Mercedes-Benz reveals its second-generation GLA, claiming the new crossover-style-hatchback offers greater everyday practicality with increased levels of accommodation and comfort, up-to-date connectivity and superior refinement than its 5-year-old predecessor.
Set for North American delivery in second-half 2020, the new Mercedes-Benz model is planned to be sold with a choice of engines similar to the existing fourth-generation A-class, although just two units are confirmed for now: a base turbocharged 1.3L 4-cyl. developing 161 hp in the front-wheel drive GLA200 and a turbocharged 2.0L producing 302 hp in an initial range-topping all-wheel drive GLA35 4Matic model engineered by Mercedes-Benz’s AMG performance-car division.
Further engine options, including a gasoline-electric plug-in hybrid drivetrain that mates a turbocharged 1.3L gasoline 4-cyl. and gearbox-mounted electric motor with a combined system output of 215 hp in a yet-to-be-announced front-wheel-drive GLA250e EQ Power model, will join the lineup next year.
Sighted undergoing pilot production by Wards during a recent visit to Mercedes-Benz’s Rastatt manufacturing plant in Germany, where U.S. versions of the GLA will be produced, the GLA250e EQ Power boasts the same 15.6-kWh lithium-ion battery as the recently introduced A250e EQ Power, providing it with a claimed electric-only range of over 40 miles (64 km) on the WLTP test cycle.
Stylistically, the new GLA builds on the foundations of its predecessor with a 5-door steel body whose ground clearance has been increased 0.4 in. (10 mm) to 5.6 ins. (142 mm).
The exterior combines fuller forms and smoother surfacing than the first-generation model launched in 2014 along with more rugged detailing than other compact Mercedes-Benz models in the form of plastic cladding within wheelarches and bumpers. Larger wheelhouses accommodate wheels ranging from 17 to 20 ins. in diameter.
At 173.6 ins. (4,409 mm) in length, 79.5 ins. (2,019 mm) in width and 63.4 ins. (1,610 mm) in height, the new GLA is 0.6 in. (15 mm) shorter and a scant 0.4 in. (0.1 mm) narrower but 4.1 ins. (104 mm) higher than the first-generation model.
Based on a second-generation version of Mercedes-Benz’s versatile MFA platform with a transversely mounted engine and either front- or all-wheel drive, it also adopts a larger footprint; the wheelbase is extended 1.2 ins. (30 mm) to 107 ins. (2,729 mm), while the tracks’ widths are up 1.8 ins. (45 mm) at 63.2 ins. (1,605 mm) both front and rear.
The interior of the ’20-model-year GLA (below, left) mirrors the look of other recent Mercedes-Benz models with an all-new dashboard featuring a freestanding digital display panel. It supports two 7.0-in. (17.8-cm) displays for the instruments and infotainment functions as standard, with a so-called widescreen version housing two 10.3-in. (26.2-cm) displays available as an option.
The displays are operated via Mercedes-Benz’s MBUX infotainment system, which includes both a touch function and a “Hey Mercedes” prompt for conversational voice inputs. Buyers also can specify a head-up display supporting multicolor graphics.
In a move Mercedes-Benz says is aimed at giving it a more genuine crossover feel, the front seats of the new GLA are positioned 5.5 ins. (140 mm) higher than those of the latest A-class hatchback and 2.0 ins. (51 mm) higher than in the B-class MPV sold in various markets. Despite this, there is an added 0.9 in. (23 mm) of front-seat headroom compared to the first-generation GLA.
As with the B-class and recently introduced GLB, buyers can option the new Mercedes-Benz model with a rear seat offering 5.5 ins. (140 mm) of fore-aft adjustment. So configured, the GLA offers up to 4.6 ins. (117 mm) more rear-seat legroom than before. Rear-seat elbow and shoulder room is extended 1.8 ins. (46 mm) and 1.7 ins. (43 mm), respectively.
Owing to the adoption of a rear-seat backrest that can be set at a steeper angle than before, cargo capacity is increased 0.5 cu.-ft. (14 L) to 15.4 cu.-ft. (436 L). To ease loading, the width of the hatchback aperture is increased 3.3 ins. (84 mm) to 50.1 ins. (1,273 mm).
As with other recent second-generation MFA platform-based compact models from Mercedes-Benz, the new GLA receives a suspension consisting of MacPherson struts up front and either a torsion beam or multi-link arrangement at the rear. Variable damping control is optional.
GLA models with 4Matic all-wheel drive can be ordered with an optional off-road package. While offering no increase in ride height, it includes an off-road headlamp function as well as an additional off-road drive mode with Downhill Speed Regulation at speeds from 2-11 mph (3-18 km/h).
In front-wheel-drive GLA200 guise with a standard 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox, the compact Mercedes-Benz crossover boasts a 0-62 mph (100 km/h) time of 8.7 seconds and 131 mph (211 km/h) along with combined fuel efficiency of 50.4 mpg (4.7 L/100 km) on the WLTP test cycle.
Official figures for the all-wheel-drive GLA35 4Matic, which runs an 8-speed dual-clutch gearbox as standard, point to a 0-62 mph time of 5.1 seconds, 155 mph (250 km/h) top speed and combined WLTP fuel consumption of 38.2 mpg (6.2 L/100 km).
As well as offering gasoline and gasoline-electric plug-in hybrid drivetrains, the second-generation GLA also forms the basis of a Volkswagen ID. 3-rivaling electric hatchback to be sold as the EQ A.