A mid-life update for the Mercedes GLA and GLB compact SUVs has been revealed, including detail styling changes inside and out, equipment and technology upgrades, more electrification for the petrol engines and improvements to the plug-in hybrid GLA. The updates apply to Mercedes-AMG variants, too. An Irish-market introduction is expected before the '241' registration in 2024.
The core shapes of the GLA and GLB are unchanged, but there are new bumpers and light signatures across the line-up, along with the introduction of a few new alloy wheel designs and even a new paint colour called Spectral Blue Metallic.
As before, the GLB seats up to seven while the GLA is a five-seater. The global Mercedes press release makes mention of a significant increase in the standard equipment, though we have yet to see what that means from an Irish market perspective. New trim material options and colours should form part of the package, however.
The digital instruments and the infotainment touchscreen will continue to be housed in one dashboard unit, though the software has been updated to allow further customisation. Mercedes also claims that its 'intelligent voice assistant' is more capable than ever at adapting to an owner's needs. The sound system has been upgraded, too, while, depending on options, the cars can now be fitted with a selection of games to be played with the passenger (when the car is parked up, presumably) - including Sudoku, Shuffle Puck, Pairs, Match 3 and a quiz.
Further improvements have been made to the suite of driver assistance features, including the option to fit Trailer Manoeuvring Assist for the first time.
Electrification of the engines
A wide range of powertrains will continue to be offered in the GLB and GLA, though only the latter comes with a plug-in hybrid option - in the shape of the GLA 250 e. As part of the upgrades, it gets a more powerful electric motor (though maximum system power output is unchanged), while the battery's usable capacity has been increased to extend the electric range by about 10 kilometres to as high as 70km - depending on specification of the car.
Elsewhere, the petrol engines in the GLA, GLB and the AMG derivatives of both now get mild-hybrid assistance thanks to the addition of a 48-volt electrical system. It includes a belt-driven starter-generator that quietly starts the engine, recuperates kinetic energy during braking and decelerating, allows coasting with the engine off and adds a 14hp boost at times.
GLB buyers will get to choose from the front-wheel-drive GLB 180 and GLB 200, along with the all-wheel-drive GLB 220 4Matic and GLB 250 4Matic with updated petrol engines, while diesel options include the GLB 180 d (not currently offered in Ireland), GLB 200 d (with or without 4Matic) and the GLB 220 d 4Matic.
The GLA line-up of models is identical and both body styles are additionally available in Mercedes-AMG guise, badged '35 4Matic'. These feature turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engines (now with 48-volt mild-hybrid assistance), four-wheel drive and up to 306hp.