By Moses Akaigwe 08072100049
AFTER a spectacular first outing at the Shanghai Auto Show in China, and later at the Frankfurt Auto Show in Germany – both three years ago – Mercedes-Benz GLA compact crossover has finally driven into the Nigerian market where it is blazing the trail for the brand’s new generation compact cars (NGCC).
Positioned below the GLC-Class, Mercedes-Benz GLA is a premium sports utility vehicle defined by its progressive, sporty character and agile handling which significantly differentiate it from the competition.
Introducing GLA recently, Mr. Mirko Plath pointed out that the other strong points setting SUV apart from the competition included the expressive design and the high everyday practicality as well as comfort and safety features typical of Mercedes-Benz.
“The bold GLA fuses authentic SUV versatility with the pure passion that defines every Mercedes-Benz”, remarked Plath, who is the Managing Director of Weststar Associates, the authorised general distributor of Mercedes-Benz in Nigeria. To him, GLA is serene in day-to-day motoring and has good off road capability.
“Its nimble size delivers an ideal mix of flexibility, fuel-efficiency and fun. Its advanced engineering delivers genuine capability, true luxury and class-leading innovation. The GLA is indeed a sport utility vehicle with cutting edge drive systems and dynamic design. Based on the A-class hatchback, lovers can now enjoy even more comfort both with the standard suspension, and the slightly firmer setup that’s fitted to AMG Line versions”.
The GLA has an interior with sporty character with meticulously finished high quality materials. It is pleasure for all senses and distraction for none of them as its freestanding color screen and intuitive central controller put a world of entertainment and information within reach. A larger 7-inch display and Bluetooth® audio streaming are standard. Innovative multimedia options for navigation, music and online features, including an even bigger 8-inch screen, make going anywhere easier and more fun.
The GLA 180 version which Weststar unveiled recently features a a 1.6 litre four cyclinder engine delivering 80kW and 260Nm of torque. The GLA 45 AMG still holds the pole position in relations to driving dynamics: it accelates from 0 to 100km/h in 4.8 seconds and reaches a top speed of 250km/h. We sum up this approach in one word: BlueEFFICIENCY, which means with the GLA you are only burning fuel when necessary. In addition, every GLA is fitted standard with ECO start/stop function which temporarily shuts down the engine when the vehicle is motionless.
The GLA Turbo power is a boost for torque, and efficiency as the “power domes” in the GLA hood are a Mercedes- Benz tradition. So is the progressive power beneath. A 122hp – 360hp turbo inline-4 teams 3rd-generation Direct Injection with advanced rapid-multispark ignition. ECO Start/Stop automatically shuts off the engine at red lights to save fuel, and then restarts the instant you’re ready to move out.
The GLA boasts generous space, style and substance, from its wing-like dash to its power lift-gate and the power driver seat adjusts in 14 ways. The split rear seats make way for 43.6 cubic feet of cargo. Truth is, the more you get into the GLA, and the more you’ll get out of it, as the Mercedes-Benz cabin is where the most rigid standards are the most rewarding to touch.
From the road to the roof, the GLA shines on every surface as it is made to carve up the corners, not to cut them. So it comes standard with beefy 18-inch wheels and an agile 4-wheel independent suspension engineered to shine on any surface and for even more sparkle, there are standard chrome roof rails, as well as a choice of 19-inch wheel options and accessory racks and carriers for the roof.
Wesstar said it invested hugely in after-sales support for the new GLA 180 even before its arrival, assuring that replacement parts availability and service will be of the three-pointed star standard.