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The baby of the Mercedes-Benz SUV lineup is the GLA and the German carmaker has just upgraded this model with numerous innovations and more extensive standard equipment. In the quest to further reduce consumption and emissions, the petrol engines in the new GLA are electrified throughout; the range includes four-cylinder units with seven or eight speed DCT dual-clutch transmissions as standard. The mild hybrids are equipped with an additional 48-volt onboard power supply for the belt driven starter generator; its briefly available additional power of 10 kW supports agility when starting or is used for quick boosting. The starter generator also increases comfort: in addition to low vibration and low noise engine starting, it also enables coasting with the combustion engine switched off. In addition, it recuperates during braking and acceleration processes and thus supplies the 12 volt onboard network as well as the 48 volt battery with electrical energy. For those who seek a fully electric compact SUV there is the EQA, which we tested last year. Diesel fans will be delighted to learn that the two litre four cylinder engine combines smooth running and superior power delivery with contemporary efficiency. It is available in three power and torque levels and its features include single stage turbocharging with variable turbine geometry. The cylinder head and crankcase are made of lightweight aluminium and the Nanoslide coating developed by Mercedes-Benz reduces friction between the cylinder wall and the steel piston; this reduces consumption and emissions.

To the looks department, and the new radiator grille with vertical louvres and horizontal fin enhances the powerful character; in addition, the bonnet with discreetly suggested power domes underlines the self-confident appearance and the redesigned front bumper with visual under ride protection points to the GLA’s off road genes. The modernised light signature in the standard LED high performance front headlights and the LED rear lights and there are an expended the range of options with the new Spectral Blue paint colour and four additional wheel designs.

In the basic trim, the new GLA stands on 17 inch five twin spoke alloy wheels in high gloss black with high-gloss turned surfaces. There is the option of 18 to 20 inch wheels; which gives the new vehicle more on the road stance. Improvements continue to the interior of the GLA; the free-standing double screen is one of the highlights of the significantly upgraded interior and it now includes a seven inch and a 10.25 inch display as standard for the instrument cluster and multimedia screen respectively. Two 10.25 inch wide screen displays are optionally available and they offer a holistic high tech experience and enhance the open plan architecture. The steering wheel of the current generation is upholstered in leather as standard; Artico imitation leather is available as an alternative and for the first time, a heated steering wheel rim is also available for the AMG Line; this will be welcomed by many as his feature is widely available across a variety of competitors

The new Mercedes-Benz GLA

The latest generation of MBUX, with newly designed display styles: while “Classic” provides all relevant driver information, “Sporty” has the dynamic rev counter while “Discreet” reduces the displays to the essential content. In combination with the three navigation, assistance and services modes plus the ten colour worlds of ambient light, there are numerous individualisation options. All previous functions such as media, phone, vehicle etc. are still available and they can be operated via the touch screen or the finger pads on the steering wheel. For entertainment on the move there is the optional Burmester surround sound system, in conjunction with the latest MBUX generation, which now features the immersive Dolby Atmos audio experience, which gives music more space, clarity and depth and this adapts to any playback environment, meaning you can listen to music with unparalleled clarity that matches the artist’s original vision from the studio. Just like the rest of the Mercedes-Benz range safety is foremost, an upgrade of the Driving Assistance package enables more comfortable control of the Lane Keeping Assist through the Active Steering Control. The next generation of the parking package also supports longitudinal parking and it offers 360-degree visualisation for camera-assisted parking. The Trailer Manoeuvring Assist is also available for the first time; facilitates reverse manoeuvring with camera support. The prerequisite is the trailer hitch with ESP trailer stabilisation in conjunction with the parking package with 360-degree camera. A very complete package sums up the latest version of the GLA and it faces a lot of competition in a very busy marketplace.

Ian Lynas

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