2020 Mercedes-Benz GLA unveiled, adds GLA 35 AMG variant

Brett Davis

Mercedes-Benz has unveiled its second-generation GLA small SUV, which showcases a fresh new look, more space inside, and improved technology and safety. A new GLA 35 AMG performance variant has also been added for the first time.

The new model jumps onto the updated MFA2 platform like the latest A-Class. This helps to introduce 30mm of additional overall width, with 30mm added to the wheelbase over the outgoing model. It is 14mm shorter in length though, but 104mm taller in height. Just glancing at these dimensional changes it’s clear to see the new GLA is more of an upright wagon-like SUV as opposed to a conventional hatchback.

Inside, these changes bring 22mm more headroom in the front, but 6mm less in the back, along with 18mm in reduced front legroom but 116mm of extra rear legroom. Shoulder space is increased 28mm in the front and 43mm in the back. The boot capacity also stretches from 421L to 435L.

As for the exterior design, the 2020 GLA takes on Mercedes’s latest styling language. There’s the new-look angled headlights, wider and more pointed taillights, a much wider front grille and single cross-bar in the middle, with big intake clusters in the front corners, and a completely redesigned and smoother rear bumper bar with neat little corner vents. It’s all very slippery through the air too, with a drag coefficient of just 0.28.

Inside, it’s no surprise the GLA adopts the company’s latest MBUX user interface. Depending on the variant, there are two digital screens spread across the dash, with a 7.0-inch unit for the media and controls and a 10.25-inch unit for the driver’s instrument cluster. In the higher-spec models there are two 10.25-inch screens.

Safety is turned up more than a few notches, with advanced systems such as Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC now available, including autonomous braking for stationary vehicles, automatic restarting in tailbacks, and a new gliding function in the Eco driving mode. There’s also Active Steer Assist, Active Lane Change Assist, Active Speed Limit Assist, and route-based speed adjustment.

From initial launch there will be two main variants, including the GLA 200 and GLA 35 AMG. The 200 uses a 1.4-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder that produces 120kW and 250Nm, matched to a seven-speed dual-clutch auto with front-wheel drive. It can conquer 0-100km/h in a claimed 8.7 seconds. Meanwhile, the new GLA 35 uses a 2.0-litre turbo that develops 225kW and 400Nm, hooked up to an eight-speed dual-clutch auto with all-wheel drive. Acceleration from 0-100km/h comes up in a claimed 5.1 seconds.

Mercedes-Benz says market launch in Europe will take place during the second quarter of 2020, with an Australian arrival expected later in the year. Judging by these press images, there is going to be an ‘Edition 1’ variant being introduced as well, likely for a limited time only.

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