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Twenty years have passed since Mercedes-Benz launched the first and controversial A-Class. Today's version, the 3rd generation, is a far cry from the 90's original. The 2012 A-Class has dramatically changed from what it once was. Its appeal has broadened to attract the youth and simultaneously grown up. The recipe worked - since its launch, 2 million have sold.
“Grow up” is a term we've all heard - usually as we are about to transition from child into adulthood. Note, I made no mention of a particular age! For some, growing up happens early. For others, it takes time, like a fine wine or matured flavoursome cheese - they keep on getting better.
The A-Class range, complemented by their crossover, the GLA, the most compact SUV in Mercedes expensive offering of SUV's. Now enhanced via an aesthetic facelift, it completes their model upgrades for their A and B-Class models, which debuted late last year.
Theses enhancement aren't extreme. Rather, they are a collection of smaller tweaks to make up a refreshed range. Modified bumpers, additional light-alloy wheels and the new unique colour "canyon beige" characterise the 2017 vintage at first glance.
The attractively styled interior of the GLA with high-quality materials and excellent artistry is enhanced by new seat covers and trim parts as well as chromed control panels.
A notable enhancement that I appreciated is the free-standing 20.3 cm (8-inch) media display, which is familiarly slim and is easily legible, as are the new dials with red needles.
On the engine front, little has changed, perhaps because no other competitor offers a larger selection of engines in its segment - from the Mercedes-Benz GLA 200 d base model with 100 kW of power to the 280 kW Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 4MATIC. There some bragging rights for this engine - it is the world's most powerful four-cylinder series production engine.
There are some new optional extras too. They include the keyless vehicle access: HANDS-FREE ACCESS and the 360-degree camera. With the aid of four networked cameras, this system facilitates parking and manoeuvring with a realistic all-around view.
The range is highly customisable from engines, wheels, colours and interior trims. You're even able to order your GLA with specific suspension. All South African cars are pre-ordered with off-road suspension (an elevated ride), but you can change this for either a Sport or Comfort option.
Interestingly, Mercedes-Benz South Africa has partnered with local rapper and producer, Nasty C. At only 19, this talented artist will appear in a series of GIF filed artwork. These playful, short-motion clips will be randomly posted by Mercedes-Benz Facebook Messenger Bot when asked questions. Now that's a fun way of engaging with your fans. The campaign's aim is to attract younger folk into buying from the brand. Looking at the prices of the GLA, these youngsters may need to save up for a while before getting behind the wheel.
GLA 200 R485 400
GLA 250 4MATIC R654 700
Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 4MATIC R856 700
GLA 200 d R513 000
GLA 220 d 4MATIC R592 500
Yellow Night Edition across the range
A 45 4MATIC Yellow Night Edition R105 000 + R768 100
CLA 45 4MATIC Yellow Night Edition R105 000 + R874 500
GLA 45 4MATIC Yellow Night Edition R105 000 + R856 700
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