Next GLA tar­gets younger set

Mercedes re­vises its pop­u­lar and ver­sa­tile GLA com­pact SUV

The Star Early Edition - - MOTORING - DE­NIS DROPPA

Mo­tor­ing Ed­i­tor

MERCEDES-Benz has ush­ered in the new year with a midlife update to its GLA com­pact SUV.

Un­veiled at this week’s Detroit mo­tor show, the line up gets a larger range of en­gines along with up­dated in­te­rior and ex­te­rior styling and tweaked equip­ment lines.

Launched in 2013 as the SUV ver­sion of the A-Class, the GLA has at­tracted younger Benz cus­tomers with its sporty de­sign and dy­namic han­dling. For 2017 it gets mod­i­fied bumpers, new light-al­loy wheels and the ad­di­tion of a new colour called Canyon Beige, while the pre­vi­ous op­tional bi-xenon head­lamps are re­placed by LED head­lights.

Nu­mer­ous small aero­dy­namic tweaks have im­proved the GLA’s drag co­ef­fi­cient from 0.29 to 0.28, lead­ing to im­proved fuel con­sump­tion and low­ered wind noise.

In­side, the GLA be­comes the first ve­hi­cle in its class to adopt a 360-de­gree cam­era, which as­sists in park­ing by record­ing the sur­round­ings of the car with four ex­ter­nal cam­eras and show­ing them on the cock­pit me­dia dis­play. It in­cludes a bird’s-eye view, which is just the thing for pass­ing your K53 par­al­lel-park­ing test.

The cabin of the GLA has been en­hanced with new seat cov­ers and trim parts, along with new chromed switches to cre­ate a more lux­u­ri­ous vibe.

The free-stand­ing 20.3cm me­dia dis­play is fa­mil­iarly slim and eas­ily leg­i­ble, as are the new di­als with red nee­dles.

As be­fore the GLA range is avail­able in sev­eral petrol and diesel ver­sions and in front-wheel-drive and 4Matic all-wheel-drive va­ri­eties. A new ad­di­tion to the petrol range is the GLA 220 4Matic. With an out­put of 135kW and 300Nm of torque, this model plugs the gap be­tween the two petrol en­gines with 115kW and 155kW.

The range-top­ping Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 4Matic re­tains its high-pow­ered 2-litre petrol turbo with out­puts of 280kW and 475Nm, but the AMG Speed­shift DCT 7-speed sports trans­mis­sion gets shorter ra­tios in gears three to seven for op­ti­mised roll-on ac­cel­er­a­tion. To­gether with op­ti­mised re­sponse and shift times, the closer ra­tio spread en­sures bet­ter tran­si­tions when up­shift­ing.

A restyled front apron and lip on the roof spoiler has also im­proved the wind re­sis­tance of this all-wheel-drive flag­ship. Top speed of the GLA 45 is gov­erned to 250km/h (270km/h with the op­tional AMG Driver‘s Pack­age), while the 0-100km/h sprint takes just 4.4 sec­onds, ac­cord­ing to Mercedes.

The GLA 45 will now also be of­fered as a spe­cial Yel­low Night Edi­tion fea­tur­ing styling tweaks and ad­di­tional equip­ment. It’s fin­ished in black with matt grey and yel­low de­tail­ing, with light-al­loy wheels avail­able in matt black with yel­low. The in­te­rior also adopts yel­low high­lights.

The GLA range is of­fered in a choice of three chas­sis vari­ants is of­fered: stan­dard com­fort sus­pen­sion; low­ered sus­pen­sion op­tion­ally avail­able in con­junc­tion with the AMG Line or the Dy­namic Han­dling pack­age; and op­tional of­froad com­fort sus­pen­sion raised by 30mm.

The re­vised GLA range is due in SA in the sec­ond quar­ter of this year.

New bumpers, al­loy wheels and LED head­lights iden­tify new GLA. Pic­tured is the Canyon Beige edi­tion, new for 2017.

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