The range of compact 35-series entry-level models to the world of Mercedes-AMG is now complete. The seven-member family extends from the A-Class as a hatchback and notchback (in a long version for China) to the CLA Coupé and Shooting Brake and the seven-seater GLB – and is now rounded off by the new GLA 35 4MATIC (combined fuel consumption 7.5-7.4 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions 171-170 g/km). The technical basis is already well-proven: the agile high-torque 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo engine delivers 225 kW (306 hp), which is variably distributed to all four wheels via the 8-speed dual-clutch transmission and the all-wheel drive. The dynamic performance (acceleration from 0-100 km/h in 5.2 seconds) and the Performance driving experience are aimed at sporty and lifestyle-oriented target groups.
The design of the GLA 35 is based on the AMG Line, but also makes unmistakable statements with distinctive features. The AMG-specific radiator grille emphasises the model’s membership of the AMG family. Other recognition features include the trim on the louvres in the outer air inlets and the front splitter in silver chrome, or optionally in high-gloss black.
Eye-catching features when viewed from the side are the 19-inch 5-twin-spoke light-alloy wheels painted in tantalum grey with a high-sheen finish (other designs optionally available in 19, 20 or 21 inches) and the door panels with inserts in silver chrome or high-gloss black (optional). The rear view is dominated by the striking rear apron with a new diffuser insert, the AMG spoiler lip on the roof spoiler and the two round tailpipes on the left and right. The slim, two-section rear lights lend an impression of breadth to the GLA’s rear. With design features in high-gloss black, dark-tinted glass from the B-pillar to the rear and black chrome-plated exhaust tailpipes, the optional AMG Night package ensures an even more individual appearance.
In the vehicle interior, the high-tech ambience is complemented by the fully-digital displays. Characteristic touches include the seat upholstery in ARTICO man-made leather/DINAMICA microfibre in black with contrasting topstitching in red and red seat belts. The interior trim with a carbon-fibre structure and the air vents with a red ring provide further highlights. An interior in black/neva white ARTICO man-made leather is also available as standard. There are also four optional leather upholsteries.
The combination of sporty design and sophisticated details is also featured in the MBUX infotainment system with its innovative operating and display concept. Emotively appealing presentations underline the clear control structure and feature brilliant maximum-resolution 3D graphics. Visually, the two displays under one shared glass cover blend into a Widescreen Cockpit and as a central element consequently emphasise the horizontal orientation of the interior design.
Whether it’s operated with the touchpad, Touch Control buttons on the steering wheel, by voice control or gesture control: the control concept is both versatile and flexible. Thanks to the innovative voice control – activated with the keyword “Hey Mercedes” – the intelligent software recognises and understands practically all commands common in infotainment and vehicle control – even when expressed indirectly.
The customer can choose between the three AMG display styles “Classic”, “Sport” and “Supersport” for the instrument cluster. The “Supersport” mode is particularly striking with a central, round rev counter and additional information presented in the form of bars to the left and right of the rev counter: with a three-dimensional perspective, they reach far into the background to an artificial horizon. Via the AMG menu, the driver can call up various special displays such as Warm-up, Set-up, G-Force and Engine Data. With individual AMG displays such as visualisation of the driving modes or telemetry data, the touchscreen multimedia display likewise underlines the dynamic configuration.
The centre console in a piano-lacquer look finish with standard touchpad has additional buttons that control the functions 3-stage ESP®, manual transmission mode and the AMG RIDE CONTROL suspension with adaptively adjustable damping. The multifunction sports steering wheel in nappa leather ensures first-class ergonomics and intuitive operation. The steering wheel rim with a flat bottom, perforated leather in the grip area and red contrasting topstitching is both attractive and pleasant to the touch. The galvanised steering wheel gearshift paddles allow an even sportier driving style with manual shift operations.
The optional AMG Performance steering wheel and accompanying AMG steering wheel buttons are visibly and tangibly configured for performance. The material is extremely grippy, and like the 12 o’clock marking is reminiscent of motorsport features. The steering wheel buttons allow fast and confident operation of specific dynamic functions – for a focussed and performance-oriented driving style. Looking downwards, the brushed stainless steel sports pedals convey a motorsport-like look and functionality. The rubber studs ensure extra grip. The black floor mats with AMG lettering and a nubuck leather-look border emphasise AMG family membership.
The optional, personal racing engineer AMG TRACK PACE is integrated into the MBUX multimedia system for the specific analysis and improvement of driving skills. This is assisted by the satellite-based GPS positioning system and data such as lateral and longitudinal acceleration, accelerator and brake pedal position or steering angle. All the values are clearly laid out and can be read off directly in the vehicle.
The data are displayed on the multimedia display, in the instrument cluster and on the optional head-up display. Well-known race tracks like, for example, the Nürburgring or Spa Francorchamps, are already stored. Furthermore, it is also possible to record your own circuits. The map display can be switched from 2D to 3D and updated online. The MBUX Augmented Reality function also allows the ideal line of a stored race track to be displayed on the multimedia display or optional head-up display, allowing the driver to improve lap times with a virtual instructor on board.
Specific measures to strengthen the front section of the bodyshell form the basis for the precise turn-in ability and the toe and camber stability of the chassis components, even when driving at speed. A “shear panel”, a bolted aluminium plate under the engine, increases the torsional stiffness of the front section of the GLA 35. Two additional diagonal braces at the front of the underbody also reduce torsion and increase the stiffness.
The 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo engine has an immediate response to accelerator pedal commands, high tractive power (400 Nm max. torque from 3000 rpm), a supremely lively response and an emotive engine note. The crankcase made of high-strength, lightweight die-cast aluminium 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 AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 8G dual-clutch transmission also contributes to the agile and dynamic character of the new GLA 35 4MATIC.
