Described as Sports Utility Vehicle(SUV) of the future, the new GLA, which combines the key design values of Progression and Tradition, is an all-rounder with hallmark of Mercedes-Benz SUV genes, but more youthful, sculptural and full of subtle drama.
[dropcap]M[/dropcap]ercedes-Benz rounded off the extensive SUV portfolio with the introduction of the new GLA, which is now available in the Nigerian auto market, courtesy of the Authorized General Distributor of Mercedes-Benz vehicle in Nigeria, Weststar Associates Ltd.
The GLA-Class is the fourth of a total of five new compact models from Mercedes-Benz. It is progressive in design, serene in day-to-day motoring and has good off‑road capability, thereby interpreting the SUV segment in convincing style.
Lovers of the distinguished brand will appreciate the rear seat backrests that can, not only be folded down completely, but are also adjustable for angles if required. Due to the low loading sill and the wide tailgate which opens and closes automatically as an option, making the interior flexible and variable, the large luggage compartment (421 – 1235 litres) is well laid-out and can be loaded without difficulty.
The low greenhouse, raised vehicle body and large wheel arches give the GLA great appeal. The prominent and self-assured upright front end with a central star lends a muscular and superior impression to the GLA. Powerdomes structure the bonnet as sporty features, and the twin-louver grille accentuates the vehicle’s width. An impressive front aspect is ensured by the headlamps and LED daytime running lamps. This iconic Mercedes-Benz design feature has been developed further using trifunctional fibre-optics, and gives the vehicle its characteristic light signature. The front bumper features diamond-pattern grilles in front of the cooling air intakes. A simulated underguard at the front and contrasting dark-grey cladding all-round emphasize the SUV characteristics of the GLA. This cladding extends around the bottom edge of the vehicle like a frame and provides protection against stone impact.
A number of measures have also been taken to reduce wind noise in the GLA. These include a multi-level door sealing concept, additional sealing of the joint between the tailgate and the roof and side seals on the tailgate. Particularly rigid window frames prevent the airflow from pulling on the doors at higher speeds, and reduce vibrations. External noise has also been minimized by the low A-pillar step mentioned above and by exterior mirrors connected to the body by a stem.
The interior has a particularly high feel of quality that is achieved by the contours, and the choice and combinations of high-grade materials. The dashboard consists of an upper and lower section, allowing surface structures that are different in look and feel. Matt and glossy 3D geometries (graining) create an attractive light effect. The three-dimensional trim section of innovative membrane, aluminium, add modern touch to the interior. The matt satin finish of the wood trim further underscores the modern character and makes the surfaces particularly pleasant to the touch.
The large, free-standing display has a high-gloss display facing in piano-black and a flush-fitting surround in silver-shadow. A 3-spoke steering wheel with 12 function keys and a galvanized chrome clasp feature as standard. On request a sporty instrument cluster version with two tubes is available.
The wide choice of seat upholsteries in material (e.g. leather, fabric, fabric/leather) and colour combinations allows plenty of scope for individualization. Sports seats with integrated head restraints are available as an optional extra.
Its robust body structure and the variable interior concept guarantee plenty of recreational enjoyment. Rough terrain, loose ground, unsurfaced gradients – all of these are no problem for the GLA.
The GLA is optionally available with the new generation of 4MATIC all-wheel drive, featuring fully variable torque distribution. This all-wheel drive system excels with high traction reserves and outstanding agility, combined with superlative driving safety and energy efficiency. The components of the new 4MATIC include the power take-off to the rear axle, which is integrated into the 7G-DCT automated dual clutch transmission, and the rear-axle gear unit with integrated, hydraulically actuated multi-disc clutch. Additional benefits of this design are a lower system weight than is available from the competition and high efficiency.
Models with 4MATIC are equipped with DSR (Downhill Speed Regulation) and an off-road transmission mode as standard. DSR is activated by a control button in the centre console, and assists the driver on demanding downhill stretches by maintaining a slow, manually selected vehicle speed within the physical limits when negotiating downhill gradients. This is done with the help of the engine and transmission control systems, and by specific braking intervention.
With the GLA, yet another model series is set to become the leader in its segment with respect to aerodynamic efficiency. It has a Cd value of 0.29 with outstanding fuel consumption from around 60 km/h to 0.66 m2.
The GLA 180 features a four cylinder engine with a 1.6 litre engine delivering 80kW and 260Nm of torque and is equipped with 7G-DCT. The GLA 45 AMG still holds the pole position in relations to driving dynamics: it accelerates from 0 to 100km/h in 4.8 seconds and reaches a top speed of 250km/h. We sum up this approach in one word: BlueEFFICIENCY, which means with the GLA you are only burning fuel when necessary. In addition, every GLA is fitted standard with ECO start/stop function- it temporarily shuts down the engine when the vehicle is stationary.
The latest multimedia generation deployed in the GLA also boasts new functions and additional applications, which are optional. In combination with Audio 20 CD (standard) and COMAND Online (optional extra) which has also been extended, the head unit can also be switched to an off-road display. The steering angle, the selected off-road transmission mode and a compass are displayed there. The roll angle in degrees, the gradient in percent and activation of Downhill Speed Regulation DSR are also indicated.
Numerous driving assistance systems offer support in the GLA and reduce the driver’s workload. Standard-fit features for the SUV include ATTENTION ASSIST drowsiness detection and radar-based COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST with adaptive Brake Assist, which now helps to avoid collisions from a speed as low as 7 km/h.
As an SUV, the new GLA combines the key design values of Progression and Tradition, and is the SUV of the future. It is an all-rounder with hallmark Mercedes-Benz SUV genes, but more youthful, sculptural and full of subtle drama.