Adding to its plethora of launches for 2014, Mercedes-Benz will be officially launching the GLA premium compact SUV in the country on 30th September. The GLA will be competing against the offerings from arch rivals Audi and BMW which include the X1 and Q3 respectively in the premium entry-level SUV space. A late entrant into the segment, Mercedes promises that the GLA offers a lot more than the competition and certainly is a vital product in the long term for the German automaker in India.
Based on the same Modular Front Architecture (MFA) platform that also underpins the A and B-Class models, the GLA gets a similar front fascia as the A-Class. The large and bold front grille adds a muscular touch to the premium design, while the car’s silhouette is more of a sporty crossover than a full blown SUV. Inside the cabin too, the A-Class influence is evident with similarly laid out centre console, propeller themed air-con vents and paddle shifters visible. In comparison to competition, the GLA definitely scores brownie points on style and will easily be the best-looking SUV in it segment when launched.
Mercedes will be offering the GLA in petrol and diesel engine options christened as the GLA 200. The petrol version gets badged as the GLA 200 Sport and draws power from the 1.6-litre 4-cylinder turbocharged, direct-injection motor that belts out 156 PS of peak power and 250 Nm of torque. The diesel variant on the other hand is badged as the GLA 200 CDI and gets a 2.1-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder unit that produces 136 PS of power and 300 Nm of torque. Both the models are paired to Mercedes’ tried and tested 7G-DCT automatic transmission.
In terms of performance, the GLA 200 petrol is capable of doing 0-100 km/hr in 8.9 seconds, while the diesel version does the same sprint in 10 seconds. Both the models come with a top speed of 205 km/hr. High on style and definitely higher on equipment, Mercedes will be bringing the GLA as a CBU and is expected to price the compact SUV starting from around Rs. 28 lakhs going up to Rs. 33 lakhs (ex-showroom, Delhi) for the top-end diesel version.
With both the BMW X1 and Audi Q3 have been in the same space for quite some time now, it will be very important for Mercedes-Benz to establish the GLA as a competent product. Unlike the Audi Q3 S, we do not expect Mercedes to offer a stripped down version of the GLA to bring in the volumes. However if the success of the A-Class is anything to go by, the Stuttgart based manufacturer definitely has all the right ingredients in its hands and would be capitalizing on the growing affinity the country has towards premium SUVs.