2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Preview

Jeff Youngs | Aug 14, 2013
FAST FACTS
  • Compact, entry-level crossover SUV
  • Standard front-wheel drive (FWD)
  • Optional 4Matic 4-wheel drive (4WD)
  • Turbocharged 4-cylinder engine
  • Eco Start/Stop technology
  • Off-Road driving mode with 4Matic
  • On sale in fall of 2014

Introduction

The 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 and GLA250 4Matic models are compact crossover SUVs that slot into the luxury automaker's lineup below the GLK-Class. Smaller than the GLK, the GLA is designed primarily for use on pavement, though Mercedes says it can handle light off-roading on sand and loose dirt.

Exterior Features

Equipped with LED running lights, 18-inch aluminum wheels, and simulated front and rear skid plates, the new 2015 GLA-Class is longer than a Range Rover Evoque and is narrower and lower to the ground. Mercedes designers paid close attention to aerodynamic details with the intent of improving fuel efficiency and reducing wind noise, and the new GLA-Class is equipped with underbody panels to help smooth airflow beneath the SUV.

Interior Features

Mercedes strives for what it calls an "especially high-quality feel" to the new GLA's interior. The automaker claims that joints and gaps are precise, and points to galvanized metallic-finish interior trim surfaces that are cool to the touch as examples of designers' attention to detail.

The 2015 GLA250 is equipped with standard MB-Tex leatherette upholstery, an audio system with HD Radio and a USB port, Bluetooth connectivity, and mBrace2 telematics service. Full standard equipment details will be available closer to the SUV's arrival in showrooms in the fall of 2014.

Optional Features

Among the options planned for the GLA-Class, leather seats, upgraded interior trim, ambient interior lighting, panoramic sunroof, power liftgate, and a COMAND navigation system will be available at extra cost. Buyers will also be able to select 19-inch aluminum wheels, several safety technologies, 4Matic 4WD, and a Parktronic with Park Assist system that will steer the GLA into a parallel or perpendicular parking space while the driver operates the foot pedals.

Under the Hood

Every 2015 GLA-Class SUV will have a turbocharged and direct-injection, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine and a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The engine generates 208 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque, which is fed to the front wheels in the GLA250 and to all four wheels in the GLA250 4Matic. An Eco Start/Stop system shuts the engine off when idling at an intersection or in traffic in order to help conserve fuel.

According to Mercedes, the GLA250 4Matic accelerates to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds and can reach a top speed of 145 mph. The 4Matic 4WD system is a new, next-generation version equipped with variable torque management, Downhill Speed Regulation, and an Off-Road driving mode that appropriately regulates throttle response and transmission shift points. So equipped, Mercedes says the GLA can tackle a beach, dirt road, and loose dirt surfaces. Models with the COMAND navigation system display information pertaining to surface gradient, steering angle, and roll angle to assist the driver in traversing terrain.

The GLA also has a new electric steering system. It helps compensate for cross winds and road crowns, helps to reduce torque steer with FWD models, and automatically dials in correction when the SUV is braking on a variable surface, like a dry street with icy patches. Mercedes also says the GLA's steering can counter-steer when the SUV's driver oversteers in a corner to help maintain control.

Safety

Mercedes installs an Attention Assist drowsy driver detection system in every GLA-Class, as well as Collision Prevention Assist technology that includes Adaptive Brake Assist.

Buyers selecting the optional Driver Assistance package will get Collision Prevention Assist Plus, which includes an autonomous braking feature that works at speeds up to 124 mph. According to Mercedes, it also prevents the GLA from rear-ending a vehicle ahead at speeds up to 12 mph.

Blind Spot Assist and Lane Keeping Assist are also available for the GLA-Class. Mercedes will provide full safety feature details closer to when the SUV goes on sale.

Technology

The 2015 GLA-Class comes standard with mBrace2 telematics service. Currently, following an initial free trial period, Mercedes-Benz owners can choose to upgrade the Standard plan with mBrace Plus and/or Mercedes-Benz Apps.

The standard package includes several safety, security, convenience, and remote access features. The Plus package adds personal concierge services, real-time local traffic and weather, and safety features including Travel Zones and Speed Alert technologies. Mercedes-Benz Apps adds Internet connectivity, social media access, Google Local Search, and more.
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