Redesigned Mercedes-Benz GLA Debuts In Detroit

The Mercedes-Benz compact SUV, the GLA, has been refreshed with what the Stuttgart company calls an “expressive design.” The revamped GLA features updated equipment, both inside and out, and new safety features.

Oh, and there’s an AMG model too.

Outwardly, the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA has modified bumpers, new wheel designs, and the new color “Canyon Beige.” Also, you’ll notice that the previously-optional bi-xenon headlamps are gone, making way for more efficient LED headlamps.

The automaker officially revealed the new GLA at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan this week.

Interior Layout

The interior of the GLA has been reworked with high-quality materials as well as  new seat covers. There is a free-standing 8-inch media display and new gauges in the instrument panel with red needles. Also, there’s lots of chrome strewn hither and yon. The controls for the electric seat adjustments have highlights in silver chrome, and the stowage compartment in the center console is also surrounded by a chrome frame. There is also an optional Interior Package with standard sport seats aimed at the “particularly sporty customer.”

An exterior nicety is an appearance package that includes 19-inch AMG wheels, black window trim, exterior mirrors, roof rails, exhaust tips, and exterior accents. Mercedes-Benz calls this option “The Night Package.” Kind of hilarious.

There is a 360-degree camera available that can display a full-image depiction or in seven different split-screen views on the media display. The camera system can also make a virtual top view of the car to aid in getting in and out of tight parking spots.

It’s not all just cake decorating though.

Mercedes-Benz focused heavily on aerodynamics with the GLA, giving the vehicle solid flow characteristics that contribute to increased fuel economy and reduced road noise. Testing was done in a high-speed wind tunnel in Sindelfingen, Germany. One dynamic change is the low A- pillar step, corresponding A-pillar design, and the aerodynamically optimized exterior mirror housings. Furthermore, the trim on the main floor, additional trim in the center section of the rear axle, and even the rear silencer with a connected diffuser improve the flow of air beneath the vehicle. Photo: Mercedes-Benz USA.

Power & Performance

Now, in case you’re a gearhead (like us) and all this interior frewforaw leaves you cold, hold on, because they also make the AMG GLA45.

The AMG version of Mercedes’ little ute is provoked by a handcrafted 2.0L turbo engine. “Only two liters,” you moan? Shut up. The thing reels out 375 horsepower and 350 lb-ft. of torque, good enough for a time of zero to 60 mph in just 4.3 seconds. It’s also good enough to stop your whining. The little turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder mill has extremely fast throttle response thanks to the spray-guided Piezo direct injectors that are centrally located in the four combustion chambers.

The AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7- speed transmission includes shorter ratios in gears three to seven to emphasize acceleration. Together with optimized response and shift times, the closer ratio spread ensures better transitions, especially when upshifting. There is an optional AMG Performance Exhaust System for an even sportier exhaust note too. You can even vary the sound via a switch, which is especially nice under acceleration.

The standard all-wheel drive AMG Performance 4MATIC system provides traction in a variety of weather conditions. The technology transfers power to all the wheels as torque is distributed to the front and rear axle. This configuration is designed for an optimum ratio of sportiness, efficiency, and traction to match any driving situation. A multiple-disc clutch is integrated in the rear axle differential with AMG-specific control passes on the engine torque to the rear wheels, should the front wheels lose traction. The spectrum ranges from purely front-wheel drive to a 50:50 ratio for the front and rear wheels. Photo: Mercedes-Benz USA.

Appropriate Styling

The AMG variant also looks a little different, natch.

We expected as much . . .

The front section has been sharpened with the front bumper and given an even more dynamic shape. The new air intake grilles and front splitter insert in silver chrome plus flics (i.e. dive planes) in high-gloss black are other nice additions. The LED High Performance headlamps are now part of the standard AMG equipment.

The twin louver on the AMG Twin Blade radiator grille is now done in silver chrome, as are the inserts in the side sill panels. There are optional multi-spoke 20-inch light-alloy wheels available in two colors, matte black or painted titanium grey. Out back there’s a new diffuser, trimmed in silver chrome, plus a new spoiler lip on the roof.

Inside, the dash is covered with standard MB-Tex and has red contrast topstitching. The trim, extending over virtually the entire width of the car is, a high-gloss surface with AMG lettering available in black/red or in black/silver, depending on upholstery.

The 2018 GLA will go on sale in the United States this summer.

Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He means well, even if he has a bias towards lighter, agile cars rather than big engine muscle cars or family sedans.

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 Gallery

2018 Mercedes-AMG GLA45 Gallery

Photos & Source: Mercedes-Benz USA.

About The Author

Tony Borroz grew up in a sportscar oriented family, but sadly, it was British cars. His knuckles still show the marks of slipped Whitworth sockets, strains to reach rear upper shock bushings on Triumphs and slight burn marks from dealing with Lucas Electric "systems". He has written for a variety of car magazines and websites, Automoblog chief among them, as well as working on very popular driving games as a content expert. He has also worked for aerospace companies, software giants and as a movie stuntman. He currently lives in a secure, undisclosed location in the American southwestern desert.

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