After seemingly forever, Mercedes-Benz introduce a four-wheel-drive diesel GLA and with the more powerful 220 d engine too. In one fell swoop, have they righted everything that was wrong?
Story: Jim Gorde
Photography: Sanjay Raikar
Better late than never is an adage usually applicable to certain people. Yet, in the car world, things move so fast it wouldn’t be appropriate to borrow it now, would it? Well, some cases make one dig into the old adage bin to find something that best fits the situation.
The GLA has been a success for Mercedes-Benz, to say the very least. Its chiselled styling, compact size and, of course, the badge on the front grille seemed reasons enough for many to plonk down luxury car money on what was essentially a jacked up A-Class. Thus far, we’ve only had the 184-PS GLA 200 petrol and the 136-PS 200 d, both with just front-wheel drive and a more or less basic interior. The 360-PS AMG GLA 45 was a different animal altogether but it also cost twice as much as the ‘regular’ four-cylinder cars.
So what’s new that’s got us so excited? Well, for starters, the ‘4MATIC’ badge finally makes an appearance, and the fact that the other badge says ‘220 d’ and not ‘200 d’ means it gets an additional 34 PS and 50 Nm to go with the four-wheel drive. It also sports the Off-road Package, from its elder siblings, and has more ground clearance too, plus beefier exterior sleek aluminium skid-plates and side-skirts, with visibly improved approach, departure and ramp breakover angles. The wheels are 18-inchers with 235/50 R18 Yokohama C.drive 2 rubber. The ‘Activity Edition’ means it’s a proper sports activity vehicle now; as opposed to the not-very-active vehicles, I suppose, the front-wheel-drive versions are.
The GLA 220 d 4MATIC is a bit of a complicated combination. Being an MFA-platform car means the engine — the old 2,143-cc turbo-diesel unit — is mounted transversely and is paired to a 7G-DCT twin-clutch auto ‘box which is essentially front-biased. Yes, there is torque transfer on demand and it is an intelligent system; however, the output here is 170 PS and 350 Nm.
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