The new Mercedes-Benz GLA: added character, space, and safety

December 11th, 2019 by

The new GLA, the fifth model to join the line-up, rounds off the current compact car generation from Mercedes-Benz Canada. Here are its most importance features at a glance.

The new GLA

  • Is more than ten centimetres higher than its predecessor, and 1.5 centimetres shorter;
  • Offers more headroom at the front and considerably more legroom in the rear;
  • Is able to react in emergency situations when the driver doesn’t, because the Active Brake Assist system with which it is fitted as standard is charged in many situations with applying autonomous braking to avoid a collision or to reduce its severity;
  • Extended Intelligent Drive driver assistance features such as the turning manoeuvre function, the exit warning function alerting the driver to approaching cyclists or vehicles, and a warning when pedestrians are detected near zebra crossings;
  • Is the entry-level model in the successful Mercedes-Benz SUV family and the sporty and lifestyle-oriented brother of the GLB;
  • Offers very low wind resistance (cd figure from 0.28);
  • In its 4MATIC guise, features the optional Off-Road Engineering Package;
  • Includes the intuitively operated MBUX infotainment system (Mercedes-Benz User Experience)
    as standard;
  • Replaces an already successful model: more than a million units of the first GLA were built;
  • Launches in Canada in early Summer 2020

The new Mercedes-Benz GLA: added character, space, and safety

The new GLA, the fifth model to join the compact car line-up, rounds off the current compact car generation from Mercedes-Benz Canada. The new GLA represents the entry level into the brand’s successful family of SUV models. The new GLA stands 1611 millimetres high (1616 mm with roof rails), ten centimetres taller than that of its predecessor. Its enhanced proportions allow for better headroom in the first row and ample legroom in the rear. Design features such as an upright front section, short overhangs at the front and rear, and protective cladding all around the vehicle signal its off-road characteristics. As an option, the Off-Road Engineering Package further enhances the GLA’s capabilities with an additional driving program, downhill driving assist functions, and an off-road animation in the media display.

The new GLA is the safest yet, as it is available with driving assistance systems that offer cooperative driver support. The optionally available Intelligent Drive Package features enhanced functions that now include the turning manoeuvre function, which alerts the driver to approaching cyclists or vehicles, or pedestrians detected near zebra crossings. Active Brake Assist autonomously intervenes by applying the brakes in order to avoid a collision or reduce its severity.  The system can also brake at a speed of up to approx. 60 km/h for stationary vehicles and pedestrians crossing the road ahead. Depending on the situation this even prevents collisions up to a speed of 50 km/h. The new GLA is set to arrive in Canada in early summer of 2020.

Equipped with a powerful and efficient four-cylinder engine, the latest driving assistance systems featuring cooperative driver support, and the MBUX infotainment system, the new GLA has all the strengths of the current generation of compacts from Mercedes-Benz.

“The launch of the new GLA marks the culmination of the complete renewal of our compact car family,” says Britta Seeger, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler 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 customer. Reflecting customer demand, these include two off-road models, the GLB and GLA, which complement each other perfectly: the GLB is the most functional and 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 pure beauty and robust off-road elements,” says Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer of the Daimler Group. “With it, we are carrying the dynamic SUV forward into the future of modern luxury.”

The new GLA will make its Canadian debut in early summer 2020.

As a result of its global sales coverage, Mercedes-Benz anticipates that, calculated across its full life cycle, the GLA will become one of the brand’s most popular compact class models. With a cd figure that starts at 0.28, the GLA offers very low wind resistance.

The new GLA combines the best from the two highest-volume segments, the compact cars and the SUVs. The SUVs are a major structural pillar in the Mercedes-Benz product portfolio and now represent the highest-volume segment for Mercedes-Benz. To date, more than six and a half million customers around the world have opted for a Mercedes-Benz SUV. The GLA is produced in Rastatt, Germany.

The exterior design: Self-assured and dynamic

The GLA features powerful overall proportions juxtaposed with short front and rear overhangs. The front section flows over the A-pillar into the visually compact greenhouse. Powerdomes featured on the hood, along with wheels up to 20 inches in size mounted flush with the outer edge of the body, reinforce its self-assured appearance.

Clear contours with reduced lines and accentuated planes convey serene sportiness and modernity. Although redesigned, the GLA stays true to its character, featuring powerful shoulders displayed in the bodywork, and coupe-like lines displayed on the side windows. This contoured side profile gives the car it’s dynamically elegant flair and offers an interesting interplay between light and shadows.

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

The side and rear views of the GLA are characterized by its muscular proportions. The doors of the new GLA reach over the sills. On the one hand this improves ease of access, while on the other, it keeps the door frames – and by extension the passengers — free of dirt, and also improves impact protection in the event of a side collision. Protective cladding featured all around the vehicle, in addition to a simulated underride guard at the front and rear of the new GLA adds structure to its overall proportions and emphasizes the vehicle’s off-road character.

The rear lights have been designed in two parts, with the reflectors positioned separately in the bumper. This update has made it possible to open the load compartment wider, in turn making it easier to load the vehicle. This innovation has the added effect of making the rear end appear wider. Further practical details, include the integrated roof rails and the chrome-plated load sill protection.

