The New Mercedes-Benz GLA: More Character, More Space, More Safety


The new GLA, the eighth model to join the line-up, rounds off the current compact-car generation from Mercedes-Benz. At the same time, it is the entry-level model in the brand’s successful SUV range. The character has been significantly reinforced compared with the previous model: With a height of 1611 millimetres (1616 with roof rails), the new GLA is more than ten centimetres higher than its predecessor. The correspondingly higher and characteristic SUV seating position also comes with more headroom in the first row. Legroom in the rear is likewise much more generous – even though the GLA is now one-and-a-half centimetres shorter. Hallmark off-road design features include the upright front section, short overhangs at the front and rear, and protective cladding all around. 4MATIC models feature the Off-Road Engineering Package as standard. This comprises an additional driving program, a downhill driving assist function and an off-road animation in the media display, along with, in combination with MULTIBEAM LED headlamps, a special light function for off-road driving.

The new GLA makes a further step in terms of safety courtesy of its driving assistance systems with cooperative driver support. The enhanced functions of the Driving Assistance Package include, for example, the turning manoeuvre function, the emergency corridor function, the exit warning function alerting the driver to approaching cyclists or vehicles, and a warning when pedestrians are detected near zebra crossings. The GLA is able to react when the driver doesn’t. Active Brake Assist is charged in many situations with applying autonomous braking to avoid a collision or to reduce its severity. A typical city speeds the system is also able to brake for stationary vehicles and crossing pedestrians and avoid collisions depending on the situation.

With powerful and efficient four-cylinder engines, the latest driving assistance systems with cooperative driver support, the MBUX infotainment system with intuitive operation as well as the comprehensive ENERGIZING comfort control, the new model has all the strengths of the current generation of compacts from Mercedes-Benz. The GLA boasts excellent aerodynamic efficiency with a Cd figure from 0.28. An EQ Power model with third-generation hybrid drive will already be available in the first half of this year. And the EQA, a fully electric model, will follow by the end of the year.

“The launch of the new GLA marks the culmination of a complete renewal of our family of compact cars”, says Britta Seeger, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG, responsible for Mercedes-Benz Cars Marketing & Sales. “The high demand for our SUVs shows that we can offer the right model for all of our customers in this segment. To meet their wishes, the range includes the GLB and GLA, two off-roaders that ideally complement each other: the GLB is the most functional and most spacious representative of our compact-class family, while the new GLA is positioned as its sporty brother and as a lifestyle-oriented SUV.”

“The new GLA embodies the perfect synergy between sheer beauty and robust off-road elements”, according to Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer Daimler Group. “With it, we are carrying the dynamic SUV forward into the future of modern luxury.”

The new GLA will be launched in Europe at the end of April 2020. It will appear in dealerships in the USA shortly afterwards, and will also be available in China. Thanks to this worldwide sales presence, and according to

Mercedes-Benz expectations, it will become one of the brand’s most popular compact-class models over its lifecycle. The GLA is produced at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Rastatt (Germany), and in Beijing (China) for the local market.

Self-assured and dynamic: the exterior design

The GLA features powerful overall proportions with short overhangs at the front and rear. The front section flows over the A-pillar into the visually compact greenhouse. Suggested powerdomes in the bonnet, along with wheels up to 20 inches in size and mounted flush with the outer edge of the body, reinforce the self-assured appearance. Typical of the GLA is the powerful shoulders of the bodywork and the coupé-like lines of the side windows. This contoured side profile gives the car its dynamically elegant flair and offers an interesting play of light and shadows.

As in the case of the other Mercedes-Benz SUV models, the radiator grille features distinctive openings along with a single louvre and a central star. In hallmark brand style, the inside of the headlamps is finished to a high level of quality, detail and precision.

The side and rear views are characterised by the muscular shoulders of the vehicle. The doors reach over the sills, thereby, on the one hand, improving ease of access, while at the same time keeping the door frames (and thus also the occupants’ trousers) free of dirt and improving impact protection in the event of a side collision. All-round protective cladding adds structure to the overall proportions and emphasises the vehicle’s off-road character, as does the simulated underride guard at the front and rear.

The rear lights are in two parts, with the reflectors positioned separately in the bumper. The makes it possible to open the load compartment wider, thus also making loading easier. It has the added effect of making the rear end appear wider. Further practical details, which may be optional depending on the equipment line, include the integrated roof rails and the chrome-plated load sill protection.

