New 2020 Mercedes GLA arrives to tackle the BMW X2

The all-new Mercedes GLA compact SUV gets the latest A-Class tech and engines, plus a complete styling overhaul

This is the all-new Mercedes GLA: the latest – and smallest – addition to the brand’s exhaustive SUV family. When it goes on sale in the spring of 2020, it’ll take on the likes of the BMW X2 and Audi Q2.

But small though it is by the standards of the GLC, GLE and GLS, compared to its predecessor, the new GLA has morphed into a more SUV-appropriate shape. While the old model stood at 1,507mm tall – barely any higher than a standard hatchback – the new car’s roof has risen by 104mm. Combined with an overall length that’s dropped 14mm, the overall look is chunkier and more upright than before.

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While the recently-released GLB has a square, boxy stance, the GLA is a little softer around the edges – something that partly helps it to achieve a low aerodynamic drag figure of 0.28. Many design elements, particularly around the back, are reminiscent of the A-Class, while the headlights get a thicker, rounder look to separate them from the brand’s hatchback.

The AMG 35 model will be the hottest available from launch. It’s set apart from the rest of the range courtesy of more menacing front and rear bumpers, large twin tail pipes and wheels measuring up to 21 inches in diameter. 

Inside though, the dashboard design is lifted almost wholesale from the A-Class. That means there’s a modern dashboard design highlighted by three central bullet fan blade air vents sitting below a pair of digital displays.

The two screens, measuring 10.25-inches in top spec models, consisting of a fully customisable instrument panel ahead of the driver, which appears to seamlessly flow into a touchscreen infotainment system in the middle of the dash. Lesser models make use of two seven-inch screens instead.

The GLA’s new shape has helped interior accommodation, too. Rear legroom is the greatest improvement: now equipped with a sliding rear bench, occupants in the back have an extra 116mm to stretch into relative to the previous GLA.

Rear shoulder room is up 43mm, while the driving position is said to be higher than before, in order to give a more commanding view of the road ahead. Boot space is also up slightly; the 421-litre capacity is a 14-litre improvement. 

The engine lineup is shared with the A-Class family, and a plug-in hybrid version will join at a later date. From launch, the GLA 200 will be powered by a 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol. With 161bhp and 250Nm of torque, it’ll accelerate from 0-62mph in 8.7 seconds and emits 129g/km of CO2 according to the NEDC testing procedure. The AMG-tweaked GLA 35 deploys its 302bhp through all four wheels, firing it towards a 5.1 second 0-62mph time.

Four-wheel drive will be available in the non-AMG range, too, where an optional variable torque distribution should aid on- and off-road driving. The driver can adjust the balance based on the driving mode selected: Eco and Comfort modes offer an 80:20 split front to rear, while Sport alters this to 70:30. 

Off road mode delivers a 50:50 split, while also tweaks the power delivery and ABS settings to help the GLA in rough terrain. Downhill Speed Regulation maintains a preselected speed when rolling down steep inclines, while the LED lights are able to light up the terrain directly ahead of the road.

What do you think of the new Mercedes GLA? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below…

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