The new Mercedes-Benz GLA: Added character, added space, added safety

The new GLA, the eighth model to join the line-up, rounds off the current compact car generation from Mercedes-Benz. At the same time it represents the entry level into the brand’s successful family of SUV models. The character has been significantly reinforced here compared with the previous model: the height of the new GLA, at 1611 millimetres, exceeds that of its predecessor by more than ten centimetres. The correspondingly higher and characteristic SUV seating position also comes with more headroom in the first row. Legroom in the rear is likewise much more generous – even though the GLA is now one and a half centimetres shorter. Typical off-road design features include the upright front section, short overhangs at the front and rear, and protective cladding all round. 4MATIC models feature the Off-Road Engineering Package as standard. This comprises an additional driving program, a downhill driving assist function and an off-road animation in the media display, along with, in combination with MULTIBEAM LED headlamps, a special light function for off-road driving.

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 km/h for stationary vehicles and pedestrians crossing the road ahead. Depending on the situation this even prevents collisions up to a speed of 50 km/h.

With powerful and efficient four-cylinder engines, the latest driving assistance systems with cooperative driver support, the MBUX infotainment system with intuitive operation as well as the comprehensive ENERGIZING comfort control, the new model has all the strengths of the current generation of compacts from Mercedes-Benz.

The new GLA is set to arrive at European dealerships in the spring of 2020.

Self-assured and dynamic: the exterior design

The GLA features powerful overall proportions with short overhangs front and rear. The front section flows over the A-pillar into the visually compact greenhouse. Suggested powerdomes in the bonnet, along with wheels up to 20 inches in size and mounted flush with the outer edge of the body, reinforce the self-assured appearance.

The clear contours, with reduced lines and accentuated planes, convey serene sportiness and modernity. Typical of the GLA are the powerful shoulders of the bodywork and the coupé-like lines of the side windows. This contoured side profile gives the car its dynamically elegant flair and offers an interesting play of light and shadows.

As in the case of the other Mercedes-Benz SUV models, the radiator grille features distinctive openings along with a single louvre and a central star. In hallmark brand style, the inside of the headlamps is finished to a high level of quality, detail and precision.

Contemporary and high-quality: the interior

The instrument panel consists of a basic volume, which features optical “cut-outs” in the driver and front passenger area. The cut-out on the driver’s side is dominated by the free-standing display unit, which is available in three variants: with two 7-inch displays (17.78 cm), with one 7- and one 10.25-inch display (26 cm) and, in the Widescreen version, with two 10.25-inch displays. On the passenger side, the cut-out area is finished with a trim element.

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 (Mercedes-Benz User Experience). MBUX can be individually configured with the aid of a range of options. The powerful computer, brilliant screens and graphics, customisable presentation, full-colour head-up display, navigation with augmented reality, learning software, and voice control activated with the prompt ”Hey Mercedes” are the key advantages of the system.

Keeping an eye on the surrounding traffic: the driving assistance systems

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.

The Driving Assistance Package (optional equipment varying according to country and equipment level) includes:

  • Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC with the functions: braking for stationary vehicles, extended automatic restarting in tailbacks in conjunction with Active Parking Assist and navigation, activation of ”Gliding” in the ECO drive mode.
  • Active Steer Assist with the functions: Active Emergency Braking Assist – with automatic unlocking and placement of an SOS call to the Mercedes-Benz emergency call centre after the vehicle has come to a stop (depending on country), Active Lane Change Assist in conjunction with navigation and Emergency lane function: in motorway tailbacks at speeds below 60 km/h.
  • Active Speed Limit Assist with reaction to changes in speed limits in conjunction with Traffic Sign Assist.
  • Route-based speed adjustment when approaching bends, roundabouts, toll stations, T-junctions and before leaving motorways/expressways – reduction of vehicle speed when encountering the end of a tailback, in conjunction with navigation.
  • Evasive Steering Assist.

More traction when needed: 4MATIC all-wheel drive

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.

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