Contemporary and high-quality: the interior

The dashboard consists of a basic volume, which features optical “cut-outs” in the driver and front passenger area. The cut-out on the driver’s side is dominated by the free-standing display unit, which is available in three variants: with two 7-inch displays (17.78 cm), with one 7 and one 10.25-inch display (26 cm) and, in the widescreen version, with two 10.25-inch displays. On the passenger side, the cut-out area is finished with a trim element.

The round ventilation outlets, five of them in all, feature a high-quality turbine look with meticulously designed air guidance vanes. The door centre panel flows seamlessly over into the armrest. The grab and assist handle has a tubular profile and runs horizontally like a railing.

Included as standard is the intuitively operated MBUX infotainment system (Mercedes-Benz User Experience). It can be activated by voice control, using the keyword “Hey Mercedes”. MBUX can be individually configured with the aid of a range of options. The powerful computer, brilliant screens and graphics, customisable presentation, full-colour head-up display, navigation with augmented reality and learning software are the key advantages of the system.

Significantly enhanced: the interior dimensions and the functionality

Although shorter than its predecessor on the outside, the new GLA offers a more spacious interior. This particularly benefits legroom in the rear and the luggage compartment.

The seating position for both the driver and the front passenger is higher and more upright than in the preceding model, and thus more typical of an SUV. The driver and front passenger are seated 97 mm higher than before. Compared to the A-Class the difference is 140 mm, and to the B-Class 52 mm. All-round visibility has also been improved compared to the preceding model – partly thanks to optimised roof pillar cross-sections, which obscure less of the surroundings.

Utility value was one of the generals focuses during development. The rear seat backrest is 40:20:40 split-folding. As an option, the rear seat unit can be moved fore-and-aft by 14 centimetres, and the backrest brought to a more upright position, to make room for items such as bulky boxes. Nonetheless, there is comfortable seating for one or two occupants, as the seat cushion in this variant has a 40:60 division.

The height-adjustable load floor, which comes as standard, offers considerable variability. When the rear seat backrests are folded down and the load floor is in the upper position, an almost flat loading area extending to the front seats can be created. For very bulky objects, the load floor can be put in the lower position, the cross-member behind the rear seats can be removed and the rear seats with optional fore/aft adjustment can be moved forward.

Keeping an eye on the surrounding traffic: the driving assistance systems

The GLA has driving assistance systems with cooperative driver support. The latest functions of the Driving Assistance Package include the cornering function, the emergency lane function, the exit warning function and a warning when pedestrians are detected in the area of zebra crossings.

The Driving Assistance Package (optional equipment varying according to country and equipment level) includes:

  • Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC with the functions:
    • braking for stationary vehicles,
    • extended, automatic moving off in a tailback in conjunction with Active Parking Assist and navigation,
    • activation of “gliding” in the ECO drive mode,
  • Active Steer Assist with the functions:
    • Active Emergency Stop Assist – with automatic unlocking and an emergency call to the Mercedes-Benz Emergency Call Centre when the vehicle comes to a stop (depending on the country),
    • Emergency lane function: in motorway tailbacks at speeds below 60 km/h.
  • Active Speed Limit Assist with reaction to changing speed limits in conjunction with Traffic Sign Assist, route-based speed adjustment ahead of bends, roundabouts, toll booths, T-junctions and before joining/exiting motorways, expressways – in conjunction with Live Traffic Navigation, also speed reduction when approaching the end of a tailback,
  • Evasive Steering Assist,
  • Active Lane Keeping Assist,
  • Active Blind Spot Assist,
  • Active Brake Assist with turning manoeuvre and cross-traffic function,
  • PRE-SAFE® PLUS: can detect a potential rear impact. If the danger of a collision persists, the system can also firmly apply the brakes of the stationary vehicle, minimising the risk of whiplash injuries by reducing the forward jolt caused by an impact from the rear.

Even in its purely indicative version, and at low speeds, Blind Spot Assist is able to warn of vehicles, including bicycles, in the danger area. When at a standstill and before the driver exits, it can give a visual warning in the exterior mirror that a vehicle or cyclist is passing in the critical area. If the driver uses the door handle at this moment, an additional acoustic warning sounds and the ambient lighting in the door (if specified) flashes red. The passing road user must be moving at a speed exceeding 7 km/h at the time. The exit warning function of Blind Spot Assist is available when the vehicle is stationary, and for up to three minutes after switching off the ignition. When on the move, Active Blind Spot Assist, which is part of the Driving Assistance Package, is also able to react to vehicles in the blind spot and in critical areas with active braking intervention.