The interior: contemporary and high-quality

The interior of the GLA features an instrument panel that consists of a basic volume, comprised of 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 two variants: with two 7-inch displays (17.78 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, which total five 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 intuitive MBUX infotainment system (Mercedes-Benz User Experience). MBUX can be individually configured with the aid of a range of options. The powerful computer, brilliant screens, high definition graphics, customisable presentation, full-colour head-up display, navigation with augmented reality, learning software, and voice control activated with the prompt “Hey Mercedes” are the key advantages of the system.

Significantly enhanced functionality

Although shorter than its predecessor on the outside, the new GLA offers a more spacious interior. This is particularly true of the legroom in the rear and the volume of the trunk space, as the table of dimensions shows.

Exterior Dimensions GLA Predecessor


Length (mm)




Width (mm)




Width incl. exterior mirrors (mm)




Height (mm)




Wheelbase (mm)




Track, front (mm)




Track, rear (mm)




Interior Dimensions GLA Predecessor Diff.
Max. front headroom (mm)




Headroom, rear (mm)




Legroom, front (mm)




Legroom, rear (mm)




Elbow room, front (mm)




Elbow room, rear (mm)




Shoulder room, front (mm)




Shoulder room, rear (mm)




Load compartment width, max. (mm)




Load compartment depth, max. (mm)




Eff. width cargo opening (mm)




Cargo capacity (l)




The seating position for both the driver and the front passenger is higher and more upright than in the predecessor model, and thus more typical of an SUV. The driver and front passenger sit 140 mm higher than in the A-Class. In comparison to the previous model, all-around visibility has also been improved, mainly due to an optimized cross-section for the roof pillars, which now block out less of the surrounding area.

Utility value was, in general, one of the focuses of development. The rear seats can be adjusted by 14 centimetres, and the rear seat backrest set to a steeper rake, making room for such items as bulky boxes. There is still plenty of room for one or two people in the rear since the rear seat back rest can be can be split 40:20:40, with each section folding down individually.

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 standard fore/aft adjustment can be moved forward.

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

The GLA features the latest in driving assistance systems from Mercedes-Benz. Offering the driver cooperative support, the GLA sets one of the highest standards of active safety in the compact car segment. The very latest functions of the Intelligent Drive Package include, for example, the turning manoeuvre function, the exit warning function, and a warning when pedestrians are detected near zebra crossings.

The Intelligent Drive Package includes:

  • Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC with the functions:
    • braking for stationary vehicles,
    • extended automatic restarting in stop-and-go traffic
    • activation of “Gliding” in the ECO drive mode,
  • Active Steer Assist with the functions:
    • Active Emergency Braking Assist – with automatic unlocking and placement of an SOS call to the Mercedes-Benz emergency call centre after the vehicle has come to a stop
    • Active Lane Change Assist in conjunction with navigation,
  • Active Speed Limit Assist with reaction to changes in speed limits in conjunction with Traffic Sign Assist,
  • Route-based speed adjustment when approaching bends, roundabouts, toll stations, T-junctions and before leaving highways/expressways – reduction of vehicle speed when encountering the end of a traffic jam
  • 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. For the first time, when the vehicle is at a standstill, a visual in the exterior mirror will appear, warning the driver that a vehicle is driving past in the critical area. If the driver uses the door handle at this moment, an additional acoustic warning sounds. The road user driving past must be moving at more than 2 m/s. The function is also available when the vehicle is stationary and up to three minutes after the ignition has been switched off. Active Blind Spot Assist, a component of the Intelligent Drive Package, can additionally respond to vehicles in the blind spot and in the critical zone with active braking intervention.

Traffic Sign Assist: posted speed limits are displayed for the current section of the route through image recognition and information from the digital road map of the navigation system. The vehicle speed is compared with the speed limit. When the driver selects the appropriate settings, a visual/visual-audible warning signal is issued any time the speed limit is exceeded. No-entry restrictions are also recognized. Furthermore, the system warns of detected persons in the area of pedestrian crossings.

Travel relaxed: ENERGIZING seat kinetics

ENERGIZING seat kinetics supports orthopedically beneficial changes in seating posture by means of minute changes to the inclination of the seat cushions and backrest. ENERGIZING seat kinetics is standard for the front seats.

Neat and clean: the new car wash function

As the first model in its class to do so, the GLA features a car wash function, a feature shared with its big brother, the GLS. With just one command, the exterior mirrors are folded in, and the side windows and sliding roof are closed. The information from the rain sensor is suppressed so that the windscreen wipers remain switched off in the car wash. The climate control switches to air-recirculation mode and, after a few seconds, the front image from the 360° camera (if fitted) is displayed in order to assist the driver when driving 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 front axle of the new GLA features a McPherson design. Wheel control is confidently handled by a transverse control arm below the wheel centre, the McPherson strut, and one tie rod. The wishbone is forged from aluminum. This reduces both weight and unsprung masses. The steering knuckles are made of cast aluminum.

