Mercedes has revealed the third – and final – variant of its A-Class chassis: this is the new GLA, and it’s the first ever compact SUV Mercedes – provided you don’t count the GLK, which we’re not because it doesn’t come to the UK .
Anyway, following the new A-Class and CLA, this diddy SUV weighs in with around the same proportions as BMW’s X1, though the Merc is a touch lower and wider, and completes Mercedes’ SUV catalogue (it’s got the GL, ML and G-Class as siblings, don’t forget).
So, underneath sits the A-Class platform – MacPherson front axle and multil-ink independent rear suspension – together with electromechanical power steering, and optional full-time four-wheel-drive (Merc’s 4Matic system). Torque is said to be fully variable between both front and rear axles, and we’re told this 4×4 gubbins is a lighter system than its competitors. The body’s also very stiff, which should help you if the Red Stig Mist descends.
You’ll get a choice of three engines in four guises – a 1.6-litre petrol with 156bhp in the GLA 200, a 2.0-litre four-pot in the GLA 250 producing 211bhp, and a 2.1-litre diesel, with 136bhp in the GLA 200 CDI, or 170bhp in the GLA 220 CDI.
Obviously, you want to know about the quickest one of the lot: no AMG has been announced as yet (but expect one to follow shortly, with, we’d guess the A45 AMG’s 355bhp turbo four and the promise of 0-60mph in around five seconds flat), so the top dog on launch is the GLA 250 4Matic. That car accelerates from 0-100km/h in 6.5 seconds – as quick as a Focus ST – and hits a top speed of 233 km/h. Though with your Captain Sensible hat on, you’ll be interested in the GLA 200 CDI, which returns a claimed 3.58l/100km . Heavens, that’s actually impressive.
As ever, that body is coated in aero flourishes like the low A-pillar step, the streamlined rear end, the aerodynamically shaped tail lights, seals in the front bumper and shutters in the radiator, underbody paneling and even a diffuser. Inside, there is talk of matte and glossy graining, 3D trim sections in aluminium, that free-standing display, sports seats, and soft surfaces. That’s luggzury.
As ever, Mercedes has thrown an army of electronic assistants at the GLA that, should they become self-aware, will likely demand your clothes, boots and your motorcycle. There’s attention assist, collision prevention assist, blind spot warning and lane keeping assist, lane tracking, active parking and adaptive high beam assist. There’s also a method of integrating your iPhone into the GLA, so the world and its dog will be able to see your interesting music library. Better start deleting that Keane album now…