Mercedes has given the AMG versions of its refreshed GLA and GLB more power
It's GLA and GLB facelift time. Whip out the magnifying glass for the hardest game of spot-the-difference
Mercedes has made some changes to both the GLA and GLB, and it hasn't forgotten the AMG versions of either, although the exterior alterations are so minor you'd have to really get your geek on to spot them. Engine upgrades integrate more electric power, though, and the interior changes focus on tech updates. What a surprise.
Frankly, our dedication to plough through the umpteen pages of Merc-delivered dribble to deliver these key highlights deserves an award. (You’re welcome.) But we've boiled it down to this - visually, Merc reckons the non-AMG versions you can see below are now more ‘off-roady’. We’ll let you play ‘compare and contrast’.
Performance-wise, the petrol variants have been 'more' hybridised, with the GLA 250e PHEV increasing its electric motor output to 107bhp. It’s also now possible to charge the battery at speeds of up to 22kW on a DC charger, while electric-only range is in the ‘roughly 40-mile’ window.
The AMG engines now have separate belt-driven starter generators and an additional 48V motor on-board. Bringing hybrid output in the form of a temporary 10kW boost adds a whopping 14bhp to the existing 2.0-litre 4-pot turbo. There’s some new light-alloy wheels too, if you’re bothered.
Standard equipment across the ranges now includes LED headlights and comfort seats swathed in fake cow. There’s freestanding double-screen infotainment hardware, which can be optionally bigger. There’s also an additional USB-C port. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now wireless, or intend to be, "in the future". Sigh.
Those new screens feature the newest version of the MBUX infotainment system, with more customisation for how information is displayed. Initiation of the digital assistant with ‘Hey Mercedes’ isn’t necessary anymore and there’s been some serious work to finesse the artificial intelligence of the feature. That means, the system will apparently ‘learn’ and ‘remember’ when you want its help.
Initially for the German market (though with the inference that other markets and other languages will receive this feature in due course), the ‘Tourguide’ app offers travel information, based on your proximity to brown road signs — those near recreational and cultural areas and attractions.
Like the C-Class refresh, Dolby Atmos audio tuning has joined the optional Burmester sound system to pleasure your aural needs with high-fidelity goodness. And to get us thinking of our cars as extensions of our lounges, Mercedes Me Connect services bring gaming into the centre console. Currently, classic games such as Sudoku, Shuffle Puck, Pairs and Match 3 as well as a quiz are available. Something else for the kids to argue about?
There’s also an updated driver assist suite. Trailer Manoeuvring Assist uses the optional 360-camera parking package to make parking with a tow less burdensome. Merc says it has tailored the driver assist features available based on ‘real customer data’ so it’s clearly monitoring what functions prove most practical... and make more moolah.
Changes to the AMG GLA and AMG GLB are about the same, though if your palms aren’t sweating from the sheer power of that AMG performance, you’ll be delighted to hear that those models get a heated steering wheel for the very first time.
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