Travel in a more relaxed style: with ENERGIZING comfort control and ENERGIZING seat kinetics

ENERGIZING comfort control links together various comfort systems in the vehicle, using lighting and musical moods plus a number of massage options to deliver a wide range of feel-good programs. The ENERGIZING COACH recommends these programs according to the situation. If the Mercedes-Benz vivoactive® 3 smartwatches or another compatible Garmin® wearable is linked, personal values such as stress level or sleep quality improve the accuracy of the recommendation.

The ENERGIZING comfort is further enhanced by the ENERGIZING seat kinetics. This system supports orthopaedically beneficial changes in seating posture by means of minute changes to the inclination of the seat cushions and backrest. ENERGIZING seat kinetics is available for the front seats in conjunction with all-electric seat adjustment with memory function.

Neat and clean: the new car wash function

The GLA has the car wash function already familiar from the GLS. With just one command, the exterior mirrors are folded in and the side windows and sliding sunroof closed. The information from the rain sensor is suppressed so that the windscreen wipers remain switched off in the car wash. The air conditioning system switches to air-recirculation mode. If the vehicle has a 360° camera, its front image is switched on after a few seconds to assist entry into the car wash. These settings are automatically deactivated when the driver drives out of the car wash and accelerates to a speed above 20 km/h.

Exceptional comfort on long journeys and plenty of driving enjoyment: the suspension

The new GLA has a MacPherson front suspension. The wheels are guided by control arms below each wheel centre, the MacPherson struts and two tie rods. The wishbone is forged from aluminium. This reduces both weight and unsprung masses. The steering knuckles are made of cast aluminium.

The GLA features a sophisticated four-link rear axle. The three transverse links and one trailing arm at each rear wheel are configured for maximum driving stability, ride quality and longitudinal/lateral dynamics. The rear axle is mounted on a subframe isolated from the body shell by rubber bushings so that fewer vibrations are transferred from the suspension to the body.

At 1605 and 1606 millimetres (front/rear), the track width is more than four centimetres wider than on the previous model.

More traction when needed: 4MATIC all-wheel drive

The GLA can be equipped with the permanent all-wheel-drive system 4MATIC with fully variable torque distribution as an option. 4MATIC components include the power take-off to the rear axle, which is integrated into the automated dual-clutch transmission, and the rear axle differential with an integrated multi-plate clutch. Unlike the previous model, in which the actuation was hydraulic, the clutch, in this case, is electro-mechanically operated. The advantages of this control system are, above all, non-rpm-dependent operation across the entire actuation range and thus also the pilot control of the clutch while still stationary, along with higher efficiency thanks to the ball ramp concept.

This sporty all-wheel-drive configuration allows the driver to use the DYNAMIC SELECT switch to influence the characteristics of 4MATIC. Three characteristic maps are available to control the all-wheel-drive clutch, though the system responds flexibly to the current driving situation in any mode. In regular driving operation, the drive program “Eco/Comfort” is based on an 80:20 distribution (front axle: rear axle), while in “Sport” it is 70:30. In off-road mode, the all-wheel-drive clutch acts as an inter-axle differential lock, with the basic distribution a balanced 50:50.

Useful in easy off-road terrain: the Off-Road Engineering Package

4MATIC models feature the Off-Road Engineering Package as standard. The individual package components:

  • In combination with MULTIBEAM LED headlamps, these models have a special off-road light function that is active in the Offroad driving mode. This makes it easier to see obstacles in rough terrain in the dark. With the Offroad function, the cornering lights of the MULTIBEAM LED headlamps are switched on additionally at a speed up to 50 km/h. This results in wide and bright light distribution immediately in front of the vehicle.
  • In addition, the Off-Road Engineering Package includes an additional drive mode. This adapts not only the characteristics of the 4MATIC system (see above) but also the power delivery of the engine and the ABS intervention control for off-road driving in easy terrain. It can be activated via the DYNAMIC SELECT switch.
  • An animation of the driving situation can be called upon the media display. Realistic representation of the gradient, inclination angle and technical settings makes driving manoeuvres easier to judge.
  • Downhill Speed Regulation (DSR) can automatically maintain a slow, preset speed between 2 and 18 km/h, displayed in the instrument cluster and the optional head-up display. With targeted brake applications, DSR helps to retain control during steep downhill driving.

