MERCEDES BENZ GLA Models/Series Timeline, Specifications & Photos

Generations: 4
First production year: 2013
Engines: Mild hybrid, Diesel, Plug-in hybrid, Gasoline
Body style: SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle)
MERCEDES BENZ GLA photo gallery

Mercedes-Benz built the GLA on the same platform as the A-Class and the GLB, thus creating a compact-sized crossover for urban environments but still being able to tackle some unpaved roads.

Thanks to some input from Renault-Nissan Alliance, the GLA's first generation came on the market in 2013, followed by a second generation six years later, in 2019. But despite having the three-pointed star badge on the grille, it still needed a refresh after four years. Thus, in 2023, the German automaker updated the lineup.

With its new standard LED headlights, the updated GLA finally matched the position it deserved in the premium segment. In addition, they flanked the redesigned grille that sported a horizontal slat and the big three-pointed star badge. Moreover, the lower bumper sported a bow-tie-like area, with two side scoops and a slimmer area squeezed between the upper and lower grilles. From its profile, the standard 17" light alloy wheels offered the car a luxurious yet sporty look. For those looking for something more, the automaker offered options for 18" and 19" sets. Finally, at the back, the GLA received a new set of LED taillights with two distinctive blocks: one on the quarter panels and the other on the tailgate.

Inside, the five-seat GLA provided enough room for four adults or five on short jaunts. Mercedes-Benz also improved the MBAUX infotainment system, which now sported a standard 7" screen for the instrument panel and a second 10.25" for the navigation and the rest of the sound system's features. In addition, a twin set of 10.25" displays was available as an option. Thus, the driver could have seen the dials easier.

Mercedes-Benz also revised the drivetrains and provided the GLA with more electrified versions. Besides those, it also offered the vehicle with a few turbo-diesel engines.

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plug-in hybrid engines:


MERCEDES BENZ GLA photo gallery

The second generation of the Mercedes-Benz GLA attempts to ride on the success of its predecessor with an all-new design language and various improvements that transform the compact crossover into a more SUV-like model. Based on the MFA2 (Modular Front-wheel-drive Architecture) platform, which is shared with seven other compact Mercedes-Benz models, the new GLA has a brand new character. Higher than its predecessor by more than 10 centimeters, the new model offers increased headroom and even more legroom, despite being actually shorter than the model it replaces.

Also as a novelty, the models fitted with all-wheel-drive 4Matic now feature the so-called Off-Road Engineering Package as standard, which consists of an additional driving program, a downhill driving assist system and a special light function on the optional Multibeam LED headlights. The engine lineup comprises a host of new or improved four-cylinder engines on both gasoline and diesel flavor, sending their power to the front or both axles via a six-speed manual transmission or a 7- and 8-speed dual-clutch transmission, depending on engine choice and trim level. Just like its other compact brothers, the second-generation GLA comes fitted as standard with the award-winning MBUX infotainment system, which can also be accessed via the central touchscreen.

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MERCEDES BENZ GLA (X156) photo gallery

Mercedes-Benz refreshed its small-sized cross-over GLA in 2017, trying to keep up with its main rivals, BMW X1 and Audi Q3.

After four years on the market, the GLA needed an update, and the German premium carmaker tried its best to make it more appealing to the customers. It was the high-lifted version of the A-Class, and it came fitted with all-wheel drive system as standard for specific markets, although it was more of a vehicle ready to conquer a snowy road, not a muddy track.

At the front, the refreshed GLA received new daytime running lights inside the headlights, flanking the twin-slat grille at the front. Mercedes introduced the option for LED lights for both low and high beams. The two powerdomes on the hood tried to emphasize the car's sporty character and the roof rails on the roof were good for transporting bicycles. At the back, the lower silver trim that mimicked a shield hosted the exhausts.

Inside, the GLA was big enough to accommodate four, even five people. There were two bucket seats at the front and a bench in the back. On the dashboard, the round vents were new, and also the floating infotainment system was mounted on top of the center stack.

Under the hood, the carmaker offered the GLA with a very wide engine range, either gasoline or turbo-diesel. A revised seven-speed automatic gearbox was also introduced. That sent the power in all corners via an intelligent system that split the torque up to 50:50 between the front and rear wheels.

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MERCEDES BENZ GLA (X156) photo gallery

If back in the days Mercedes was focused on producing large executive saloons, the German carmaker made a step forward and joined the compact premium car market with its GLA.

Launched in 2013, the then-new compact crossover shared its platform with the Mercedes A Class.

Aesthetically, the GLA borrowed its design cues from other Mercedes vehicles in the lineup, including the CLA 4-door coupe.

Inside, the cabin’s design was familiar, with many elements taken from its siblings, such as the air vents, the gauges and many others. The steering-wheel-mounted gear knob offered even more interior space.

With great attention paid to details, the cabin was fitted with premium materials that looked very well put together in a classy manner.

Customers could choose between multiple powertrains available, from small diesel units to a powerful gasoline powerplant that developed 211 hp.

Even in the base version, the GLA was well equipped with standard 18-inch alloys, a stop-start system to lower the fuel consumption, air-conditioning, adaptive brake assist and even a collision prevention assist system.

Other numerous safety systems were available with the Lane Tracking package that included Blind Spot Monitor, Lane Keeping Assist or Adaptive Highbeam Assist, as well as an Active Parking Assist system that allowed parallel parking.

The GLA scored really well when it came to the cargo area, offering 45% more trunk space than the A class and generally more than other vehicles in its class.

REVIEW: 2015 MERCEDES-BENZ GLA250 4Matic, GLA45 AMG   full description and technical specifications