Wheels & Deals: Mercedes pull out all the stops with stunning new GLA; plus news from Audi and VW

Declan Colley welcomes the arrival in Ireland of the new Mercedes GLA compact SUV
Wheels & Deals: Mercedes pull out all the stops with stunning new GLA; plus news from Audi and VW
The Mercedes new GLA compact SUV, a sporty, lifestyle-oriented new model.

Ahead of the much-anticipated arrival of the new Mercedes GLB, the company this week announced the arrival here in Ireland of the new GLA compact SUV.

Mercedes says the new car boasts added character, added spaciousness and added safety amongst its key features and claim the new GLA to be the latest in a line of models first introduced six years ago, and later updated in a face-lifted variant launched in 2017.

Described as ‘a sporty, lifestyle-oriented’ partner to the GLB, and a companion to the GLC and GLE within their wider family of SUV models, the GLA will be available here in a choice of two design lines — Progressive and a high-performance AMG version.

Against a sales backdrop of more than 6.5 million units worldwide, the luxury SUV segment is increasingly valuable to Mercedes-Benz — a fact underlined by the steps that have been taken to improve the GLA’s sporty appeal and interior spaciousness in a manner likely to make it a more compelling proposition.

Taller by more than 100mm (despite being 15mm shorter) designers have given it added interior headroom for driver and front passenger and considerably greater rear legroom for back seat passengers.

Track width has been increased by four centimetres while ground clearance has been raised, albeit marginally. Boot volume has been increased, helped by rear seats that can slide by up to 140mm. Other design features include details carried over from the larger 7-seat GLB and the GLC.

Engines available at launch, all turbocharged, consist of four petrol and three diesel versions. Petrol models are a 1.3-litre, 163 bhp GLA 200, a 2-litre, 224 bhp GLA 250 and GLA 250 4MATIC. The AMG GLA 35 and AMG GLA 45 will also be available to order at the launch date. Diesel versions, all 1.9-litres, are a 150 bhp GLA 200d, GLA 200d 4-MATIC and a 190 bhp GLA 220d and GLA 220d 4MATIC. In the pipeline is a 180d 1.5-litre diesel and a plug-in petrol/electric variant.

Ciaran Allen, sales manager for Mercedes-Benz passenger cars in Ireland said the arrival of the new GLA is being supported with attractive price and purchase finance arrangements pitched competitively against those of its main rivals and broadly in harmony with those of its predecessor”.

Audacious Audi

Audi has announced a stonking updated RS 5 Sportback and Coupé models.

Fitted with the company’s V6 twin-turbo with 450 bhp engine and quattro permanent all-wheel drive, these two beasts will satisfy most hotshoe drivers. No Irish pricing has been announced yet.

The main characteristic of these monsters is immense pulling power and high output combined with efficiency. Even after revision, the output of the 2.9 TFSI remains unchanged at 450 bhp but the V6 twin-turbo delivers all it’s got between 1,900 and 5,000 rpm. Both RS models catapult themselves from zero to 100 kph in just 3.9 seconds.

On request — and if you’re good — Audi Sport GmbH can raise the top speed from 250 to 280 kph.

We will have more in due course.

VW doing their parts

Even during the coronavirus crisis, the Volkswagen Group continues to ensure supplies of genuine parts. In Germany, more than 95 percent of the about 3,500 service stations remain open so that customers can stay mobile.

Throughout the world, about 60 percent of the 25,000 service stations remain active. The Original Parts Centre in Kassel ensures that genuine parts for repair work reach the workshop rapidly despite coronavirus.

VW says the order level is around one third of the normal volume. In these activities, the top priority is to protect the health of employees and suppliers at Kassel.

Roman Havlásek, Head of Group After Sales, said: “In the coronavirus crisis, many people need their car to travel to work, to provide goods for themselves and other people and to make necessary visits to doctors. Our customers, who include many people working in the health system and food retailing, have to rely on their vehicle more than ever before as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

“This is why it is so important for our team to maintain genuine parts supplies.”

Throughout the world, about 60 percent of the 25,000 VW service stations are still active.

They allow customers to have repair and servicing work carried out in accordance with the applicable local regulations.

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