain switched off in the car wash. The climate control switches to air-recirculation mode and, after a few seconds, the front image from the 360 degree camera (if fitted) is displayed in order to assist the driver when driving into the car wash. These settings are automatically deactivated when the driver drives out of the car wash and accelerates to a speed above 20 kmph.
The GLA can be equipped with the permanent all-wheel drive system 4MATIC with fully variable torque distribution as an option. 4MATIC components include the power take-off to the rear axle, which is integrated into the automated dual-clutch transmission, and the rear axle differential with an integrated multi-plate clutch. This comprises six plates (12 friction surfaces) with a carbon fibre coating and is capable of transmitting as much as 1000 newton metres of torque. Automatic adjustment is made for wear and tear.
This sporty all-wheel drive configuration allows the driver to use the DYNAMIC SELECT switch to influence the characteristics of 4MATIC. Three characteristic maps are available to control the all-wheel drive clutch, though the system responds flexibly to the current driving situation in any mode. In regular driving operation, the drive program Eco/Comfort is based on an 80:20 distribution (front axle:rear axle), while in Sport it is 70:30. In off-road mode, the all-wheel drive clutch acts as an inter-axle differential lock, with the basic distribution a balanced 50:50.
The new GLA is available with four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines which were completely modernised. In comparison to the previous generation, they're more efficient as also powerful. Mercedes-Benz has confirmed that a GLA with the plug-in hybrid drive system is already in the making.
The gateway to the petrol-model range is the M 282 with a displacement of 1.33 litres in the GLA 200. It puts out 161 bhp and there's 250 Nm of torque on offer. It can do a 0-100 kmph sprint in just 8.7 seconds. There is of course the 35 AMG which churns out 302 bhp and yes has a faster time from a standstill to 100 kmph which is 5.2 seconds.
The new GLA makes a further step in terms of safety courtesy of its driving assistance systems with cooperative driver support. The enhanced functions of the Driving Assistance Package include, for example, the turning manoeuvre function, the emergency corridor function, the exit warning function alerting the driver to approaching cyclists or vehicles, and a warning when pedestrians are detected near zebra crossings. The GLA is able to react when the driver doesn't. Active Brake Assist is charged in many situations with applying autonomous braking to avoid a collision or to reduce its severity. The system can also brake at a speed of up to approx. 60 kmph for stationary vehicles and pedestrians crossing the road ahead. Depending on the situation this even prevents collisions up to a speed of 50 kmph. The new GLA is set to arrive in European markets later in 2020. We of course expect the car to come to India as well and we hope to see it by the end of 2020.