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2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class priced: watch out BMW X1 and Audi Q3

John Law

The all-new Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class will arrive in Australia this August – the range starts with the entry-level GLA 200 from $55,010 (driveaway pricing TBA).

Topping out the line-up is the barnstorming $107,035 (driveaway pricing TBA) Mercedes-AMG GLA45 S with the same 310kW motor found in the pumped-up AMG A45 S, it’s sure to be a rocket ship when it arrives.

Benz is targeting Munich’s popular X1 and Audi’s impressive Q3 head-on with the new baby SUV. However, as we know, Mazda has upped their luxury game with the remarkably affordable CX-30see how that car deals with the GLA’s other competitors here.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Top
The all-new GLA-Class. It looks good to us.

Somewhat confusingly, there’s also the Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class to take into account, though that car channels the more family-friendly mini people-mover proportions of the brand’s B-Class.

That means the GLA-Class is a wholly more stylish proposition, prioritising driver involvement and street-cred – “the new GLA is positioned as its sporty brother and as a lifestyle-oriented SUV” says Mercedes’ Britta Seeger.

And we reckon that’s true, the new vehicle moves to the updated Benz styling resulting in a more natural, softer overall shape. To make sure you know it’s an SUV Mercedes have included black cladding around the wheel arches, too.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Rear
Less angles, more curves than before.

The new GLA has grown by 122mm to 1,616mm tall which, in conjunction with the longer 2,729mm wheelbase (30mm longer) should address the old car’s issues with occupancy space.

Width is up as well (an extra 30mm) to benefit rear-seat passengers. However, the overall length is down 14mm to 4,410mm, bravo to Mercedes-Benz for improving packaging, on paper at least. 

We often talk about the SUV tax here at Chasing Cars, and Mercedes charges an extra $13,605 for the cladding and extra ground-clearance of the $82,935 (driveaway pricing TBA) GLA 35 over the $69,300 ($76,642 driveaway) A35 AMG hatch

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Snout
It’s a lot more money than an A-Class hatch, though.

While not so ground-breaking, the interior is pleasingly contemporary. A pair of 10.25-inch monitors mount high on the dash – one to control infotainment functions, the other a customisable digital driver’s display.

Mercedes-Benz’s multifunction steering wheel appears, too, and the overall design is just-so. We’re interested to see how the interior materials and build-quality stack up when we spend some time in the new GLA-Class.

As mentioned, the range starts with the $55,010 (driveaway pricing TBA) GLA 200. Powered by a 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol ‘four, outputs are adequate at 120kW and 250Nm, though power is sent only to the front wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Wheel
The interior is very much on brand.

Standard equipment is generous – though you’d want it to be at this price – with a power boot-lid, Benz’s Artico upholstery, 64-colour ambient lighting and wireless smartphone charging. Safety tech includes parking assist, adaptive LED headlights, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring and front AEB with pedestrian detection.

There are two mid-spec models, the 250 4Matic starts at $66,500 (driveaway pricing TBA) and adds heated front seats, larger 19-inch alloy wheels and a panoramic sunroof. Emphasising its off-road ability is a comfort-focused suspension tune and the new off-road engineering package with hill-descent control.

The 250 is powered by a bigger-block turbocharged two-litre four-cylinder that is good for 165kW/350Nm and shares its eight-speed DCT gearbox with the AMG A35. 

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Interior
64-Colour ambient lighting, but adaptive cruise will cost you extra.

Moving into the sportier models, the Mercedes-AMG GLA35 starts at $82,935 (driveaway pricing TBA), and you’ll know it’s the fast one thanks to 20-inch alloy wheels and AMG designed bumpers.

You’ll probably also hear the standard-fit AMG sports exhaust, inside there’s a leather-wrapped AMG steering wheel and adaptive dampers to play with while the AMG-fettled two-litre four-cylinder punches out 225kW/400Nm to all four wheels.

Only the range-topping $107,035 (driveaway pricing TBA) AMG GLA45 S gets the full safety suite as standard which is a shame as we’ve come to expect this tech for a lot less cash these days. It includes true high-speed AEB, adaptive cruise control, front cross-traffic alert, and a 360-degree camera. This tech can be optioned on any GLA-Class, though for an additional costm with the Driving Assistance Package.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Tail
The new taillights for the GLA-Class.

The AMG GLA 45 S is naturally more powerful. Thanks to a highly-tuned two-litre four-cylinder engine, outputs are 310kW and 500Nm, to handle the extra grunt AMG has fitted larger 360mm front rotors clamped by six-piston callipers, suede-cloth appointed steering wheel, roof-mounted spoiler and 4Matic+ all-wheel-drive. 

For early adopters Mercedes is offering an “edition 1 package” for the GLA 200 and GLA 250, with red-contrast stitching adorning the heated seats and carbon fibre trim inserts, with larger 20-inch wheels and AMG body-kit telling the tale outside. It will add $6,990 to the price of the entry-level GLA 200, and $5,990 to the GLA 250.

The first GLA-Classes will be arriving in August, with higher-powered AMG models landing later in 2020.

2021 Mercedes GLA-Class pricing

All prices are before on-road costs.
Mercedes-Benz GLA 200 – $55,100
Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 4Matic – $66,500
Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 4Matic – $82,935
Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 S 4Matic+ – $107,035
Edition 1 Package
GLA 200 – $6990
GLA 250 4Matic – $5990