It is Mercedes-Benz latest compact car model launched here, finding its place in the brand’s successful range of Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV) sold in Singapore. The character has been significantly reinforced compared with the previous model: With a height of 1611 millimetres (1616 with roof rails), the new GLA is more than ten centimetres higher than its predecessor. 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 oneand-a-half centimetres shorter. Hallmark off-road design features include the upright front section, short overhangs at the front and rear, and protective cladding all round.
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. At typical city speeds the system is also able to brake for stationary vehicles and crossing pedestrians, and avoid collisions depending on the situation.
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 GLA boasts excellent aerodynamic efficiency with a Cd figure from 0.28.
Self-assured and dynamic: the exterior design
The GLA features powerful overall proportions with short overhangs at the 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. 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.
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 (and thus also the occupants’ trousers) 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. The makes it possible to open the load compartment wider, thus also making loading easier. It has the added effect of making the rear end appear wider. Further practical details, which may be optional depending on the equipment line, include the integrated roof rails and the chrome-plated load sill protection.
Contemporary and high-quality: the interior
The dashboard 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 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). It can be activated by intelligent voice control LINGUATRONIC with natural speech recoginition, using the keyword “Hey Mercedes” and facilicated through the Widescreen Cockpit which is a combination of the fully digital instrument display and media display measuring 10.25-inch each. The powerful computer, brilliant screens and graphics, customisable presentation, full-color head-up display (optional) and learning software are the key advantages of the system. The MBUX can also be complemented with expanded functions such as personalisation (profiles) and predictive functions.
Significantly enhanced: the interior dimensions and the functionality
Although shorter than its predecessor on the outside, the new GLA offers a more spacious interior. This particularly benefits legroom in the rear and the luggage compartment.
The seating position for both the driver and the front passenger is higher and more upright than in the preceding model, and thus more typical of an SUV. The driver and front passenger are seated 97 mm higher than before. Compared to the A-Class the difference is 140 mm, and to the B-Class 52 mm. All-round visibility has also been improved compared to the preceding model – partly thanks to optimised roof pillar cross-sections, which obscure less of the surroundings.
Utility value was one of the general focuses during development. The rear seat backrest is 40:20:40 split-folding. As a standard equipment for the Singapore market, the GLA comes with rear-seat adjustability – allowing the backrest to be set to seven different angles, and the ability for the rear seat unit to be moved fore-and-aft by 14 centimeters. This allows for better space management for cargo loading, and gives passengers a more configurable seating position for greater overall comfort.
The height-adjustable load floor, which comes as standard, offers considerable variability. When the rear seat backrests are folded down and the load floor is in the upper position, an almost flat loading area extending to the front seats can be created. For very bulky objects, the load floor can be put in the lower position, the cross-member behind the rear seats can be removed and the rear seats with optional fore/aft adjustment can be moved forward.
Keeping an eye on the surrounding traffic: the driving assistance systems
The GLA has driving assistance systems with cooperative driver support. The latest functions of the Driving Assistance Package include the cornering function, the emergency lane function, the exit warning function and a warning when pedestrians are detected in the area of zebra crossings.
The Driving Assistance Package (optional equipment varying according to country and equipment level) includes:
Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC with the functions: o braking for stationary vehicles, o extended, automatic moving off in a tailback in conjunction with Active Parking Assist and navigation, o activation of “gliding” in the ECO drive mode,
Active Steer Assist with the functions: o Active Emergency Braking Assist o Emergency lane function: in motorway tailbacks at speeds below 60 km/h,
Route-based speed adjustment ahead of bends, roundabouts, T-junctions and before joining/exiting motorways, expressways – reduction of vehicle speed when approaching the end of a tailback, in conjunction with navigation,
Evasive Steering Assist,
Active Lane Keeping Assist,
Active Blind Spot Assist,
Active Brake Assist with turning manoeuvre and cross-traffic function,
PRE-SAFE® PLUS: can detect a potential rear impact. If the danger of a collision persists, the system can also firmly apply the brakes of the stationary vehicle, minimising the risk of whiplash injuries by reducing the forward jolt caused by an impact from the rear.
Even in its purely indicative version, and at low speeds, Blind Spot Assist is able to warn of vehicles, including bicycles, in the danger area. When at a standstill and before the driver exits, it can give a visual warning in the exterior mirror that a vehicle or cyclist is passing in the critical area. If the driver uses the door handle at this moment, an additional acoustic warning sounds and the ambient lighting in the door (if specified) flashes red. The passing road user must be moving at a speed exceeding 7 km/h at the time. The exit warning function of Blind Spot Assist is available when the vehicle is stationary, and for up to three minutes after switching off the ignition. When on the move, Active Blind Spot Assist, which is part of the Driving Assistance Package, is also able to react to vehicles in the blind spot and in critical areas with active braking intervention.
Travel in more relaxed style: with ENERGIZING comfort control and ENERGIZING seat kinetics
ENERGIZING comfort control links together various comfort systems in the vehicle, using lighting and musical moods plus a number of massage options to deliver a wide range of feel-good programs.
The ENERGIZING comfort is further enhanced by the ENERGIZING seat kinetics. This system supports orthopaedically beneficial changes in seating posture by means of minute changes to the inclination of the seat cushions and backrest. ENERGIZING seat kinetics is available for the front seats in conjunction with allelectric seat adjustment with memory function.
Neat and clean: the new car wash function
The GLA has the car wash function already familiar from the GLS. With just one command, the exterior mirrors are folded in and the side windows and sliding sunroof closed. The information from the rain sensor is suppressed so that the windscreen wipers remain switched off in the car wash. The air conditioning system switches to air recirculation mode. If the vehicle has a 360° camera, its front image is switched on after a few seconds to assist entry 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 km/h.
Exceptional comfort on long journeys and plenty of driving enjoyment: the suspension
The new GLA has a MacPherson front suspension. The wheels are guided by control arms below each wheel centre, the MacPherson struts and two tie rods. The wishbone is forged from aluminium. This reduces both weight and unsprung masses. The steering knuckles are made of cast aluminium.
The GLA features a sophisticated four-link rear axle. The three transverse links and one trailing arm at each rear wheel are configured for maximum driving stability, ride quality and longitudinal/lateral dynamics. The rear axle is mounted on a subframe isolated from the body shell by rubber bushings so that fewer vibrations are transferred from the suspension to the body.
At 1605 and 1606 millimetres (front/rear), the track width is more than four centimetres wider than on the previous model.
Powerful and efficient: the engines
The new GLA places its trust in the four-cylinder petrol engines which were completely modernised for the new edition of the compact model series. In comparison to the previous generation, they are characterised by significantly increased specific outputs and by improved efficiency and emissions.
The new GLA offers more character, more space, more safety