It’s raining crossovers all over the world and no one wants to be left behind, even the big German manufacturers who have traditionally built large V8-engined Autobahn cruisers have decided to jump ship and create smaller cars. Among them is Mercedes-Benz who is currently selling the GLA crossover in the Indian market.
The GLA was first unveiled at the Shanghai Motor Show in concept form. The concept showcased many modern design cues that were to be carried onto future Mercedes-Benz cars. Thankfully, the production-spec GLA retained many of the design cues.
Rather than consider it a smaller version of any of the German automaker’s SUV, the GLA can be seen as a beefed up version of the A-Class hatchback. This is evident in the headlights, the C-pillar, the front fenders and the basic silhouette.
The fascia is a combination of the A-Class and the B-Class with the addition of the big air intake on the bumper with brushed aluminium surrounds. The bonnet is a lot bigger in proportion than the size of the car and it has the same busy design. The side profile is not SUV-like, the GLA is not a tall car and this is one angle which makes it look like an extra-large hatchback. Overall, the GLA is a striking looking crossover nonetheless.
Inside, it’s the all familiar Mercedes territory. The five rotary AC vents, tablet-like LCD display, the positions of the cup holders, 12V socket are all standard across cars based on the MFA platform. The colours here are either beige or black in line with the exterior and the main difference is the features list.
Standard luxury features include electrically adjustable front seats with memory function, navigation facility, engine start/stop function, seven airbags for safety, panoramic sunroof, rear armrest with bottle holders, ambient lighting and a nine-speaker Harman Kardon music system.
Engine and Gearbox
The GLA is available with both the petrol and diesel engines. Both use the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and send power to the front wheels only. Mercedes has decided not to offer the AWD option with the standard GLA. The latter is featured in the high performance GLA 45 AMG.
The petrol version is powered by the same 2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder unit that is used in the E-Class 200 CGI. It is good for 181bhp of power and 300Nm of torque. The diesel model, on the other hand, uses the familiar 2.2-litre unit delivering 134bhp and 300Nm of torque.
The GLA 45 AMG is powered by a 2-litre turbocharged petrol engine that has been tuned to produce around 340bhp of power and 450Nm of torque. This engine, too, is mated to the seven-speed dual clutch automatic transmission. The GLA 45 gets an AMG spec body kit, striking looking alloy wheels and a sportier cabin.
Price and Competition
Mercedes-Benz India is selling the GLA with prices ranging between Rs 32.75 lakh and Rs 69.60 lakh. The latter, of course, is for the high-performance fully imported GLA 45 AMG. The standard model, meanwhile, competes with other premium crossovers like the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and the Volvo V40 Cross Country.