GLA will bring Daimler’s SUV count up to five; is fourth of five new global compact models from Mercedes.

Mercedes-Benz is officially getting into the luxury compact SUV game.

In Frankfurt next month, the German automaker will reveal their new GLA in the flesh. Until then, we have some nice images to look over.

Based on the all-new CLA, the GLA250 will be powered by the same 211 hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine as it’s sedan sibling. 4MATIC models will be on sale first late next year, with front-drive models available in 2015.

We’ll have more information when it is released next month.

In the meantime, check out the stereotypical long-winded Mercedes press release and image gallery below.

Multi-talented: The new Mercedes-Benz GLA 

TORONTO, Ont. – Progressive in design, serene in day-to-day motoring and offering off-road capability: as a wanderer between automotive applications, the Mercedes-Benz GLA impressively reinterprets the compact SUV segment. It lightfootedly masters all day-to-day challenges and is also robust enough for off-road excursions.

The first Mercedes-Benz in the fast-growing compact SUV segment is highly manoeuvrable around town (length x width x height: 4417 x 1804 x 1494 millimetres), lively on country roads and dynamic and efficient on the highway (Cd figure 0.29). The high-quality appointments, developed with close attention to detail, and the flexible interior clearly position the GLA as a compact premium SUV.

The new GLA rounds off the extensive SUV portfolio of Mercedes-Benz. With five model series (GLA, GLK, ML, GL and G) the company offers the widest range of any European premium manufacturer to meet all the individual mobility wishes of its customers.

“With the compact GLA we add a fifth attractive SUV variant to the Mercedes-Benz model portfolio in this constantly growing segment. The GLA impresses mainly with its progressive character and agile handling,” says Dr Joachim Schmidt, Executive Vice President Sales and Marketing Mercedes Benz Cars. “So I am very confident that the GLA with its fascinating design and high everyday practicality will fill many new customers with enthusiasm for the Mercedes-Benz brand.”

As a serene day-to-day companion, the GLA has a flexible and variable interior. The rear seat backrests can not only be folded down completely, but are also adjustable for angle if required. The generous luggage compartment (421 – 836 litres) is well-presented and can be loaded without difficulty thanks to the low loading sill and the wide tailgate, which opens automatically as an option.

The particularly rigid body structure provides a reliable basis for a wide range of applications. The GLA will celebrate its world premiere at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt, which runs from September 12 – 22, 2013.

Design: quality and self-assurance

Sensual clarity as an expression of modern luxury – this was the focus for the designers, and is the design philosophy of Mercedes-Benz. The aim was to create clear contours and smooth surfaces that communicate high-tech while exuding emotional appeal. The sensual clarity is reflected in the core design values of Tradition, Emotion and Progression. These are the guiding star, and are accentuated differently depending on the model. Mercedes-Benz creates a bridge between modernity and the avant-garde, between tradition and progression. Each model series has an assigned role and has a very specific character, depending on the attributes on which the design focuses. And yet a Mercedes-Benz is always recognizable as a Mercedes-Benz, because in addition to incorporating new stylistic developments, and in the interests of keeping tradition alive, the designers draw from a gene-pool of styling features typical of the brand.

“With its striking features the GLA embodies our progressive thinking and enthrals with its off-road proportions,” says Gorden Wagener, Vice President Design at Daimler AG. “The clearly defined surfaces convey power and serenity, and we have managed to combine as much emotional appeal as possible with as much clarity as necessary.”
As an SUV, the new GLA combines the design values of Progression and Tradition. It is an all-rounder with hallmark Mercedes-Benz SUV genes, but more youthful, sculptural and full of subtle drama.

The low greenhouse, raised vehicle body and large wheel arches give the GLA great appeal. The clearly defined surfaces are supplemented with sharp lines that provide definition and precision, varying the sculptured contours of the vehicle body which is sensitively modelled and subtly dramatic.

