The Mercedes SUV range is one of the most all-encompassing around. From the old-school grit of the classic G-Class to the more modern charm and sophistication of the GLE and GLS, no stone has been left unturned in Stuttgart in the quest for SUV domination. At the compact end of the spectrum sits the GLA, first introduced in 2013. Four years down the line, and the original compact crossover is ready to hand over the baton to a new generation model, which this week broke cover at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show.
Available in three trim versions, each new GLA derivative gets a basic makeover inside and out. Modified bumpers and new wheel designs catch the eye from the front view whilst specially shaped taillights plus discreet side rear spoilers comprise the updated aero package at the rear.
Plump for the top of the range AMG GLA45 and the aggression gets cranked up a notch. A sharpened front section includes new air intake grilles, a front splitter insert in silver chrome plus accents in high-gloss black. A set of multi-spoke 20-inch AMG wheels are available in black or grey with a new diffuser insert and rehashed roof spoiler crowning the snappy rear end.
In standard spec, you’ll find new seat covers and chrome control panels adoring the interior. A slim-line 8-inch media display sits just below the various redesigned dials and gauges. The infotainment interface also grants access to a handy 360-degree camera that records and relays images to the driver. Meanwhile, rear seat passengers can make use of a hands-free cubbyhole that opens and closes with a simple swish of the foot.
In AMG spec, the GLA can be equipped with the Performance Studio Package. This adds an exclusive black body colour and matching light-alloy wheels together with florescent yellow highlights splashed across the front bumper, side skirts, rear diffuser and rear wing. The theme continues in the cabin with yellow trim on the door panels, sports seats, dashboard and steering wheel.
All three variants, including the FWD and AWD GLA250 plus the AMG GLA45, are powered by Mercedes’ 2.0 litre inline-4 cylinder turbo. A dose of the AMG treatment bestows the latter with 375bhp and 350 lb-ft of torque, a sizable increase on the 208bhp and 258lb-ft of the base model. In a sprint to 60mph, the AMG-powered GLA eats up just 4.3 seconds and hits the limiter at 155mph. Naturally, there’s an AMG-tweaked dual clutch 7-speed sport transmission on hand to help you rattle through the gears whilst the optional Performance Exhaust System amplifies the turbocharged tones of the 2.0 litre engine.
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA and Mercedes-AMG GLA45 hits showrooms globally this summer.