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Welcome arrow Articles arrow Car Reviews arrow Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 4-Matic
Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 4-Matic PDF Print E-mail

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A new concept in motoring is the idea behind the latest offering from Mercedes-Benz.  The highway or off-road GLA captures the imagination in that it looks the part no matter where you find it.
The GLA 250 is the top-of-the-range model in this series, offering 211 bhp and Euro 6 levels of carbon emissions.  This is a SUV like no other: it may be relatively small, but it has a number of features that would shame many larger models. Visually it is an extremely attractive vehicle from all angles, but in particular the rear-end treatment is particularly stunning.  The outstanding styling is set off by extra-large 18-inch alloy wheels and tires.  The tires possess run-flat capabilities.
Similarly, the interior is particularly well finished, with the optional carbon fiber dash, large circular air vents and comfortable, well-proportioned seats.  There is an electric sunroof, electrically adjustable front seats complete with a three-position memory package, a superb audio system with a 6-disc CD system and various storage spaces in and around the passenger compartment.
On the safety side, there are front airbags, front side bags, a knee bag for the driver, window bags and side airbags in the rear. 

On the Road
Driving the GLA up to The Peak, many and varied road conditions are encountered.  While some may say the driving experience of the 4x4 Mercedes-Benz is uninspiring, in reality it is simply relaxing.  As you would expect, it is easy to drive and the car almost takes care of everything all by itself.  Visibility in all directions is excellent, while if required there is an optional reversing camera.
Acceleration is adequate rather than outstanding, although the benchmark 0-100 km/h time is a quite reasonable 7.2 seconds.  Maximum speed is 235 km/h.
There is a standard electronic stability program (ESP) and a tire-pressure warning system.  A brake-assist system is also standard – it is a recognized fact that most drivers do not brake hard enough in an emergency: brake assist compensates for that by automatically increasing the pressure in the system.
There is the choice of an eco-system stop-start mechanism, or if you prefer, you can simply leave it at a normal tickover speed.  Few Hong Kong owners will venture off road, but the standard 4-Matic system features a downhill speed regulator, as well as unique displays of gradient, tilt and compass reading.

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The Line-up
With the vast range Mercedes-Benz now has it is easy to become confused by the various models.  The S-Class is clearly top of the range, followed by the E-Class and C-Class: simple so far.  It’s when you get further down the line-up that it becomes confusing. 
The GLA is obviously based on the tremendously popular A-Class introduced in1997.  While the A-Class itself has grown up in terms of both size and luxury, the GLA appears to have few links to its base model.
When the A-Class came into being it was initially derided as “not being safe” because it was both front-wheel drive and had a transverse engine.  However, Mercedes-Benz pointed out that the technical design ensured that the engine unit would slide beneath the passenger compartment rather than into it in the event of a head-on collision.
Initially launched at the Frankfurt motor show, the A-Class was the first Mercedes-Benz to feature front-wheel drive and had a tall, double floor body.  Because of the double floor, it was a step up to gain access to the passenger compartment.  Designed by British engineer, Steve Martin, the A-Class was a departure from anything he had worked on previously, which included the E-Class as well as the then S-Class.
The relatively high center of gravity of the tall A-Class proved its undoing when a Swedish magazine managed to turn one over in its infamous ‘elk test’, where a vehicle is suddenly made to change direction to avoid a rapidly appearing obstacle – such as an elk or moose. Much to the company’s embarrassment, Mercedes-Benz was forced to recall all A-Class models that had been sold to date and spent a considerable amount of money – around DM300 million or approximately 50 million euros - incorporating electronic stability control on all cars.

Target market
Mercedes-Benz is aiming at middle-class families with the GLA.  Its size, comfort and spaciousness allow owners to accommodate plenty of luggage as well as elderly relatives and children.
It is easy to drive, extremely reliable and excellent value: the GLA 250 4-Matic sells for HK$469,000 including taxes.  Various options are also available for drivers to personalize their vehicle.


 
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© 2018 Jeff Heselwood. All rights reserved.
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