Newly electrified updated Mercedes-Benz GLA comes out of hiding

One of only a handful of models seemingly not destined to be part of the mass 14 model reduction before 2030, Mercedes-Benz has taken the wraps off the facelift GLA in preparation of sales commencing later this year.

New face

Only in its second generation after debuting less than four years ago, the changes applied to the internally designated H247 GLA, on the outside, consist of a new front grille, slimmer headlights complete with the high performance LEDs as standard, a restyled front bumper and a tweaked bonnet resplendent with a pair of power domes.

At the rear, the updates are more discreet and consist of redesigned LED light clusters, a new bumper, alloy wheel sizes ranging from 17-inch up to optional 20-inches, and a new colour called Spectral Blue.

Facelift Mercedes-Benz GLA revealed
Even smaller changes have taken place at the rear. Image: Mercedes-Benz

While no mention was made of the AMG-fettled GLA 45 S, three-pointed star did disclose changes to the step-down GLA 35, namely a revised AMG front apron, the mentioned LED headlights, a tweaked Panamericana grille and a choice of three alloy wheel designs; a ten-spoke bi-colour matte black 19-inch and two 20-inch options with a five-spoke design in the same bi-colour matte black finish.

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Inside, the 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster comes as standard regardless of the trim level, though with a seven-inch MBUX infotainment system as the default.

The dual display, which swaps the latter for a 10.25-inch MBUX system, is however optional. Standard though is the new steering wheel, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, improved ambient lighting and standard type-C USB ports.

Facelift Mercedes-Benz GLA revealed
Dual 10.25-inch display remains an option. Image: Mercedes-Benz

As before, a Burmester surround sound system can be specified from the options list, along with a new heated front seat option on AMG Line derivatives only.

The standard seat option is a black Artico man-made fibre cut available in three colours on the step-up Progressive trim level, and four on the AMG Line.

Sole change on the GLA 35 is the standard fitting of the AMG Performance steering wheel and as an option, the AMG Performance seats. A brown-lime open pore wood option rounds the interior off.

Mercedes-AMG reveals tweaked GLA 35
Front characterised by a restyled AMG apron. Image: Mercedes-Benz

Electric or nothing

Up front, a 48-volt mild-hybrid system debuts as standard across the entire GLA range, including on the 35. As per Benz’s EQ Boost system, output increases by 10 kW for short spells.

Depending on the model, transmissions consist of a seven-speed or eight-speed dual clutch, with that of the 35 being the AMG optimised eight-speed Speedshift unit.

In terms of power, the standard GLA boasts four petrol engines, three turbodiesels and one plug-in hybrid. The range kicks-off with the 180 and 200 versions powered by the familiar 1.3-litre unit co-developed with the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance.

Mercedes-AMG reveals tweaked GLA 35
Similar to the standard GLA, the AMG 35’s change at the rear are comparatively small in relation to the front. Image: Mercedes-Benz

Excluding the added twist from the 48-volt system, the unit in GLA 180 delivers 100kW/230Nm and 120kW/270Nm in the GLA 200. No performance figures were revealed, although drive is routed to the front wheels only.

This changes in the step-up GLA 220 and GLA 250 however, both powered by Benz’s own 2.0-litre turbo and resplendent with the 4Matic all-wheel-drive system. In terms of grunt, the former produces 140kW/300Nm and the latter 165kW/350Nm.

On the diesel front, all three models feature the same 2.0-litre engine, but in different states of tune. In the front-wheel-drive only GLA 180d, the mill delivers 85kW/280N, which rises to 110kW/320Nm in the GLA 200d that can be optioned with the 4Matic system. In the top-spec GLA 220d 4Matic, outputs stand at 140kW/400Nm.

Mercedes-AMG reveals tweaked GLA 35
Interior changes modelled on those of the normal GLA. Image: Mercedes-Benz

Rounding the standard GLA range off is the plug-in hybrid 250e that combines the 1.3-litre engine with an 11.5-kWh battery pack driving an 80 kW electric motor. Combined, the setup delivers 160kW/450Nm, making it the most powerful non-AMG GLA model.

For its part though, the 2.0-litre turbo in the GLA 35 cranks out 225kW/400Nm, allowing for a limited top speed of 250 km/h and 0-100 km/h in 5.2 seconds. As before, drive is routed to all four wheels through the performance tuned 4Matic+ system.

Confirmation soon

Although still to be confirmed for South Africa, expect Mercedes-Benz South Africa to announce pricing of the GLA and AMG GLA 35 around the latter stages of the second quarter or early third quarter of this year.

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