NAIAS 2017: 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 and GLA45 Drops in Detroit, Gives You New Bumpers

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

Mercedes-Benz has a total of seven model series in the SUV/crossover playing field, ranging from its granddaddy G-Wagen to the compact GLA. Given SUVs and crossovers are enjoying record sales numbers, it should be no surprise manufacturers are wont to outdo their competitors by keeping them as fresh as possible.

Applying their considerable engineering might, the boffins in Stuttgart will kick off 2018 with a neue version of the GLA — with some new bumpers.

Three different trims will be on offer: a front-drive Mercedes-Benz GLA250, a Mercedes-Benz GLA250 4MATIC shuttling power to all four wheels, and a gonzo all-wheel drive Mercedes-AMG GLA45. Wings abound on certain trims. More on that later.

While the segment enjoys explosive growth, Mercedes-Benz has updated its baby ute with new bumpers, wheels, gauges, fancy seat coverings, and a new color called “Canyon Beige” — and that’s about it. The 2018 GLA is the equivalent of reheating a three-year-old cuppa joe.

Both GLA250 models are powered by an unchanged 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four making 208 hp at 5,500 rpm and 258 lb-ft of torque between 1,250 rpm and 4,000 rpm. Low-end grunt, then, should be more than adequate for around-town driving, the natural home for most of these diminutive soft-roaders.

The GLA45 deploys the same 2.0-liter displacement as its little brother and again cranks the wick to a remarkable 375 hp of power and 350 lb-ft of torque, flinging drivers from a standstill to 60 mph in a scant 4.3 seconds. As befits a product branded with the Mercedes-AMG badge, the standard seven-speed DCT transmission deploys shorter ratios in its top five gears, while an optional Performance Exhaust System allows drivers to pump up the auditory party either via a pre-programmed drive program or simply hitting a switch.

Merc’s “Active Brake Assist” shows up as standard, as does a raft of safety equipment in all-caps “ATTENTION ASSIST,” which can detect typical signs of drowsiness via steering behavior and warn the driver by serving them a hot cup of coffee (not really; it’ll likely sound an alarm or vibrate the seat).

Owners can blind the proletariat with LED high performance headlamps, optional on the GLA250 and standard on the GLA45. A natty Yellow Night edition is available in a couple different shades of black with matte grey and (befitting the name) yellow trim on the front bumper, mirror housings, and rear wing, because you need a rear wing on a compact crossover. The kids need downforce during trips to the mall, y’know.

With Daimler and Nissan telling Reuters in separate statements they’ll only pursue joint ventures when it is “ beneficial for both sides,” it’ll be interesting to see if this new GLA will show up amongst the Q- and QX-ness of Infiniti’s product lineup.

The refreshed 2018 GLA models will have their world premiere at this year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit and will go on sale in the U.S. market in summer 2017.

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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  • PentastarPride PentastarPride on Jan 09, 2017

    Are we sure thus isn't a Kia Spectra5, suddenly resurrected after a 10-year hiatus?

  • Xflowgolf Xflowgolf on Jan 09, 2017

    how are these hatchbacks getting a pass as being "crossover/SUV's"?

    • Heavy handle Heavy handle on Jan 09, 2017

      Consumers don't care about those pigeonhole categories. They just want a car that fits their stuff and drives OK.

  • Big Al from Oz Musk and Trump are of the same ilk, except Musk's IQ is a damn site higher than Trumps. Musk like Trump is only into himself. Musk doesn't care about Trump only Musk. Musk sees more dollars if Trump wins.Hey, I'm Big Al again!3
  • Rover Sig We have a car with two fake exhausts in the bumper, but a large shiny muffler visible hanging down on one side, not aligned with the fake exhaust exits. Horrendous. I had to paint the shiny muffler with high-temp black paint to make it less visible. Exhaust pipes were meant to be round and hang below the bumper, and they can be made quiet or loud as the engineers like. But fake exhausts rank down there with fake intake vents on the side of that old Buick.
  • EBFlex Of course it does. What a silly question
  • Buickman Elon is a phony.
  • The Oracle When elected, Trump will carve out massive loopholes for Elon and other donors.