“2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA250”
An all-new 5-passenger, 5-door compact SUV
Mercedes-Benz enters the compact SUV arena for the first time with its all-new 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 lineup which will be available in three forms: the base model GLA250 in Front-Wheel Drive, starting at $31,300; the GLA250 4MATIC- the first application of Mercedes’ new generation all-wheel drive system with fully variable torque distribution which begins at $33,300; and the flagship GLA45 AMG which also comes in the new 4MATIC drive configuration and begins at $48,300.
Power for all GLA250 four-door, 5-passenger SUV models is delivered by a 2.0-liter, turbocharged, inline four-cylinder with Direct Injection and Eco-Start/Stop. Horsepower for the first two GLA250 models, which feature a roller-type rocker arm valvetrain. is 208 at 5,500 rpm along with 258 pound feet of torque in a range from 1,250 to 1,400 rpm. The GLA45 AMG produces 355 horsepower at 6,000 rpm while developing 332 pound feet of torque in a range from 2,250 to 5,000 rpm. The AMG engine features a Twin camshaft with low friction cam followers, and revs to a redline of 6,700 rpms compared to the maximum 6,500 rpms of the other two models. All GLA models deliver the engine’s motive force to the driving wheels via a 7-speed dual clutch automatic transmission. Engines are mounted forward.
The GLA250 FWD and 4MATIC ride on Sport suspension setups, while the GLA45 AMG features performance oriented AMG Sport tuned suspension componentry, with AMG 3 Stage ESP stability Control and high-performance tires. The latter GLA45 AMG also sits lower, with less ground clearance than it stable mates.
With the addition of the GLA series, Mercedes-Benz now offers the widest range of any premium European SUV manufacturer with five model series: GLA, GLK, ML, GL and G. The GLA Series represents an entry level or gateway SUV with Mercedes luxury appointments and ambience.
In terms of its visual appeal, the new GLA250 eliminates the boxy form generally associated with most SUVs. It delivers a sculpturally inspired image, with sleek lines that enhance its more youthful persona. Up front, the Mercedes star is prominently displayed in the center of the dual bar horizontal grille backed by a mesh treatment that is positioned above a wider, lower mesh patterned air intake with integrated fog lamps, flanked by frontal side-scoops. A smaller tri-star circular logo appears just ahead of the hood line. The cat-like headlamps are positioned outboard of the sculpted grille lines that flow into the dual power-domed hood.
In profile, the Mercedes-Benz GLA250 displays pronounced wheel arches and converging, lower character lines. The cabin or greenhouse, is gracefully arched with an integrated rear roof lip spoiler at the top of the rearward-sloping rearend and short overhang. The side glass showcases a tapered and upswept line just above the shoulder with blacked-out “B” and “C” pillars. Muscular shoulders over the rear axle further emphasize the inward taper of the C-pillars.
Combined with the divided taillights, the width of the rear end is emphasized by Its dramatic shape and visual unity, along with the curved rear window and sweeping chrome handle between the taillights.
Moving to the inside, the exterior’s muscular aura is continued throughout the interior. Trim surfaces are galvanized in silver-shadow, resulting in a metallic finish that provides a “cool-touch”. The dashboard consists of an upper and lower section, allowing surface structures that are different in look and feel. Matte and glossy 3D geometries (graining) create an attractive light effect. The three-dimensional trim section of aluminum or wood lends a modern touch to the interior. Five round air vents are integrated into the dashboard. As an exclusive GLA feature, the galvanized bezels around these circular vents echo the SUV-look of the skid plate and side sill panels.
A large, free-standing display features a high-gloss facing in piano-black and a flush-fitting surround in silver-shadow. A 3-spoke steering wheel with 12 function keys and a galvanized chrome clasp comes as standard fare. At rest, gauge needles are in the 6 o’clock position, with inlays in silver.
Available smart safety and advanced driver assistance systems are plentiful in the new GLA250, including: ESP; Attention Assist; Collision Prevention Assist Plus; Blind Spot Warning; Lane Keeping Assist; Adaptive Brake with Hill Start Assist, Brake Drying and Hold function, and Parktronic with Park Assist. Offroad features as standard on GLA250 4MATIC only, include: Downhill Speed Regulation, Offroad Drive Program and an Offroad Display.
The GLA boasts new functions and a modified graphic color scheme in the latest generation multimedia, along with connectivity service mbrace that provides users with a range of online and concierge services and apps all linking to smartphones for use inside and outside the car. By using cloud technology, mbrace is always up to date and offers users wide-ranging and flexible access to content.
My test 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 4MATIC wore an exterior coat of Cirrus White, with the interior executed in Beige MB-Tex and satin, light Brown Poplar wood trim accents. The base sticker read $33,300, while optional features and equipment including: the Poplar wood trim, AMG illuminated door sill plates, Parktronic with Park Assist, the Panorama sunroof, Bi-Xenon headlamps, 19-inch wheels, Driver Assistance Package, Blind Spot Assist, Distronic Plus, Lane Keeping Assist; and Destination and Delivery charge elevated the final tally to $41,200.
SUMMARY: The 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 4MATIC is one good-looking machine. It is sleek and sexy with its aerodynamic presence and stance. In fact, it may well be the best looking vehicle to come out of the Mercedes SUV stable. Okay, the AMG version is a little racier.
This 5-door, 5-passenger compact SUV may not come across as comfortable as some of its larger class siblings for those 6’4” and over, but it is certainly sure to win over the female gender with its just right sizing, maneuverability and economy.
The four-cylinder turbocharged four-banger delivers more than adequate acceleration, while maintaining an impressive fuel economy of 24-mpg city and 32 mpg highway. The electromechanical power steering delivers a positive feel and enhances the overall handling characteristics.
I missed not having a navigation program installed, and also not having a rearview camera. Entering the GLA250 necessitated using caution due to my height and the sharp “A” pillar angle and low roofline, but the sleekly designed and emotionally stirring exterior made it worth it.
While you wouldn’t want to go “rock-crawling”, the GLA250 4MATIC is a capable performer off-pavement or in less than desirable weather conditions.
All in all, the 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 4MATIC makes for a highly desirable compact SUV that incorporates luxuriousness for good measure, along with versatility and functionality.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2014 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 4MATIC
|Price as Tested:||$41,200.|
|Engine Type and Size:||2.0-liter, DOHC, 16-valve, turbocharged, inline four-cylinder with Direct Injection.|
|Horsepower (bhp):||208 @ 5,500 rpm|
|Torque (ft./ lbs.):||258 @ 1,250-4,000 rpm|
|Transmission:||7-speed DCT automatic.|
|Drive Train:||Front engine / 4MATIC Variable All Wheel Drive.|
Front – Sport MacPherson with spring strut and wishbone.
Rear – Independent with wishbones and control arms
|Brakes:||Power-assisted four-wheel discs, ABS, ESP and ASR.|
|Tires:||Continental ContiProContact 235/45 R19 95H M&S radial mounted on 5-geo-styled “V”-spoke machined face with painted center alloy wheels.|
|Length Overall:||173.9 inches|
|Curb Weight:||3,428 lbs.|
|Fuel Capacity:||14.8 gallons – with 1.6 gallon reserve.|
|EPA Mileage Estimates:||24 mpg city / 32 mpg hwy|
|Drag Coefficient:||Not listed.|
|0 – 60 mph:||7.1 seconds – Top speed electronically limited to 130 mph.|
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles as well.