Only the entry-level front-wheel-drive diesel GLA200 CDI will be available then, however, with the $57,900 petrol all-wheel-drive GLA250 4MATIC (pictured) following in April, and the $79,900 GLA45 AMG delayed until September.
The pricing structure means the GLA200 CDI is $7000 more expensive than the equivalent A200 CDI, but $2500 cheaper than the CLA200 CDI. The gap extends to $8000 between the A250 Sport and GLA250, but as with the CLA250 that costs $7000 more than the GLA250, it includes standard all-wheel-drive. The GLA45 AMG almost exactly splits the difference between the $74,900 A45 AMG and $86,900 CLA45 AMG.
All GLA-Class models will include a power tailgate as standard, while Mercedes-Benz Australia senior manager of public relations, product and corporate communications David McCarthy has confirmed the GLA200, GLA250 and GLA45 AMG will otherwise mirror the equipment lists of their A-Class equivalents.
This means a reverse-view camera and auto reverse-parking technology will be standard where they are optional on the $47,500 Audi Q3 2.0 TDI quattro, though as with that rival satellite navigation will too be optional.
The GLA200 CDI is powered by a 1.8-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine that produces 100kW of power and 300Nm of torque, where the petrol GLA250 4MATIC and GLA45 AMG utilise 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engines of 155kW/350Nm and 265kW/450Nm outputs respectively.
A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic is the sole transmission, with all-wheel-drive models scoring an ‘on demand’ system that will include an off-road mode, and can portion up to 50 per cent of torque to the rear wheels.
McCarthy says limited supply for the GLA-Class meant focusing on a three-tier lineup, with a higher-spec diesel ignored, as was an entry-level petrol model to challenge the sub-$45K BMW X1 sDrive18i and forthcoming Audi Q3 1.4TFSI.
Neither the 115kW/250Nm 1.6-litre turbo petrol GLA200 or 125kW/250Nm 2.1-litre turbo-diesel GLA220 CDI have been completely ruled out as future additions “if demand is there”, however.
All-wheel-drive was also dismissed for the entry-level GLA200 CDI, as McCarthy argues most buyers will not go off-road, although the GLA250 joins the CLA250 in featuring all-wheel-drive to mainly offer, he claims, extra road traction over the front-drive A250 Sport.
McCarthy lightly forecasts sales of the GLA-Class to average 100 units per month, although he concedes that as with A- and CLA-Class, “GLA demand is going to outstrip supply for the foreseeable future.” Last year, Audi Q3 sales totalled 2897, ahead of the BMW X1 that recorded 2108.
With GLA-Class sharing the same platform as A-, B-, and CLA-Class, McCarthy expects the company’s new compact SUV to take a 20 per cent split of the total sales between the four models, the same percentage as the CLA-Class “if a new variant were to come on board,” which all but confirms that a Shooting Brake version will be added later this year. That leaves A-Class and B-Class sharing 30 per cent each. Both models recorded around 3200 sales last year.
Compared with an A-Class, the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class is 125mm longer, 24mm wider and 61mm taller, while front occupant seating is raised by 40mm and boot space expands by 80 litres to 421L.