Powerful and efficient: the engines

The new GLA places its trust in the four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines which were completely modernised for the new edition of the compact model series. In comparison to the previous generation, they are characterised by significantly increased specific outputs and by improved efficiency and emissions. A locally emission-free model with third-generation plug-in hybrid drive system is already being prepared.

The entry-level to the petrol models is the M 282 with a displacement of 1.33 litres in the GLA 200 (combined fuel consumption 6.0-5.7 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions 137-130 g/km)[1]. This engine has cylinder shut-off for efficient operation in the partial-load range.

In its engine block of die-cast aluminium, the two-litre M 260 engine from the more powerful GLA petrol variants has cast-iron cylinder liners whereby the cylinder bore is widened at the lower end in line with the CONICSHAPE® principle”. Also known in-house as “trumpet-honing”, this principle minimises piston friction and lowers fuel consumption. The balance shafts for smooth engine-running are located in the lower section of the crankcase. In the aluminium four-valve cylinder head, the CAMTRONIC variable valve timing system allows two-stage adjustment of the valve lift on the intake side.

All of the measures, including the precisely regulated geometry of the turbocharger with a wastegate, make the engine quiet, powerful, economical and low in emissions. It is configured for front-wheel drive and 4MATIC all-wheel drive, and always combined with the 8G-DCT dual-clutch transmission. The M 260 engine is produced at the Kölleda plant in Thuringia, Germany.

Gasoline model overview

  GLA 2001GLA 2501GLA 250
Engine 4/in-line4/in-line4/in-line
Combined fuel consumptionl/100 km6.0-5.76.7-6.57.1-6.9
Combined CO2 emissionsg/km137-130153-148163-158
Acceleration 0-100 km/hs8.76.96.7
Top speedkm/h210240240

The diesel versions of the new GLA are powered by the OM 654 premium two-litre engine adapted for transverse installation. On the inside, the OM 654q offers efficiency-enhancing technological highlights such as steel pistons with stepped bowls in an aluminium block. The cylinder liners are coated using the further-improved NANOSLIDE® process.

The diesel models:

  GLA 200 d2GLA 200 d
GLA 220 d1GLA 220 d 
Peak torqueNm320320400400
Combined fuel consumptionl/100 km4.8-4.65.2-4.94.9-4.75.3-5.0
Combined CO2 emissionsg/km126-121138-130129-123140-133
Acceleration 0-100 km/hs8.
Top speedkm/h208205217219

The compact engine allows all components of the exhaust after treatment system to be installed directly on the engine itself where the exhaust temperature is higher, making for more efficient after treatment. The two-litre diesel engine meets the RDE (Real Driving Emissions) Stage 2 requirements and is certified to Euro 6d. The engine is available in two output classes with 110 kW/150 hp and 140 kW/190 hp, and with either front-wheel drive or 4MATIC, and transfers its superior power to the 8G-DCT dual-clutch transmission.

From Coupé to Shooting Brake to SUV: broad range in the compact class

With the GLA the new compact-car family from Mercedes-Benz now consists of eight models. With three wheelbase lengths, front and all-wheel drive as well as petrol, diesel and hybrid models, the range is broad in scope. In the form of the GLB, Mercedes-Benz is now for the first time offering a compact model with seven seats. In addition, there are the sporty versions from Mercedes-AMG. One in four Mercedes-Benz cars sold in 2019 was a compact model: more than 667,000 units of the A and B-Class, CLA, CLA Shooting Brake and the previous GLA and GLB were delivered last year. This means that the previous record achieved in 2016 was exceeded by more than 30,000 units.

Since the launch of the first A-Class, the first compact car from Mercedes-Benz, in 1997, more than seven million vehicles belonging to this segment have been delivered worldwide by Mercedes-Benz. Since the market launch of the GLA in 2014, more than one million units of this compact SUV have been delivered to customers worldwide.

[1] The stated figures are the measured “NEDC CO2 figures” in accordance with Article 2 No. 1 Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/1153. The fuel consumption figures were calculated based on these figures. A higher figure may apply as the basis for calculating the motor vehicle tax. Further information on the vehicles on offer, including the WLTP values, can be found for each country at

[2] The stated figures are the measured “NEDC CO2 figures” in accordance with Art. 2 No. 1 Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/1153. 
The fuel consumption figures were calculated on the basis of these figures. A higher figure may apply as the basis for calculating the motor vehicle tax. Further information on the vehicles on offer, including the WLTP figures, can be found for each country at