The prominent and self-assured upright front end with a central star lends a muscular and superior impression to the GLA. Powerdomes structure the hood as sporty features, and the twin-louvre grille accentuates the vehicle’s width. An impressive front aspect is ensured by the headlamps and LED daytime running lamps. This iconic Mercedes-Benz design feature was further developed using trifunctional fibre-optics, and gives the vehicle its characteristic light signature. The front bumper features diamond-pattern grilles in front of the cooling air intakes. The optional fog lamps are integrated into the front bumper. A simulated underride guard and contrasting dark-grey claddings all-round emphasize the SUV characteristics of the GLA. These claddings begin low down at the front bumper and provide protection against stone impact.

The side view of the GLA likewise conveys power and serenity. Following the design philosophy, the “dropping line” emerges at the headlamp and extends to the rear wheel arch. The line of the beltline trim gradually rises from the rear door to the C-pillar. Together the light-catching contour on the curvature and the counter-line to the dropping line at side sill height create an interplay of lines that lends the car flowing dynamism and subtle drama. At the sides the cladding follows the contours of the wheel arches and side sill panels into the rear bumper. The side panel has depressions shaped like an excavator’s teeth to accentuate the SUV character.

The muscular shoulders over the rear axle are emphasized even further by the inward taper of the C-pillars. In combination with the divided tail lights, this emphasizes the width of the rear end. Its shape is both dramatic and visually harmonious.
This impression is heightened by the curved rear window and the sweeping chrome handle between the tail lights. Thanks to the divided tail lights, the loading aperture is gratifyingly wide. The large, aerodynamically effective roof spoiler is another eye-catching feature. It shares the structure of the rear roof cladding and accommodates the third brake light. In the area of the rear bumper cladding, there are other SUV-specific features, such as an extremely robust external loading sill guard and a simulated underride guard available in high-gloss black, matte silver or silver-shadow.

Interior: attractive design features and high perceived quality

The muscular and imposing appearance of the exterior is systematically continued in the interior with an attractive combination of strong contours and high-grade materials. All trim surfaces are galvanized in silver-shadow for material authenticity, resulting in a metallic finish with a “cool-touch” effect. The impression is one of perfect detail. The heavy emphasis on horizontals, the dynamic design and the highly attractive design features are other high-quality attributes. The same applies to the great precision of joints and gap dimensions.

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 innovative membrane, aluminium or wood lends a new, modern touch to the interior. The matte satin finish of the available wood trim makes the surface particularly pleasant to the touch.

Five round air vents are integrated into the dashboard. As an exclusive GLA feature, bezels are optionally available around these circular vents whose SUV-look echoes the underride guard and side member claddings. The bezels can be galvanized as an option. The direction of the airflow can be varied by butterfly-shaped inserts which can also be optionally galvanized in silver-shadow.

The large, free-standing display has a high-gloss display facing in piano-black and a flush-fitting surround in silver-shadow, creating it a particularly high-quality look. A 3-spoke steering wheel with 12 function keys and a galvanized chrome clasp is standard equipment.

Set into a galvanized surround, the controls for the electric seat adjustment with memory are arranged on the interior door panels in typical Mercedes-Benz style – a unique feature in this segment. The interior door panels are likewise of extremely high quality. The soft, matte surfaces extend right from the beltline to the door pocket. In combination with the equipment packages, the door armrests have a high-quality chrome trim strip and, as an option, ambient lighting.

Aerodynamics: goodbye to box-shaped

With the GLA, yet another model series becomes the leader in its segment with respect to aerodynamic efficiency. Its Cd figure is 0.29. At 0.66 m2, the frontal area Cd x A, which decisively affects fuel consumption from around 60 km/h, is likewise a top figure.

The good air flow characteristics, which are a major contributing factor to the vehicle’s low fuel consumption in everyday conditions, is a result of numerous aerodynamic optimization measures. These include a low A-pillar step with suitable A-pillar geometry and aerodynamically optimized exterior mirror housings. The rear end is also streamlined. The measures here include the roof spoiler lip and the aerodynamically shaped tail lights. Rear spoilers at the sides ensure that the airflow breaks off for optimal aerodynamic efficiency. Seals in the front bumper (around the radiator area and headlamps) and radiator shutters for regulation of the cooling air as required round off the aerodynamic measures.

Extensive underbody panelling, additional panelling in the middle area of the rear axle and an aerodynamically optimized rear silencer followed by a diffuser improve the flow of air beneath the underbody.

