2023 Mercedes GLA and GLB gain mild-hybrid and design refresh

GLA front white

Revised GLA and GLB receive updated standard kit and new MBUX infotainment system

Mercedes has revealed the updated GLA and GLB SUVs, which will go on sale in the coming months with a refreshed design and new technology inside and out. 

The biggest changes to the new Mercedes GLA and Mercedes GLB have been applied to its front end, with a new front grille, front bumper design and light signatures. 

It also gains LED lights as standard, and its wheel arches are now painted the same colour as the car’s exterior, replacing the plastic trim seen on the previous version. 

Under the bonnet, the two cars receive mild-hybrid power, meaning it will now be available with both plug-in and mild electrification for the first time. The range for non-AMG-tuned variants consists of a selection of four-cylinder petrol and diesel units, ranging from 147bhp to 260bhp. 

New mild-hybrid models will benefit from a 48-volt battery mated to a belt-driven starter generator, which provides an additional 10bhp when accelerating. It’s also capable of travelling short distances on electric-only power and energy recuperation. 

Changes have also been made to their plug-in hybrid powertrains. Electric-only range has improved on the 37 miles available in the previous version, although Mercedes did not disclose the new figure. The electric motor, meanwhile, has seen its output upped by 5bhp to 78bhp, while its also now capable of charging up to speeds of 22kW. 

The GLA and GLB range is once again topped by a performance model tuned by Mercedes-AMG. The Mercedes-AMG GLA and GLB 4Matic packs 301bhp from a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Top speed is pegged at 155mph, while 0-62mph is completed in 5.2sec. 

Inside, the cars are equipped with comfort seats, a leather steering wheel, high beam assist and a reversing camera as standrd. All cars are fitted with the firm’s updated MBUX infotainment system, with interior ambient lighting and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. 

Prices for both the standard and AMG models have not been revealed yet, but expect them both to command a slight premium over the existing cars – the standard GLA, for example, is currently priced at £37,645, while the performance AMG model costs almost double in its highest specification, at £69,005

The updated GLA was pictured being put through its paces at a German race track ahead of its launch next year wearing a camouflage livery, but much of its chrome trim was clear to see: around the side windows, on the door handles and on the lower rear bumper.

The appearance of the facelifted GLA and GLB follows the recent emergence of the updated CLA and A-Class, hinting that Mercedes is continuing to push its more affordable models over its more expensive EVs.  

This is despite CEO Ola Kallenius’s statement in May that Mercedes is “not going to compete with volume makers” any longer – which also implied the firm is going to ditch discounts.

Given Mercedes’ push back towards the luxury segment – and higher profit margins to mitigate production figures dwindled by industry-wide parts shortages – the updated GLA is expected to be more costly than the current car.

As such, the entry-level Sport trim is expected to be ditched, with AMG Line – which starts from £39,545 – becoming the new entry-level version. Adjusting figures to reflect inflation and increased production costs, the new starting price is likely to be north of £40,000.

This would not drastically change the GLA’s positioning – pitting it against the Audi Q3, BMW X1, well-specced Range Rover Evoques and the Volvo XC40 – but it would make it one of the more expensive premium crossovers available.

When asked by Autocar about the updated GLA, Mercedes-Benz declined to comment.

Source: Autocar

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