The standard RACE-START function allows maximum acceleration from stationary and is a highly emotively appealing experience. The functions of the AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 8G transmission are rounded off with a temporary M mode activated by operating the steering wheel paddle shifters in any drive mode, and with the manual transmission mode “M” for manual gearshifts with the paddle shifters.
Dynamism, agility and performance – these three attributes characterise the standard all-wheel drive of the new AMG GLA 35 4MATIC. The variable AMG Performance 4MATIC combines the best possible traction with plenty of driving enjoyment. The torque distribution is infinitely variable to suit the dynamic handling requirements. The spectrum ranges from front-wheel drive only to a 50:50 percent distribution to the front and rear axles. A multi-disc clutch integrated into the rear axle differential is responsible for variable torque distribution between the front and rear axles. It is controlled electro-mechanically. The influencing factors for torque distribution are not only the driving speed, the lateral and longitudinal acceleration and the steering angle, but also the difference in rotational speed between the individual wheels, the gear selection and the accelerator position.
The main advantages of electro-mechanical control over an electro-hydraulic system relate to more refined driving dynamics – primarily due to the significantly faster response and speed-independent actuation of the discs over the entire adjustment range. As long as ESP® is activated, the 4MATIC system stays in “Comfort” mode. As soon as the driver presses the “ESP® SPORT Handling” or “ESP® OFF” button, the 4MATIC system switches to “Sport” mode – for even more agile handling and even higher stability limits.
The five AMG DYNAMIC SELECT drive programs “Slippery”, “Comfort”, “Sport”, “Sport +” and “Individual” enable a wide range of vehicle characteristics from comfortable to dynamic. They change relevant parameters, such as the response of the engine and transmission.
The new “Slippery” drive program is optimised for low-grip, icy road conditions, with reduced power and a flat torque curve. Smooth gear changes and earlier upshifts support the driving impression characterised by stability.
The “Comfort” mode stands for comfortable and fuel-efficient driving, for example thanks to very early upshifts. Suspension and steering are set up for an emphasis on comfort.
“Sport” and “Sport+” place the focus on agility and driving fun with sporty engine and transmission tuning. The “Individual” drive mode enables the individual parameters to be selected and saved according to personal preferences. In addition, the gliding function is available with the “Reduced” and “Moderate” drive settings.
AMG DYNAMICS: more agility with high stability
As a new feature in the AMG DYNAMIC SELECT driving modes, the new GLA 35 4MATIC comes with AMG DYNAMICS. This integrated dynamic handling control system extends the stabilising functions of ESP® with agility-enhancing interventions according to the driver’s wishes. During dynamic cornering, for example, imperceptible braking intervention at the rear inside wheel creates a defined yawing moment about the vertical axis. The effect: the GLA 35 4MATIC steers immediately and very precisely. The different manifestations of AMG DYNAMICS are called “Basic” and “Advanced”. On the multimedia display, when a drive program is selected, the new AMG DYNAMICS symbol is displayed together with the corresponding additional information.
“Basic” is assigned to the “Slippery” and “Comfort” drive modes. In this case, the GLA 35 4MATIC has extremely stable handling with a high level of yaw damping.
“Advanced” is activated in the programs “Sport” and “Sport+”. The GLA 35 4MATIC remains neutrally balanced. The lower yaw damping, lower steering angle requirement and enhanced agility support dynamic manoeuvres such as driving on winding country roads. In the “Individual” drive program the driver can set the AMG DYNAMICS levels individually. Furthermore, the settings for the AMG DYNAMICS stages can also be separately selected via the AMG steering wheel buttons, irrespective of the driving mode.
The AMG RIDE CONTROL suspension is tuned for high cornering speeds with a low tendency to roll. This allows the dynamic potential of the GLA 35 4MATIC to be fully realised. The high reserves at the critical limits guarantee sheer driving pleasure – while the vehicle remains safe and predictable at all times. A McPherson suspension strut construction is fitted on the front axle. Suspension is taken care of by one transverse control arm below the wheel centre, one suspension strut and one tie rod respectively. The special axle geometry reduces torque steer – for high comfort and agile handling.
The AMG RIDE CONTROL adaptive damping system enables the driver to choose between three different suspension control modes. The spectrum ranges from comfort-focused to sporty. The system operates fully automatically, adapting the damping forces for each wheel according to the driving situation and road conditions. This happens within milliseconds and is infinitely variable, with a wide spread of damping characteristics. The result is that ride comfort and agility are enhanced in equal measure.
The high-performance brake system ensures fade-resistant deceleration and short braking distances. The front axle is fitted with 4-piston monoblock fixed callipers and 350-millimetre brake discs, the rear axle with 1-piston sliding callipers and 330-millimetre brake discs. The discs are internally ventilated and perforated to better dissipate heat and prevent brake fading, even with extreme use. The silver-painted brake callipers have black AMG lettering.
The speed-sensitive, electro-mechanical sports power steering supports a sporty driving style with its direct turn-in ability. It has a special rack with a variable transmission ratio and two characteristic curves: depending on which drive mode the driver has selected, it provides taut and sporty or more comfortable steering feedback. The steering servo assistance is reduced at high speeds, and continuously increases at lower speeds. This means that comparatively little steering force is required at low speeds, while the best possible control over the vehicle is maintained at high speeds. The rigid mounting in the integral carrier connects the steering even better with the body and thus increases steering precision.
The AMG exhaust system confirms the sporty yet day-to-day character of the new model. Depending on the choice of driving mode, the sound signature ranges from emotive (Sport+) to discreet (Slippery, Comfort, Sport). The sound characteristics are controlled by an exhaust gas flap, depending on engine speed and load.