NEWS

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 and Mercedes-AMG GLA45 Preview

img 1153945333 1483718858150 jpg 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 | Manufacturer image

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Competes with: BMW X1, Audi Q3, Infiniti QX30

Looks like: If it looks different from the old one, I can’t see how

Drivetrains: 208-horsepower (375 for the AMG), turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder; seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission; front-or all-wheel drive

Hits dealers: Summer 2017

As the mad rush toward small utility vehicles continues to sweep the world, automakers are working hard to keep their offerings fresh and appealing, just like Mercedes-Benz has done with the updated 2018 GLA250 and AMG GLA45 compact SUVs at the 2017 North American International Auto Show.

More 2017 Detroit Auto Show Coverage

The freshened mini ‘utes, built off of the front-wheel-drive platform shared with the CLA sedan and Infiniti QX30 SUV, receive some minor tweaks ahead of an on-sale date this summer.

Exterior

If you can spot the exterior differences between the 2017 and 2018, that makes one of us. They’re subtle; Mercedes-Benz says that the SUVs have new bumpers front and rear, new headlights, new wheels and a new paint color. That’s really not much of a styling update at all, frankly, especially when other fresh entries into the segment are arriving soon. If you want something a bit more special looking, there’s a new Performance Studio Package for the AMG GLA45 that includes either gray or bright yellow exterior trim bits, and a new Ice Edition limited special-edition package for the GLA250.

Interior

Inside it’s much the same story — there are a few new pieces of bright trim and also some new seat patterns, but the interior is pretty much the same as the outgoing model. On the electronics front, the 8-inch high-resolution screen is now standard, and there’s a new instrument gauge cluster. Android Auto now joins Apple CarPlay for your multimedia entertainment, and hands-free access has been added to the Premium Package that allows you to open the hatchback by swinging your foot under it. Black Ash wood trim replaces Burl Walnut, and the Performance Studio Package on the AMG version also brings some yellow highlights to the interior as well.

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Under the Hood

Powertrains for the 2018 GLA250 and AMG GLA45 carry over from the previous model. The base engine is a 208-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic driving the front wheels; 4Matic all-wheel drive is optional. If you want more power and a decidedly sportier driving experience, opt for the AMG GLA45, which features a hand-assembled turbocharged 2.0-liter engine pumping out a crazy 375 hp. It uses a specially tuned seven-speed DCT to put the power to all four wheels, and also comes with a sport-tuned suspension.

Safety

For the new model year, the biggest safety change is the adoption of a rear-view camera as standard equipment. This is in addition to the already standard features of forward collision alert with autonomous braking and attention assist to warn of drowsy driving.

Look for the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 and Mercedes-AMG GLA45 in showrooms in the summer of 2017.

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Detroit Bureau Chief Aaron Bragman has had over 25 years of experience in the auto industry as a journalist, analyst, purchasing agent and program manager. Bragman grew up around his father’s classic Triumph sports cars (which were all sold and gone when he turned 16, much to his frustration) and comes from a Detroit family where cars put food on tables as much as smiles on faces. Today, he’s a member of the Automotive Press Association and the Midwest Automotive Media Association. His pronouns are he/him, but his adjectives are fat/sassy. Email Aaron Bragman

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