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Detroit show: Facelifted Mercedes-Benz GLA emerges

High life: The facelifted Mercedes-Benz GLA has a new ‘off-road comfort’ suspension option with the 30mm ride-height increase promising enhanced exploring ability, but this feature is unlikely to be offered in Australia.

Mid-life makeover here mid-year for Mercedes-Benz GLA crossover


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9 Jan 2017

THE facelifted 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLA crossover has emerged from a shadowy teaser photo issued a few days ago into the glittering lights of the Detroit motor show this morning, ahead of a June Australian showroom arrival.

It reflects the subtle exterior styling and more upmarket interior updates already applied to the GLA’s A-Class hatch and CLA sedan/wagon siblings, while carrying a smattering of new equipment plus a beefed-up engine for the AMG variant that has also spawned a striking Yellow Night special edition.

Equipment wise, Mercedes has made available a 360-degree bird’s-eye view camera monitor to help with parking and hands-free electric tailgate opening to make life easier when approaching the car with arms full of items ready to go into the boot.

All-LED headlights are also in, replacing the pre-facelift bi-Xenon units. Like the A-Class and CLA, the updated GLA has gained some more premium interior trim fabrics and a chrome finish for much of the switchgear and trim highlights to help lift the ambience.

The top-spec AMG GLA45 4Matic sports variant receives 15kW more power and 25Nm more torque than before, resulting in peak outputs of 280kW/475Nm and contributing to a slashing of the zero to 100km/h sprint time by four tenths, to just 4.4 seconds.

Shorter ratios in every gear from third to seventh will also make this variant pull harder, too.

A new AMG Dynamic Plus option pack on the GLA45 adds a limited-slip front differential, adaptive damping, a ‘performance’ steering wheel and new hardcore Race mode for the drive selector dial.

First seen on the GLA facelift at Detroit and confirmed for Australia is a Yellow Night special edition of the GLA45 AMG, available in two shades of black with a number of matte graphite and yellow contrast exterior and interior trim, plus yellow rim flanges on the alloy wheels.

The Yellow Night editions are Mercedes-AMG’s way of celebrating the success of its four-cylinder foursome – the A45, CLA45, CLA45 shooting brake and GLA45.

Mercedes has tweaked the aerodynamics of all GLA variants for increased fuel efficiency, reducing the coefficient of drag from 0.29 to 0.28 on most variants and trimming it to 0.33 on the big-spoiler, big-air-intake GLA45 AMG.

Not confirmed for Australia but under consideration is a new 135kW petrol-powered, all-wheel-drive GLA220 4Matic variant that in overseas markets will sit between the existing 115kW front-drive GLA200 and 155kW AWD GLA250 4Matic.

Australia looks set to be denied access to new GLA ride-height options including a lowered ‘sports comfort’ setup to go with the AMG Line and Dynamic Handling packs, plus a 30mm ride-height increase effected by ticking the ‘off-road comfort’ option.

This boosts ground clearance, provides a more commanding view of the road and helps transform the GLA from crossover hatch to more of an SUV in appearance.

Although it is too early to confirm, Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific indicates that pricing for the updated GLA range is expected to remain similar to the current offer.

The GLA180 entry variant currently kicks off at $43,600 plus on-road costs, with the flagship GLA45 AMG 4Matic almost double that at $84,315.

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