Mercedes-Benz GLA 2023 facelift: sporty SUV gets subtle tweaks | CAR Magazine

Mercedes-Benz GLA 2023 facelift: sporty SUV gets subtle tweaks

Published: 16 March 2023 Updated: 16 March 2023

► Merc’s GLA crossover updated
► 2023 model has tech refresh
► On sale later in 2023

Mercedes-Benz has revealed the facelifted GLA, which features a host of revisions and upgrades that are designed to modernise the compact SUV.

The company says that the new Mercedes-Benz GLA benefits from updates such as revised front- and rear-end design features and the latest version of its MBUX infotainment system. New mild hybrid technology has also been introduced, and improvements have been made to the plug-in hybrid model.

Mercedes launched the second-generation GLA, which shares its underpinnings with the A-Class, B-Class and GLB, in 2019. It’s been ticking along quietly since, with global sales totalling 158,100 in 2022. That’s about 100,000 fewer deliveries than tallied by the A-Class in the same year, and about 80,000 down compared to the rival Audi Q3.

Nevertheless, the GLA provides Mercedes with a useful competitor to premium small SUVs such as the aforementioned Audi, the BMW X1 and Volvo XC40 – and while the facelifted version might not be dramatically different, a few of the alterations might swing some buyers back in its direction.

I swear it looks the same…

No, no, you just need to look closer. No, closer than that. See the pixels on your screen yet? That’s about close enough.

What’s different, as far we can tell, is that the lower radiator grille has a central fin that now sits slightly lower, making the openings above bigger. The bumper has also received some subtle revisions, reputedly bolstering the GLA’s confident character.

There are minor changes to the front and rear LED lights, too, a new paint colour called Spectral Blue and additional wheel designs. It’s a similar story inside, with the main points being a few new trim options.

What about the new technology?

Some range and option streamlining aside, the facelifted GLA gets the latest iteration of MBUX – the Mercedes-Benz User Experience. This advanced voice-controlled infotainment system primarily packs new display modes and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, boosting its modernity.

Mercedes is taking another leaf out of Tesla’s playbook, too, by providing the option of a selection of minigames that can be played on the GLA’s infotainment system. Which is nice.

Of more note are the upgrades to the driver assistance features; the revamped GLA gets updates to its lane-keeping system that are designed to improve comfort, and expanded parking support options. These include a trailer manoeuvring assistance mode, which is new to the GLA. 

And under the skin?

Definitely a bit more interesting. The petrol engines in the facelifted GLA range will all benefit from efficiency-boosting electrification, in the form of a belt-driven starter-generator system and 48-volt power supply. These mild hybrid GLAs benefit from an electric boost of 13bhp when setting off or accelerating, while the starter-generator also reduces engine start-up noise and allows for coasting and energy recuperation.

The plug-in hybrid GLA 250e has also been given a tap with the fresh technology stick, benefitting from an overhauled hybrid drive system. The improved battery serves up more usable energy, and the electric motor’s output has risen from 101bhp to 107bhp – although the overall system power remains unchanged. AC charging speeds of 3.7kW and 11kW are supported, or up to 22kW on DC charging, helping owners more easily make the most of the plug-in GLA’s all-electric capabilities.

By Lewis Kingston

Formerly of this parish. Inveterate car buyer and seller; currently owner of a '68 Charger project car