Mercedes-Benz's second-generation GLA entry-level crossover is getting a beefier engine, roomier interior and a tech upgrade to serve as a conquest vehicle in its growing segment.
The 2021 GLA 250 will arrive in U.S. stores in summer 2020, followed by a Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 variant late next year. Pricing was not disclosed.
The new GLA debuted in an online event Wednesday as U.S. sales of compact premium crossovers have chalked up a 7.6 percent climb so far this year, making them one of the fastest-growing light-truck segments.
The GLA nameplate, the sporty alternative to the practical GLB, illustrates how Mercedes-Benz has been attracting its next generation of customers. The GLA targets millennials before they have a family, said Sam Fiorani, vice president at AutoForecast Solutions.
"Where their parents would have purchased a coupe, today's aspiring professionals look to stylish utilities before moving up to the bigger models when their own kids arrive," Fiorani said.
The 2021 GLA 250 is powered by a new 2-liter inline-four turbocharged engine that boosts output while lowering emissions. The updated engine delivers 221 hp, an increase of 13 hp compared with its predecessor. The GLA has a top speed of 130 mph and can go from 0 to 60 mph in 8.6 seconds.
A higher-performance AMG derivative delivers 302 hp and can go from 0 to 60 mph in five seconds.