The design: Quality and self-assurance

Feb 10, 2014
As an SUV, the new GLA combines the key design values of progression and tradition, and is the SUV of the future. It is an all-rounder with hallmark Mercedes-Benz SUV genes, but more youthful, sculptural and full of subtle drama. The muscular and imposing appearance of the exterior is systematically continued into the interior. The interior has a particularly high feel of quality that is achieved by the contours, and the choice and combinations of high-grade materials.
Sensual purity as an expression of modern luxury – this was the focus for the designers, and embodies the design philosophy of Mercedes-Benz. The aim is to create clear contours and smooth surfaces that communicate high-tech while exuding an all-embracing emotional appeal. The sensual purity is reflected in the core design values of tradition, emotion and progressivism. These make up the leitmotif which is accentuated differently depending on the model.
Mercedes-Benz creates a bridge between modernity and the avant-garde, between tradition and progressivism. Each model series has an assigned role and has a very specific character, depending on the attributes on which the design focuses. And yet a Mercedes-Benz is always recognisable as a Mercedes-Benz. Because in addition to incorporating new stylistic developments, and in the interests of keeping tradition alive, the designers draw from a gene-pool of styling features typical of the brand.
"With its striking features the GLA embodies our progressive thinking and enthrals with its off-road proportions," says Gorden Wagener, Vice President Design 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 purity as necessary."
As an SUV, the new GLA combines the key design values of progression and tradition, and is the SUV of the future. It is an all-rounder with hallmark Mercedes-Benz SUV genes, but more youthful, sculptural and full of subtle drama.
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 modelled 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 bonnet 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 has been 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 underguard at the front and contrasting dark-grey cladding all-round emphasise the SUV characteristics of the GLA. This cladding extends around the bottom edge of the vehicle like a frame and provides 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. Standard-fit roof trim strips complete the impression; in combination with the "Style" line or the "Night" package, aluminium roof rails in high-gloss black are available as an optional extra (black roof rails as standard in the Style line and the Night package, chrome-plated roof rails in the Urban and AMG lines). On request the GLA is fitted with tyres up to size 19-inch.
The muscular shoulders over the rear axle are further highlighted by the inward taper of the C-pillars. In combination with the divided tail lights, this emphasises the width of the rear end. It combines dynamic lines with an overall harmonious appearance.
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 hatch is pleasantly wide. The large, aerodynamically very effective roof spoiler is another eye-catching feature. It takes up the structure of the rear roof cladding and accommodates the third brake light and various aerials. In the area of the rear bumper cladding there are other SUV-specific features such as a robust external load sill guard and a simulated underguard available in silver, dark chrome or high-gloss black.
Interior: attractive design features and high perceived quality
The muscular and imposing appearance of the exterior is systematically continued into the interior. The interior has a particularly high feel of quality that is achieved by the contours, and the choice and combinations of high-grade materials. The heavy emphasis on horizontal lines, 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, aluminium or wood lends a new, modern touch to the interior. The matt satin finish of the wood trim further underscores the modern character 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 underguard and side member claddings. The bezels can be galvanised as an option. The direction of the airflow can be varied by butterfly-shaped inserts which can be optionally galvanised 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. This gives the display a particularly high-quality look. A 3-spoke steering wheel with 12 function keys and a galvanised chrome clasp feature as standard. On request a sporty instrument cluster version with two tubes is available.
In this case there is a small dial instrument in each of the large dial instruments. When at rest the needles are in the 6 o'clock position. The needle inlays are always in silver.
The wide choice of seat upholsteries in material (e.g. leather, fabric, fabric/leather) and colour combinations allows plenty of scope for individualisation. Sports seats with integrated head restraints are available as an optional extra.
The high quality of the sports seats is emphasised 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.
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 more space for bulky items while still allowing the rear seat bench to be used by passengers.
Set into a galvanised 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 lines or the Exclusive package the door armrests have a high-quality chrome trim strip and, as an option, ambient lighting.
GLA Design, Hans-Peter Wunderlich (left), Jan Kaul (right)
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GLA Design, Jan Kaul (left), Hans-Peter Wunderlich (right)
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GLA Design
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GLA Design
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GLA Design, Jan Kaul
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GLA Design
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GLA Design, Mark Fetherston (left), Robert Lesnik (right)
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GLA Design sketch
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GLA Design sketch
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GLA Design sketch
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GLA Design sketch
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GLA Design sketch
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GLA Design sketch
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GLA Design sketch
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