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

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
naias 2017 2018 mercedes benz gla250 and gla45 drops in detroit gives you new

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.

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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.

  • Malcolm It's not that commenters attack Tesla, musk has brought it on the company. The delivery of the first semi was half loaded in 70 degree weather hauling potato chips for frito lay. No company underutilizes their loads like this. Musk shouted at the world "look at us". Freightliners e-cascads has been delivering loads for 6-8 months before Tesla delivered one semi. What commenters are asking "What's the actual usable range when in say Leadville when its blowing snow and -20F outside with a full trailer?
  • Funky D I despise Google for a whole host of reasons. So why on earth would I willing spend a large amount of $ on a car that will force Google spyware on me.The only connectivity to the world I will put up with is through my phone, which at least gives me the option of turning it off or disconnecting it from the car should I choose to.No CarPlay, no sale.
  • William I think it's important to understand the factors that made GM as big as it once was and would like to be today. Let's roll back to 1965, or even before that. GM was the biggest of the Big Three. It's main competition was Ford and Chrysler, as well as it's own 5 brands competing with themselves. The import competition was all but non existent. Volkswagen was the most popular imported cars at the time. So GM had its successful 5 brands, and very little competition compared to today's market. GM was big, huge in fact. It was diversified into many other lines of business, from trains to information data processing (EDS). Again GM was huge. But being huge didn't make it better. There are many examples of GM not building the best cars they could, it's no surprise that they were building cars to maximize their profits, not to be the best built cars on the road, the closest brand to achieve that status was Cadillac. Anyone who owned a Cadillac knew it could have been a much higher level of quality than it was. It had a higher level of engineering and design features compared to it's competition. But as my Godfather used to say "how good is good?" Being as good as your competitors, isn't being as good as you could be. So, today GM does not hold 50% of the automotive market as it once did, and because of a multitude of reasons it never will again. No matter how much it improves it's quality, market value and dealer network, based on competition alone it can't have a 50% market share again. It has only 3 of its original 5 brands, and there are too many strong competitors taking pieces of the market share. So that says it's playing in a different game, therfore there's a whole new normal to use as a baseline than before. GM has to continue downsizing to fit into today's market. It can still be big, but in a different game and scale. The new normal will never be the same scale it once was as compared to the now "worlds" automotive industry. Just like how the US railroad industry had to reinvent its self to meet the changing transportation industry, and IBM has had to reinvent its self to play in the ever changing Information Technology industry it finds it's self in. IBM was once the industry leader, now it has to scale it's self down to remain in the industry it created. GM is in the same place that the railroads, IBM and other big companies like AT&T and Standard Oil have found themselves in. It seems like being the industry leader is always followed by having to reinvent it's self to just remain viable. It's part of the business cycle. GM, it's time you accept your fate, not dead, but not huge either.
  • Tassos The Euro spec Taurus is the US spec Ford FUSION.Very few buyers care to see it here. FOrd has stopped making the Fusion long agoWake us when you have some interesting news to report.
  • Marvin Im a current owner of a 2012 Golf R 2 Door with 5 grand on the odometer . Fun car to drive ! It's my summer cruiser. 2006 GLI with 33,000 . The R can be money pit if service by the dealership. For both cars I deal with Foreign car specialist , non union shop but they know their stuff !!! From what I gather the newer R's 22,23' too many electronic controls on the screen, plus the 12 is the last of the of the trouble free ones and fun to drive no on screen electronics Maze !