There’s a tall tale behind the ground-up redesign for the Mercedes-Benz GLA
SINGAPORE — The new Mercedes GLA is now officially in Singapore, with an online launch at the brand’s Facebook page currently underway.
A ground-up redesign for the GLA means it has a shapely new body with more space inside, new engines and the latest touchscreen-based user interface from Mercedes.
Authorised dealer Cycle & Carriage is selling the GLA 200 in Progressive and AMG Line trims at S$176,888 and S$182,888 respectively. Both prices include certificate of entitlement.
More versions of the compact sport utility vehicle (SUV) are slated for Singapore, although with no specific timeframe yet. Cheaper, less powerful GLA 180 variants are coming, but the faster Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 4Matic and GLA 45 S 4Matic+ will likely arrive sooner.
The GLA 200 holds the fort for now with a 1.3-litre turbo engine. The new engine replaces a 1.6 turbo in the previous GLA 200, but it brings more power — 163 horsepower instead of 156hp. The 250 Newton-metre peak torque output is identical, but the new 1.3-litre has an overboost function that gives it around 20Nm of extra torque in short bursts.
As a result the GLA 200 is a wee bit quicker than before, reaching 100km/h in 8.7 seconds instead of 8.8. The main thing to note is that the shift from a 1.6 to 1.3 litre engine hasn’t slowed it down.
But the biggest change involves the car’s body. The GLA is actually slightly (14mm) shorter than before, and is Mercedes’ shortest car today, but it’s 30mm wider and a whopping 104mm taller. Mercedes says the seating position is much more SUV-like than in the previous model; the front passengers now sit 97mm higher than before.
The wheelbase is 30mm longer, which helps to create more legroom in the back. Curiously, front legroom and rear headroom are slightly down, but neither of those was tight in the last GLA.
Here’s a handy table for lazy journalists that sum up the dimensional changes:
Note the change in boot size, from 421 to 435 litres. What the table doesn’t show is that folding the rear seats bumps load capacity to 1,430 litres.
Raw numbers aside, the GLA has a useful new feature in the form of adjustable rear seats. They now slide fore-and-aft by 14cm, and the seatbacks are reclinable at seven different angles.
Elsewhere in the cabin you’ll notice the twin 10.25-inch widescreen setup that’s standard for the GLA in Singapore. The MBUX interface, including the voice control system activated by “Hey, Mercedes”, is also present and accounted for.
Other cabin features that have made it here from the GLA’s compact Merc siblings include LED lighting with 64 different colours, a simple massage-like programme that moves the front seats a little to soothe your spine, and turbine-like air-con vents that change colour when you fiddle with the temperature setting.
Features like that have helped Mercedes’ compact cars sell well. The cars built on the brand’s MFA2 front-drive platform — namely, the A-Class, B-Class, CLA, CLA Shooting Brake and the upcoming, seven-seat GLB — collectively found 667,000 buyers in 2019.
That means one-in-four cars that Mercedes sold last year was a compact model.
As for the GLA itself, Mercedes has sold more than million units since the model’s debut in 2014. Even without the increase in height, the GLA is a one car that stands tall in the Mercedes family.
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