Exterior Design of the All-New Mercedes GLA
The exterior of the 2015 Mercedes GLA has the genes of a Mercedes-Benz in a more youthful body
by Jim Davis | 14 August 2013
As an SUV, the all-new GLA combines the design values of Progression and Tradition, and is the SUV of the future. It is a utility player with hallmark Mercedes-Benz SUV genes, but more youthful, sculptural and full of subtle drama.
The prominent and self-assured, upright front end with a central star lends a muscular and superior impression to the GLA. Powerdomes grace the hood as sporty highlights, and the twin-louver grille accentuates the vehicle’s width. An impressive front face is ensured by the headlamps and available LED daytime running lamps. This iconic Mercedes-Benz design feature was developed further using tri-functional fiber-optics, and gives the vehicle its characteristic light signature. The front bumper features diamond-pattern grilles in front of the cooling air intakes. The standard fog lamps are integrated into the front bumper. A simulated skid plate and contrasting dark-grey sill panels all-around emphasize the SUV characteristics of the GLA. The panels 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 power and subtle drama. The side panel has depressions shaped like an excavator’s teeth to accentuate the SUV character. Chrome roof rails complete the side profile at the top as standard, and as an optional extra roof rails in high-gloss black are available. The GLA features 18-inch wheels as standard equipment, with 19-inch wheels available as an option.
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 unified.
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 cargo opening is conveniently wide. The large roof spoiler is another eyecatching feature. It shares the structure of the rear roof trim and accommodates the third brake light. In the area of the rear bumper trim there are other SUV-specific features such as a robust external loading sill guard and a skid plate available in silver-metallic.
Aerodynamics: goodbye to box-shaped
With the GLA, yet another model series becomes the leader in its segment with respect to aerodynamic efficiency. At 0.66 m2 the frontal area Cd x A, which greatly impacts fuel consumption from around 37 mph, is a top figure.
The good air flow characteristics, which are a major factor in the vehicle’s low fuel consumption in everyday conditions, result from numerous aerodynamic optimization measures. These include a low A-pillar step with suitable geometry and aerodynamically optimized exterior mirror housings. The rear end is also streamlined. The measures here include the roof spoiler lip and the aerodynamically shaped tail lights. Rear spoilers at the sides ensure that the airflow breaks off for optimal aerodynamic efficiency. Seals in the front bumper (radiator area incl. around the headlamps) round off the aerodynamic measures.
Extensive underbody paneling, additional paneling 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 include a multi-level door sealing concept, additional sealing of the joint between the tailgate and the roof and side seals on the tailgate. Especially 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 Apillar and exterior mirrors connected to the body by a stem.