Story & photos by Randy S. Peregrino
AUTO Nation Group Inc., the country’s general distributor of Mercedes-Benz vehicles, finally brought in the updated version of the GLA compact crossover.
While the frame’s dynamic character profiles were retained, this current generation offers redesigned adornments inside and out. For the most part, new exterior trims provided the new invigorating look along with several cabin upgrades.
There are two available variants being offered—the GLA 180 Urban and GLA 200 AMG lines. Exterior-wise, both options highlight the renewed grille design with two perforated louvres painted in matt iridium silver with high-gloss chrome inserts, matte-black beltline trim strip and front/rear bumpers simulated under guards.Moreover, there are the twin exhaust system with chrome plated tailpipe trim integrated into the bumper, chrome load sill guard and anodized aluminum roof rails. Those headlights now are in full LED along with the taillights with a new pattern.
Exclusive to the top spec are the AMG body styling, such as the high-gloss chrome inserts in front splitter, side sill panels and rear apron trim. Also, the wheels are bigger with the AMG 5 spoke, light alloy wheels, painted titanium grey with a high-sheen finish wrapped in 235/45 R 19 tires. To possess sportier stance, the suspension is further lowered by 15 mm with Sports Direct Steer system. Front brake mechanisms are equipped with perforated rotors and calipers bearing “Mercedes Benz” lettering.
Inside, aside from the restyled center panel and enhanced instrument gauges, the 8 inch Comand infotainment with high-resolution display now has smartphone integration functions—both for iPhones and Android. Ease of operation can be accessed through the multifunction steering wheel, as well as on the center console. Other functions include the Linguatronic voice-control system, Bluetooth connectivity, read aloud function for SMS and audio streaming via Harman Kardon speakers. There’s also an optional 360° camera view, which provides a realistic view during parking and maneuvering along with a bird’s-eye view to view the surroundings.
As for the interior trims and materials, the GLA 180 sports seats are wrapped in Artico man made leather/Maringá fabric with contrasting topstitching and silver chrome air outlets (surround and cruciform nozzle). The GLA 200, on the other hand, have sports seats wrapped in Artico man-made leather/Dinamica microfiber with red topstitching, light aluminum trim with longitudinal grain, two tube instrument cluster (with silver back plate and red needles), and brushed stainless-steel sports pedals with rubber studs. Both versions have three spoke leather multifunction helm with perforations in the grip area, 12 control buttons and contrasting topstitching. But the AMG line have flattened lower section and red stitches.
Under the hood, both variants are fitted with a 1.6 liter turbocharged petrol engine. The GLA 180 has a reduced output of 122 hp at 5,000 rpm and 200 N-m of maximum torque at 1,250-4,000 rpm. The GLA 200, however, is generating more power with 156 hp at 5,300 rpm and 250 N-m of maximum torque in the same rpm range. These are coupled to a seven-speed dual clutch auto transmission with paddle shifters. Both are also endowed with Dynamic Select with four drive modes altering the engine/transmission/suspension/steering configurations plus an all wheel drive system (4MATIC) with separate off road configuration—adjusting the power delivery and the gear shifting for driving through moderate off road or rough terrains.
Among the long list of available safety and convenience features, there are several notable elements. Came in standard is the Active Brake Assist, which provides driver a visual warning when the frontal distance from another vehicle is inadequate. The function is also able to trigger autonomous braking if rear end collision is imminent when the driver fails to react. Next is the Attention Assist drowsiness detection system, which serves best on long trips and late night driving. It monitors the driver’s steering behavior to determine typical signs of drowsiness and severe loss of attention by providing visual and acoustic warnings. Then, there’s the Adaptive Brake control system through intelligent intervention in wet conditions keeping the brake discs dry. Brakes are applied automatically when the system senses the driver’s foot is removed abruptly from the accelerator pedal.
Other optional functions are Distance Pilot Distronic, which helps maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front through the system’s ability to apply autonomous braking when needed. Also, the Blind Spot Assist, which employs radar sensors to alert drivers of vehicle being detected on blind spots. And, of course, the Lane Keeping Assist that determines if the vehicle is moving out of lane at speeds 60 kilometer per hour and onward.
The GLA 180 Urban edition is priced at P2.79 million while the GLA 200 AMG is being offered at P3.09 million.
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