Mercedes-Benz GLA: the design
The official images and design details on the Mercedes-Benz GLA, the compact SUV set to be unveiled at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show.
With the GLA, Mercedes-Benz is entering for the fisrt time the fast-growing compact SUV segment.
Based on the concept presented at the past Shanghai Auto Show in April, the GLA has compact dimensions (length x width x height 4417 x 1804 x 1494 mm), a sculpted exterior and an aerodynamically efficient design (Cd figure 0.29).
Below we report selected design details from the official press release.
Sensual clarity as an expression of modern luxury – this was the focus for the designers, and is the design philosophy of Mercedes-Benz.
The aim is to create clear contours and smooth surfaces that communicate high-tech while exuding emotional appeal as a meta-level. The sensual clarity is reflected in the core design values of Tradition, Emotion and Progression.
“With its striking features the GLA embodies our progressive thinking and enthrals with its off-road proportions,” says Gorden Wagener, Vice President Design at Daimler AG.
“The clearly defined surfaces convey power and serenity, and we have managed to combine as much emotional appeal as possible with as much clarity as necessary.”
The low greenhouse, raised vehicle body and large wheel arches give the GLA great appeal.
The clearly defined surfaces are supplemented with sharp lines that provide definition and precision, varying the sculptured contours of the vehicle body which is sensitively modeled and subtly dramatic.
The prominent and self-assured, upright front end with a central star lends a muscular and superior impression to the GLA.
Powerdomes structure the hood as sporty features, and the twin-louvre grille accentuates the vehicle’s width. An impressive front aspect is ensured by the headlamps and LED daytime running lamps.
This iconic Mercedes-Benz design feature was developed further using trifunctional fibre-optics, and gives the vehicle its characteristic light signature. The front bumper features diamond-pattern grilles in front of the cooling air intakes. The optional fog lamps are integrated into the front bumper. A simulated underride guard and contrasting dark-grey claddings all-round emphasize the SUV characteristics of the GLA. These claddings begin low down at the front bumper and provide protection against stone impact.
The side view of the GLA likewise conveys power and serenity. Following the design philosophy, the “dropping line” emerges at the headlamp and extends to the rear wheel arch. The line of the beltline trim gradually rises from the rear door to the C-pillar.
Together the light-catching contour on the curvature and the counter-line to the dropping line at side sill height create an interplay of lines that lends the car flowing dynamism and subtle drama. At the sides the cladding follows the contours of the wheel arches and side sill panels into the rear bumper.
The side panel has depressions shaped like an excavator’s teeth to accentuate the SUV character. Roof trim strips complete the side view at the top as standard, and as an optional extra aluminum roof rails in high-gloss or polished black are available. On request the GLA is fitted with tires up to size 19-inch.
The muscular shoulders over the rear axle are emphasized even further by the inward taper of the C-pillars. In combination with the divided tail lights, this emphasizes the width of the rear end. Its shape is both dramatic and visually harmonious.
This impression is heightened by the curved rear window and the sweeping chrome handle between the tail lights. Thanks to the divided tail lights, the loading aperture is gratifyingly wide.
The large, aerodynamically very effective roof spoiler is another eye-catching feature. It shares the structure of the rear roof cladding and accommodates the third brake light. In the area of the rear bumper cladding there are other SUV-specific features such as an extremely robust external loading sill guard and a simulated underride guard available in high-gloss black, matt silver or silver- shadow.
The aerodynamic optimization measures include a low A-pillar step with suitable A-pillar geometry, aerodynamically optimized exterior mirror housings and a streamlined rear end with a roof spoiler lip and aerodynamically shaped tail lights.
Rear spoilers at the sides ensure that the airflow breaks off for optimal aerodynamic efficiency, while seals in the front bumper (radiator area incl. around the headlamps) and radiator shutters for regulation of the cooling air as required round off the aerodynamic measures.
Extensive underbody panelling, additional panelling in the middle area of the rear axle and an aerodynamically optimized rear silencer followed by a diffuser improve the flow of air beneath the underbody.
Numerous measures have also been taken to reduce wind noise in the GLA. These e.g. include a multi-level door sealing concept, additional sealing of the joint between the tailgate and the roof and side seals on the tailgate. Particularly rigid window frames prevent the airflow from pulling on the doors at higher speeds, and reduce vibrations.
External noise has also been minimized by the low A-pillar step and exterior mirrors connected to the body by a stem.
The muscular and imposing appearance of the exterior is continued into the interior.
All trim surfaces are galvanized in silver-shadow for material authenticity, resulting in a metallic finish with a “cool-touch” effect.
The heavy emphasis on horizontals, the dynamic design and the highly attractive design features are other high-quality attributes. The same applies to the great precision of joints and gap dimensions.
The dashboard consists of an upper and lower section, allowing surface structures that are different in look and feel. Matt and glossy 3D geometries (graining) create an attractive light effect. The three-dimensional trim section of innovative membrane, aluminum or wood lends a new, modern touch to the interior. The matt satin finish of the wood trim is a further enhancement to the modernity, and makes the surface particularly pleasant to the touch.
Five round air vents are integrated into the dashboard. As an exclusive GLA feature, bezels are optionally available around these circular vents whose SUV-look echoes the underride guard and side member claddings.
The direction of the airflow can be varied by butterfly-shaped inserts which can be optionally galvanized in silver-shadow.
The large, free-standing display has a high-gloss display facing in piano-black and a flush-fitting surround in silver-shadow.
A 3-spoke steering wheel with 12 function keys and a galvanized chrome clasp is standard equipment.
The wide choice of seat upholsteries in material (e.g. leather, fabric, fabric/leather) and color combinations allows plenty of scope for individualization. Sports seats with integrated head restraints are available as an optional extra.
The high quality of the sports seats is emphasized by the aperture in the lower section of the head restraint. On the rear of the front seats this aperture is framed by a surround in silver-shadow, and can have ambience lighting on request. In addition to the equipment packages Style, Urban, AMG and Exclusive, an SUV Style package is available that accentuates the SUV character of the GLA even further. The highlight is robust, color-contrasting “moccasin” topstitching on the outer seat contours.
If the optional Load Compartment package is ordered, the backrest of the rear seat unit can be moved to a steeper position, the so-called cargo position. This enlarges the load compartment capacity by 60 litres, providing space for bulky items while still allowing the rear seats to be used by passengers.
Set into a galvanized surround, the controls for the optional “electric seat adjustment with memory” are arranged on the interior door panels in typical Mercedes style – a unique feature in this segment. The interior door panels are likewise of extremely high quality. The soft, matt surfaces extend right from the beltline to the door pocket. In combination with the equipment packages the door armrests have a high-quality chrome trim strip and, as an option, ambience lighting.