Mercedes-Benz GLA SUV gets a revamp
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Refresh has toughened up the last of the quartet
Mercedes-Benz has worked its way through the mid-life revamp process for each of the model lines built on its smallest platform.
The GLA is the last of the quartet to receive the refresh treatment following upgrades to the B-Class, A-Class and CLA. It's now arriving on New Zealand roads and it's easy to see the objectives with a new grille and bumper treatment plus a revised rear lower design which have been penned to toughen up the appearance of the GLA.
A 12-slot grille theme -- arranged in two groups of three either side of the three-pointed star emblem -- and three more in the lower garnish are the identifier for the GLA 180, GLA 220d and GLA 250 4Matic.
It's a new look that widens the separation between the GLA and the A-Class hatchback to align the GLA more closely with the SUV family tree of larger GLC, GLE and GLS models.
The external upgrade also includes an 18-inch five-spoke design in vanadium silver finish for the GLA 220d and a 20-inch AMG multi-spoke alloy wheel in Himalayas grey with a high-sheen rim flange on the GLA 45 4Matic model.
To put emphasis on this new positioning the Mercedes-Benz media launch for the updated GLA took journalists into the Canterbury hill country with some gravel driving and frosty highways.
The drive was a reminder the GLA line-up delivers four distinct levels of performance at neatly stepped price points.
Front-wheel-drive GLA 180 petrol and GLA 220d diesel versions are priced at $60,900 and $67,900 respectively and the progression to all-wheel-drive comes with GLA 250 4Matic which is $80,000 and the fully muscled GLA 45 AMG at $109,700.
At the entry point the GLA 180 provides a modern small-displacement (1.6-litre) direct injection turbo solution with 90kW of power and 200Nm of torque matched to the seven-speed dual clutch transmission for lively open-road response and impressive efficiency.
A diesel alternative has remained in the GLA family with the 220d model powered by the 2143cc four-cylinder diesel offering 130kW output and 350Nm of torque for a low consumption open-road performance.
At 250 4Matic level the GLA provides what would have been considered hot-hatch performance not long ago with a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine producing 155kW output and 350Nm of torque. There's a more sport-focused chassis tune as the Comfort suspension setting that's standard on front-drive models is swapped at 250 level for adaptive suspension damping, the direct steer system and 19-inch alloy wheels.
The upgraded 280kW tune for the 2.0-litre AMG powerhouse had already given the Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 rocketship a performance boost during 2016. It's growly turbocharged urgency and throttle-blipping gearshifts are only rivalled in the small SUV segment by the Audi RS Q3.
The finer detail of the GLA upgrade include some minor changes to the instrument layout and a larger 8.0-inch free-standing central TFT screen to operate the Comand functions and provide the rear camera image. There's new silver chrome detailing on the centre console and around the power seat adjustment controls on the front doors.
LED headlights are now standard across the range and Hands-Free Access -- which for the first time includes keyless access to the boot via a swipe of the foot under the rear bumper -- is standard on all models except the entry-level GLA 180.
The progression through the standard specification levels sees the GLA 180 equipped with nine airbags, Garmin Map Pilot Navigation, Keyless Start and Dynamic Select gearshift, shift paddles, reversing camera, Easy Pack powered tailgate and Comfort Suspension.
Additional features for the GLA 220d include roof rails, dual-zone air conditioning and power four-way driver's seat lumbar adjustment.
The GLA 250 4Matic gets an interior ambient light function, heated front seats with power adjustment, alarm system, adaptive damping suspension, a panorama sunroof, adaptive high-beam assist and 19-inch alloy wheels in matt black finish.
Additional equipment highlights of the GLA 45 are a Harmon Kardon 12-speaker audio system, AMG Dinamica microfibre trim, performance seats, AMG instrument cluster, sports pedals, nappa leather and Dinamica performance steering wheel and the addition of Distance Pilot Distronic cruise control, lane keeping assist and a three-stage Electronic Stability Programme.
The availability of option packages allow GLA 180 and GLA 220d customers to upgrade, to the $2990 spec with an electric sunroof and parking package with 360-degree camera, while the popular AMG Line option adds a $3190 pack that includes 19-inch alloy wheels, a flat-bottom nappa leather steering wheel, AMG exterior trim, sports seats with Red Cut leather and contrast stitching, dark tint privacy glass and high-gloss black exterior trim.
Accompanying the arrival of the revised GLA models are two special editions.
Exclusive to the Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 4Matic there is an optional Yellow Night Edition, which adds an AMG Aerodynamics Package, AMG Performance seats in Artico plus Dinamica microfibre with yellow topstitching, an AMG Performance steering wheel in full Dinamica microfibre with yellow top stitching, plus yellow cabin highlights.
2017 Mercedes Benz GLA line up
GLA 180 $60,900
GLA 220d $67,900
GLA 250 4Matic $80,000
AMG GLA 45 4Matic $109,700