Few brands do recombinant DNA better than Mercedes-Benz. The luxury manufacturer spins dozens of variants from its core product lines, including a carousel of coupes and convertibles and a stable of sedans, wagons, and SUVs. Even the gullwinged SLS shares a few parts with other M-B models. With their familial resemblance and similar hardware underneath, Mercedes vehicles rival the Habsburgs for adhering rigidly to a house style. Now it’s time for the entry-level front-drive CLA sedan to contribute its genetic material to the newest product of Mercedes meiosis, the GLA compact crossover.design
As would be expected, dominant traits abound in the GLA. That means the swoopy and coupe-y lines from the sedan are prominent on the crossover, but they look less edgy in the context of this segment, where such treatment is commonplace even on stuff like Mazda CX-5s.For the four-wheel-drive 4MATIC version to qualify as a truck in the eyes of the EPA, however, our GLA will ride 1.2 inches higher. /p p This won’t help aerodynamics, but the GLA will adopt some measures that made the CLA’s claimed 0.23 drag coefficient possible, including underbody cladding, a rear diffuser, the same side mirrors as the sedan, and other wind-cleaving design features. The production GLA won’t get the novel pincushion “diamond” grille from the CLA, nor will it have the frameless windows of the a href="/news/mercedes-benz-concept-gla-photos-and-info-news" target="_self"Shanghai show’s GLA concept/a—a concession both to cost and a market that may not appreciate that feature anyway. /p table border="0" cellpadding="2" cellspacing="0"x"> interior
Borrowed directly from the CLA, the interior trimmings are deluxe enough to uphold the Mercedes image to first-time customers. The sedan’s huge swath of faux aluminum across the dash is here, though buyers can also opt for burled walnut, poplar wood, or Designo finishes.
The GLA alleviates one of the biggest shortcomings of the CLA: its limited rear headroom. The higher roofline should allow taller passengers to ride without slouching, but they shouldn’t expect more legroom. To make the back seat less claustrophobic, base GLA models will eschew the front sport seats and their integrated headrests in favor of a conventional seat that blocks less of the forward view.
The diesel model available in Europe (and pictured here) is not slated for the U.S. in large part because the extra cost of a compression-ignition engine and its expensive emissions-control system aren’t a good fit with the base GLA’s targeted $31, 000 entry point.
Despite all the commonality with the new mini-Benz, the GLA’s electrically assisted steering rack won’t be the same Direct Steer variable-ratio system from the CLA. A slower ratio and, presumably, a greater amount of assist will allow navigation of Jamba Juice parking lots with a papaya smoothie firmly in-hand. Count on the tuning of the front struts and rear multilink suspension to be on the soft side. A Sport package adds 19-inch wheels but leaves the suspension untouched.