The Mercedes-Benz GLA is entering its second generation after six years and more than a million units sold. For its new avatar, the crossover features some major design and mechanical changes.

The subtle exterior tweaks can mislead many into believing that this is a facelift, rather than a second-gen model. However, the cabin tells a different story, uncovering the crossover’s many new advancements.

The 2021 GLA is 15mm shorter at 4410mm, yet the wheelbase is 28mm longer than before. The most apparent change is to the body height, which is 104mm taller compared to the previous-gen car at 1610mm.

2021 Mercedes GLA

The new GLA boasts of a sharper design than before, plus revised dimensios that improve its stance.

The revised dimensions have released extra space inside the new crossover. The rear passengers can enjoy extra room for their elbows, shoulders, and legs. Headroom has decreased a bit, on the other hand. By increasing the height, Mercedes-Benz has imparted the GLA with an imposing stance that is way ahead of the first-gen car’s high-riding hatchback looks.

Upon launch, the GLA will come with a choice of engines starting from a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol motor good for 221hp and 350Nm. An eight-speed dual-clutch transmission sends power to the front wheels. This drivetrain is capable of sending the crossover past 100kph in 8.6 seconds, topping out at 209kph. Mercedes-Benz also supplies its 4Matic AWD system at an additional cost.

As regards safety, the 2021 GLA gets a comprehensive safety package that includes the company’s Distronic-enabled cruise control, ABS, ESP, airbags, lane departure warning, and an advanced safety web of electronic as well as mechanical systems. Mercedes-Benz has gone to great lengths to ensure the new GLA is a leader in its class in the safety department.

Along with the regular lineup, Mercedes-Benz also revealed the AMG GLA 35 which generates 302hp from its 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol motor. Torque figure stands at 400Nm, fed through an eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox to all four wheels. The Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 can sprint to 100kph in five seconds, and is electronically limited to 250kph. AMG will also introduce a hardcore ‘45’ trim with even more power in the future.

GLA 35

The new-gen Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 features AMG's turbocharged 2.0-litre engine in a mild state of tune. A more powerful '45' trim will follow later.

A new party trick the GLA brings to the table is its ‘Car Wash’ function. Carried over from the full-size GLS, this function folds the mirrors, closes all windows and sunroof, and disables rain sensors temporarily. The climate control automatically changes to air recirculation mode, while the 360-degree camera projects an image of the front end to guide the driver through the car wash.

The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA will show up on dealer floors sometime in 2020. Middle Eastern launch of the crossover will take place in the second half of 2020.