Mercedes GLA250 4-Matic, is it ready for the muddy tracks?


Published on September 28th, 2018 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez


Mercedes GLA250 4-Matic, is it ready for the muddy tracks?

The GLA is a purpose designed crossover from Mercedes that sits right against the BMW X1, Audi Q2 and a whole bunch of Asian made SUV’s. The GLA was presented for the very first time in 2013 and has since become a model of success in a segment it has shaped and redefined. The GLA is characterized by its sportily dynamic design and light-footed handling. As the first compact SUV/crossover from Mercedes-Benz, it brought a breath of fresh air to its market segment and established itself as a major player.

Expressive design, technical performance


An expressive design with a clear crossover character and technical performance remain the most significant reason to buy the GLA for most customers. Customers get an off-road comfort suspension which raises the body by 30 millimeters over the stock version, resulting in improved off-road capability, a higher seat position and striking off-roader looks.

Redefined bumpers, new wheel designs and the new attractive color “Canyon Beige” characterize the 2018 model at first glance. The GLA thus visually underlines its crossover genes to an even greater extent than before. The previously-optional bi-xenon headlamps have made way for efficient LED headlamps characterized by a color temperature similar to daylight.

GLA Cabin

This GLA makes good use of its dimensions and can fit in five adults plus luggage. If anything, the rear passengers are the people who have the least sensation of space due to the hatchback shape but no-one will feel at all completely cramped. The dashboard consists of an upper and lower section, allowing surface structures that are different in look and feel. There are 5 circular air vents integrated into the dashboard. In the top center there is a large, free-standing tablet like display (which is a fixed unit) 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. 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 in silver.

GLA Drive 

There are 3 models offered for sale in Malaysia. A 1.6-liter petrol engine pushing out a mild 156bhp however it is the a turbocharged 2-liter petrol version that got our attention with its 4-matic drive. Despite its off-road capability we concentrated our drive of the GLA 250 mostly on the tarmac as this is the model that will sell the most in Malaysia for urban users who will never venture on dirt tracks and will be the talking point for many showrooms visitors.

This hot hatch 4×4 crossover looks and drives like it promises. The 211bhp engine delivers in spades. The engine fires up like any 4-cylinder Mercedes, quiet, unassuming and when called on the upper levels of the engine revolution it delivers just like in the A-Class hot hatch.

The firm chassis delivers good, predictable handling where the GLA shines with plenty of grip courtesy of the 4-MATIC system that provides plenty of cornering speed with minimal body roll. The brakes remain unruffled and provides plenty of stopping power combined with decent feel.

Find a dirt and rock filled track like we did here on the outskirts of Klang Valley and the GLA will not bottom out or grind to a halt when challenged. Mercedes-Benz engineers have fitted the GLA with the new generation of 4MATIC all-wheel drive. This all-wheel drive system excels with outstanding agility and it is very light. The components of the new 4MATIC include the power take-off to the rear axle, which is integrated into the 7G-DCT automated dual clutch transmission, and the rear-axle gear unit with integrated, hydraulically actuated multi-disc clutch. This set-up allows fully variable distribution of the drive torque between the front and rear axles.

The GLA is also equipped with DSR (Downhill Speed Regulation similar to what you find in an Evoque and the X1) and an off-road transmission mode as standard. DSR is activated by a control button in the centre console, and assists the driver on demanding downhill stretches by maintaining a slow, manually selected vehicle speed within the physical limits when negotiating downhill gradients.

This is done with the help of the engine and transmission control systems, and by specific braking intervention. When the off-road transmission mode is selected using the transmission mode switch, the shift points and accelerator characteristics are modified so that the requirements for driving on light off-road terrain, and particularly on loose surfaces, can be met.

GLA Technology 

This Mercedes GLA comes equipped with the latest cabin driver features that one will find in more expensive Mercedes sedans. The latest multimedia generation deployed in the GLA boasts new functions, additional apps and a modified graphic colour scheme. Daimler’s Digital Drive Style app concept, which together with the Drive Kit Plus for the iPhone® allows seamless integration of an iPhone® into the vehicle, has been extended. Also, there is an advanced navigation system with internet-based real-time traffic information, an online POI search function including Street View™ and a 3D map display. The COMAND Online multimedia system has also been extended.


Mercedes Benz have been enjoying a great year in Malaysia with nearly all new vehicles launched being sold briskly beyond expectations. This new compact crossover is probably another success story and as you read this the wait list is growing at all showrooms.

Mercedes GLA 250 (4MATIC) Specifications

Engine: 4-cylinder

Capacity: 1991cc

Power: 211bhp @ 5500rpm

Torque: 350Nm @ 1200-4000rpm

Transmission: 7-speed

0-100km/h: 6.6secs

Top speed: 230km/h

Price: RM269,888.00

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