The GLA features a sophisticated 4-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. The bigger wheel arches and the wider diameter of the wheels, at 18 to 20 inches, result in a higher ground clearance (143 millimetres/+9 millimetres).

More traction when needed: 4MATIC all-wheel drive

In Canada, the GLA comes equipped as standard with the permanent all-wheel drive system 4MATIC with fully variable torque. 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. This comprises six plates (12 friction surfaces) with a carbon fibre coating and is capable of transmitting as much as 1000 newton metres of torque. Automatic adjustment is made for wear and tear.

Unlike the previous model, in which the actuation was hydraulic, the clutch in the new GLA is electro-mechanically operated. Via a two-stage spur gear and ball ramp, an electric motor exerts an axial force on the clutch pack to open or close the plates. One element of this compact unit is the rear axle differential; this compensates the different paths/rotational speeds of the rear wheels. 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. There are no unnecessary losses from a synchronous hydraulic pump and the all-wheel drive unit has direct diagnostics capability.

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. A multitude of sensors are used to report the current driving situation to the actual regulation system, based for example on the following factors:

  • According to the driving program, varying switch-on/switch-off threshold values
  • Driver input (accelerator, brakes, steering)
  • Friction between the four wheels and the road
  • Uphill/downhill gradients
  • Winding/straight road
  • Speed

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

The Off-Road Engineering Package is included in the optional Premium Package. The individual package components:

  • 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 up on the media display. The realistic presentation of gradient, inclination angle and technical settings helps the driver to judge manoeuvres correctly.
  • If so desired, Downhill Speed Regulation (DSR) automatically adheres to a preselected, slow speed between approx. 2 and 18 km/h, which is shown in the instrument cluster and in the optional head-up display. With targeted brake applications, DSR helps retain control during steep downhill driving.

Powerful and efficient: the engines

The new GLA places its trust in the four-cylinder gasoline engines which were completely modernized for the new edition of the compact model series. In comparison to the previous generation, these engines are characterized by significantly increased specific outputs, improved efficiency, and reduced emissions.

Top of the line is the Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 4MATIC. The 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo engine has an immediate response to accelerator pedal commands, high tractive power (295 lb-ft max. torque from 3000 rpm), a supremely lively response, and an emotive engine note. The crankcase made of high-strength, lightweight die-cast aluminum reduces the vehicle weight where it matters most for driving dynamics. A twin-scroll exhaust gas turbocharger is used for turbocharging. It combines optimum responsiveness at low engine speeds with a strong power increase at higher speeds.

The high technological standards of the new four-cylinder engine are also underscored by numerous efficiency-enhancing measures. These include CAMTRONIC variable valve train, intelligent thermal management for coolant and oil, high-precision piezo injectors and multi-spark ignition. In production, the patented CONICSHAPE® cylinder honing reduces in-engine friction and also increases efficiency.

The models at a glance:









1991 cc

1991 cc


221 hp @ 5,500 rpm

302 hp @ 5,800 rpm

Max. torque

258 lb-ft @ 1800 – 4000 rpm

295 lb-ft @ 3000-4000 rpm


1800 – 4000

Acceleration 0-100 km/h


5.1 s

Top speed

210 km/h

210 km/h

From Coupe to SUV: a broad range in the compact class

With the GLA, the new compact car family from Mercedes-Benz Canada now consists of five models. With two wheelbase lengths and all-wheel drive, the range is broad in scope. With the introduction of the GLB, Mercedes-Benz, for the first time, is offering a compact model with seven seats. Rounding out this compact car family are the performance oriented versions from Mercedes-AMG. Since the launch of the A-Class in 1997, the first compact car from Mercedes-Benz, more than seven million vehicles belonging to this segment have been delivered worldwide. Since its market debut in 2014, around a million units of the GLA SUV have been delivered to customers all over the world.

The Mercedes-Benz Canada compact car family at a glance:




A-Class Hatch (W 177) The new benchmark in the compact class: as youthful and dynamic as always, but as grown-up and comfortable as never before Rastatt, Germany
A-Class Sedan (V 177) Compact entry into the world of Mercedes-Benz premium sedan cars Rastatt, Germany &
Aguascalientes, Mexico
CLA Coupe
(C 118)
Four-door coupe with emotional appeal and high conquest potential Kecskemét, Hungary
GLB (X 247) Functional compact SUV for family and friends with up to seven seats Aguascalientes, Mexico
GLA (H 247) Stylish SUV and sporty brother of the functional GLB Rastatt, Germany

About Mercedes-Benz Canada

Mercedes-Benz Canada is responsible for the sales, marketing, and service of Mercedes-Benz and Mercedes-AMG passenger vehicles, Mercedes-Benz Vans, and smart. Headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Mercedes-Benz Canada Inc. employs approximately 1,200 people in 14 locations across Canada. Through a nationwide network of seven Mercedes-Benz own retail operations and 52 authorized dealerships, Mercedes-Benz Canada sold 49,758 vehicles in 2018. This positioned Mercedes-Benz as the top luxury manufacturer in Canada for the fifth consecutive year.

For more information, please contact:
Lucas Dias        416-847-7466             [email protected]

Further information from Mercedes-Benz Canada is available at

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