Mercedes doubles down on compact segment
With sales of Mercedes compact cars doubling each year, it makes sense that the manufacturer has shirked its image of only driving older owners around in comfort, and taken on the role of catering for the younger, first-time Mercedes owner. A minor facelift has been implemented to its compact range, and we hit the Cape Peninsula to sample them all, with the results being somewhat surprising.
The campaign for the smaller Mercedes cars is called #growupyourownway, and is a clever means of tapping into the current generation of twenty- and thirty-somethings who refuse to grow up the way Generation Xers did. Mercedes showcased their new ad campaign which shows first time parents having fun with their kids, surfing and generally experiencing exotic locations, all the while holding down careers they love and families they adore. Sound familiar?
First time buyers will more often than not go for a smaller car, so Mercedes also let us try the facelifted B class CLA, however the main focus of the launch, and the car Mercedes most wanted to show off, was the newly refreshed Mercedes GLA range.
Facelifted GLA comes with three suspension variations, all at no extra cost, with the adaptive damping the only suspension option with a price tag. There are also six new wheel designs available and 3 new colours. Other changes include new front apron and, for AMG, a twin blade radiator as well as a striking new Yellow Night Edition which is available for all compact AMG’s across the Mercedes range. Yellow Night Addition comes at the cool price of R105 000 and although the enhancements are all cosmetic, inside and out this variation will be scarce and rare on our roads.
Power ranges from 100kW for the Mercedes GLA 200D to the 280kW GLA 45 AMG flagship model.
With great power…
The AMG sprints to 100 in 4.4 seconds, although when we tested the launch control, the car didn’t feel quite that fast. Perhaps the smoothness of the AMG made the ride seem slower than it was? Either way, a proper test in a controlled environment would be needed. The AMG comes with a tweaked gearbox for better gear ratios, and is also quite an intriguing car to drive quickly, as it feels smaller than it is, with the weight and height only becoming evident when leaning hard on the chassis or changing directions quickly.
GLA is the only model in this segment to offer a 360” Camera making parking the SUV even easier. GLA now also comes standard with Active Brake Assist, and Attention Assist. All in line with Mercedes continual commitment to autonomous driving and safety.
Mercedes Benz is constantly pushing the technological boundaries and as of the 1st of January this year, all Mercedes come standard with Mercedes ME connect, allowing options such as Remote Parking, Mercedes Benz Assist and Remote Locking. All at no extra charge.
Oh, and after driving every single compact Mercedes in the range, which one came out trumps? The unassuming B250. Fun to drive, quick, comfortable and spacious, the compact B250 surprised as an alternative to the usual small car options available on the market today. If you’re in the market for a compact car and always thought Mercedes cars are reserved for older people, think again.
Mercedes GLA 200 R485 400
Mercedes GLA 250 4MATIC R654 700
Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 4MATIC R856 700
Mercedes GLA 200 d R513 000
Mercedes GLA 220 d 4MATIC R592 500
A 45 4MATIC Yellow Night Edition R105 000 + R768 100
CLA 45 4MATIC Yellow Night Edition R105 000 + R874 500
GLA 45 4MATIC Yellow Night Edition R105 000 + R856 700