Luxury car buyers in India now have a brand-new option made available to them – the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA. This is the latest avatar of the posh German brand’s subcompact luxury crossover SUV, and it is based on the same platform as the all-new A-Class. Mercedes-Benz India was supposed to bring the second-generation GLA a couple of months ago, but Covid-19 had other plans and played spoilsport. Now that the 2021 GLA is finally here, customers have the option of choosing between three different variants spread across two trim levels. Introductory prices of the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA ranges between Rs 42.10 Lakh and Rs 57.30 Lakh (ex-showroom, India).
However, once the titillating introductory period runs out on July 1, prices will go up by an additional Rs 1.5 lakh. As mentioned above, the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA is available in multiple flavors: there’s the entry-level GLA 200 Progressive Line, GLA 220d Progressive Line, GLA 220d AMG Line, and perched on top is the AMG GLA35 4MATIC. After the AMG GLC43 4MATIC and AMG A35 sedan, the AMG GLA35 is the latest in the line of AMGs to be locally assembled in India. In India, the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA will battle it out with the likes of the BMW X1, Mini Countryman, Volvo XC40, and the upcoming new Audi Q3.
Speaking about the second-generation GLA’s launch in India was Martin Schwenk, MD & CEO at Mercedes-Benz India. He said,
“The new GLA, which has grown to be more aggressive, bold-looking, and tech-laden than ever before, has been a much-awaited product for customers. The SUV now also comes as a locally manufactured AMG with the AMG GLA 35 4M, our third AMG model. In addition, the industry’s best 8-year extended warranty on engine and transmission makes the GLA and AMG GLA 35 4M compelling products, driving complete peace of mind. We are offering these products for our discerning customers across markets where economic activities continue.”
Compared to its precursor, the second-generation GLA looks sportier and follows Mercedes-Benz’s new design language. Furthermore, the German automaker has bumped up the dimensions of the GLA by giving it a longer wheelbase (by 30mm) and making it taller (by 104mm). Thanks to this spurt in growth, the new GLA appears more like a crossover SUV than a hatchback on stilts. But being honest, almost every small crossover has the appearance of a large hatchback – the Volvo XC40 is an exception. One of the key differences between this GLA and the old one lies in the way the exterior has been sculpted. Where the old model had a lot of creases and contoured lines, the second-generation GLA takes a simpler but contemporary approach to styling.
No matter which angles you look at it from, the 2021 GLA comes across as a better amalgamated and more cohesive design than its predecessor. Moreover, the extra height of this new GLA makes it seem mature, whilst the rear styling is both urbane and visually pleasing. That said, some might prefer the edgy loom of the previous-gen model, even though it lacks that ‘SUV’ appeal of its successor.
If you want the most sporty and stylish package, you will have to pick the “burn a hole in my pocket” AMG GLA35 variant. While it costs nearly Rs 60 Lakh (ex-showroom), the AMG GLA35 does feature some fancy touches over the standard GLA. For instance, the exterior gets more aggressive-looking front & rear bumpers, swanky Multibeam LED headlamps, AMG-specific front grille, sportier 19-inch alloy wheels, a sportier rear spoiler, and larger rounded exhausts.
Meanwhile, the interior of the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA also has its own set of revisions over the previous car. Gone is the previous-gen infotainment head unit, replaced now by the brand’s new MBUX system. The 10.25-inch MBUX unit not only looks nicer and more modern, but it also ropes in connected car tech along with wireless Apple CarPlay & Android Auto.
Moreover, the overall design of the front part of the cabin imparts a sense of excitement and verve – something the old model lacked. On top of this, the quality of materials has certainly gone up by a few notches. As far as features are concerned, the 2021 GLA gets 64-color LED mood lighting, a panoramic sunroof, wireless charging, a Burmester audio system, power-operated front seats with memory function, and AMG sports suspension, to name a few.
Mechanically, the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA shares its powertrain with the newly-launched A-Class Limousine. The GLA200 is powered by a 1.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine that makes 161hp and 250Nm of torque. This motor is paired with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox that spins the front wheels, accelerating the GLA to 100 kmph in 8.7 seconds.
Meanwhile, the other turbo-petrol engine is found in the spicy AMG GLA35. It comes with a 2.0-liter four-banger that puts out 302hp and 400Nm of torque, driving all four wheels via an 8-speed dual-clutch gearbox. This pairing results in a 0-100 kmph sprint time of 5.1 seconds, plus a top whack of 250 kmph.
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