Numerous measures have also been taken to reduce wind noise in the GLA. These include a multi-level door sealing concept, additional sealing of the joint between the tailgate and the roof and side seals on the tailgate. Particularly rigid window frames prevent the airflow from pulling on the doors at higher speeds, and reduce vibrations. External noise has also been minimized by the low A-pillar step and exterior mirrors connected to the body by a stem.

Suspension: for guaranteed recreational fun

With the new GLA, Mercedes-Benz is adding a new member to the successful SUV family. This compact model reinterprets the SUV concept in a new, modern way and fits perfectly into the day-to-day urban lifestyle. At the same time, the optional 4MATIC all-wheel drive, robust body structure and variable interior concept guarantee plenty of recreational enjoyment. Motto: away from the daily routine. Rough terrain – the beach, loose ground, unsurfaced gradients – is no problem for the GLA.

The chassis of the GLA features a McPherson front axle and an independent multilink rear suspension. Three control arms and one trailing arm per wheel manage the incoming forces. This means that longitudinal and lateral dynamics are independent of one another. The wheel carriers and spring control arms are aluminium to reduce the unsprung masses. In the versions equipped with 4MATIC, the rear axle carrier is isolated with rubber bushings for ride comfort.

Compared to conventional systems, the electromechanical power steering provides better feedback to the driver and makes an important contribution to the vehicle’s overall efficiency, as the servo assistance only requires energy when the vehicle is actually steered. It also allows various steering assistance functions that are initiated by the ESP® control unit. These include countersteering when the vehicle oversteers, steering corrections when braking on surfaces with different levels of grip, reducing the effects of front-wheel drive on the steering and compensation of cross-winds and road camber.

The GLA has an extremely rigid body, and therefore the basis for stable and safe handling characteristics both on and off the road, as well as a high level of NVH comfort. Additional reinforced areas also include the B-pillars, front damper domes, side members and underbody.

High traction reserves: 4MATIC all-wheel drive

The GLA is optionally available with a new generation of the 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive system featuring fully variable torque distribution. This all-wheel drive system excels with high traction reserves and outstanding agility combined with superlative driving safety and energy efficiency.

The components of the 4MATIC system include the power take-off to the rear axle that is integrated into the 7G-DCT automatic dual clutch transmission, and the rear-axle gear with integrated, electrohydraulically controlled multi-disc clutch. This set-up allows fully variable distribution of the drive torque between front and rear axles. Additional benefits of this design are a lower system weight than is available from the competition, and high efficiency.

Confident on light terrain: off-road functions

Models with 4MATIC are equipped with DSR (Downhill Speed Regulation) and an off-road transmission mode as standard. DSR is activated by a control button in the centre console, and assists the driver on demanding downhill stretches by maintaining a slow, manually selected vehicle speed within the physical limits when negotiating downhill gradients. This is done with the help of the engine and transmission control systems, and by specific braking intervention.

When the off-road transmission mode is selected using the transmission mode switch, the gearshift points and accelerator characteristics are modified so that the requirements for driving on light off-road terrain and particularly loose surfaces can be met.

Smart safety: advanced assistance systems

Numerous driving assistance systems offer support in the GLA and reduce the driver’s workload. Standard-fit features for the SUV include ATTENTION ASSIST drowsiness detection and radar-based COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST with adaptive Brake Assist, which now helps to protect against collisions from a speed of only 7 km/h.

This feature combines with DISTRONIC PLUS (optional extra) to become COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS. This incorporates an additional function: When a danger of collision persists and the driver fails to respond, the system is able to carry out autonomous braking at speeds of up to 200 km/h, thereby reducing the severity of collisions with slower or stopped vehicles. The system also brakes in response to stationary vehicles at a speed of up to 30 km/h, and is able to prevent rear-end collisions at speeds of up to 20 km/h.

Established assistance systems, such as the optional Lane Tracking package with Blind Spot and Lane Keeping Assist or Adaptive Highbeam Assist, are also available for the GLA. Active Parking Assist (optional) allows automatic parking in parallel and end-on parking spaces.

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