|Mercedes-Benz General Lighthouse Authority 220 Course Deviation Indicator 4MATIC, to give it its full name|
It's the Mercedes-Benz GLA. This is the silver-starred brand's answer to the BMW X1. And Audi Q3. And Mazda CX-5. And VW Tiguan. And the Volvo XC60. And Mitsubishi Outlander (which is only sold by accident). And the Ford Kuga. And the Nissan Qashqai. And the Nissan Juke. And the Land Rover Range Rover Évoque N°5 For Him/For Her. And the Renault Captur. And the Vauxhall Mokka. And the Subaru XV. And the Suzuki SX4. And the upcoming Porsche Macan
And the Infiniti EX.
And the Škoda Yeti.
And the Peugeot 2008.
And the Dacia Duster. Kinda sorta.
And the Nissan Murano.
And the Mercedes-Benz GLK. Erm...
But what does GLA stand for? I thought it was the name of a bird in Australia that you cooked on rocks, but it's actually named after the General Lighthouse Authority. For those of you that don't know - and it's good of Mercedes to raise awareness of this - the General Lighthouse Authority is a nation's government agency dedicated to the good work of preserving and maintaining lighthouses, lightvessels, navigational aids or anything else that does the job of alerting sailors that there's land over here, so watch out. If you're a sea-faring gentleman (or lady, of course), then you owe your life to these organisations every time you run the risk of boat-raping somebody's unassuming land mass in the dark of night and spilling your shipment of short shorts all over the beach. Or a cliff. If you think I'm joking, click here. As another nod to navitgational aids, the diesel versions are badged as CDI, after an aeroplane's Course Deviation Indicator. The Germans are genius marketeers - show them a saloon with curves on it and they'll sell it as a "four-door coupé" for more money, as one example - but to capture an entire niche with just three letters is just inspired. Straight away anyone who's part of the GLA will want a GLA, and grateful sailors the world over can buy one as a nod to their good work. On top of that, pilots will want the diesel versions, which could even help diesel power finally break into America. Marvellous. Their tribute to the General Lighthouse Authority is symbolised in the headlights - of course - which feature "tri-functional fibre-optics", giving the car a "characteristic light signature". Apparently.
Of course, there's a chance that GLA actually stands for Geländewagen Licht... A. The A doesn't seem to mean anything in Mercedes-speak, not even in the A-Class's name, so let's assume they're telling us it's a light off-roader based on the A-Class. Except that it's not really an off-roader, so if you see one, pick off the G and see if anyone subsequently asks the owner about their trip to Los Angeles. Oh, and according to some unreliable source that could easily be bullshit, CDI might stand for Commonrail Direct Injection. But probably not.
A range of four-cylinder engines is available to sheeple, and most pundits reckon there will eventually be an A45-based 335bhp AMG version, named after Alpha Male Gorillas. Until such time, the engine range is as follows:
"200" - 1.6 turbo, 156bhp
"250" - 2.0 turbo, 211bhp, 0-60 in 6.5 seconds with "4MATIC" all-wheel-drive
"200 CDI" - 2.2 turbo diesel, 136bhp, 300Nm
"220 CDI" - 2.2 turbo diesel, 170bhp, 350Nm
Previously the numbers on the back gave a strong clue to the engine's size (or rather displacement), but everyone's downsizing now, so because Germans don't like numbers that are smaller, they've become meaningless in that respect and are now used more as a hierarchy, so a bigger number means your one is better. These engines can be had with a 6-speed manual gearbox for approximately seven or eight buyers, or with a 7-speed DCT, known as a 7G-DCT. I'll leave you to come up with your own daft meaning to that acronym.
If the standard look aren't chunky enough, and you just love Alpha Male Gorillas, you can specify the AMG trim that makes the bumpers bigger and gives you different wheels and interior bits, like so:
|Mercedes-Benz General Lighthouse Authority 250 Alpha Male Gorillas Line 4MATIC.|
|Don't be fooled - that's not dirt, it's just a beige road. Those aren't real heat vents on the bumper, either......|
Also, the rear indicators and reverse lights look like part of the chrome bar, which is kinda cool except for the outline of the wine gums they call brake lights interrupting the silver sliver and spoiling the effect. Porsche did it better on the Boxster/Cayman. In fairness to Mercedes, all this swoopy surfacing and whatnot means a drag coefficient of just 0.29, which isn't bad at all for something tall and blocky and helps claw back some of the lost MPG to the lower A-Class. Plus you can drive over sand, big stones, even tall grass thanks to that extra smidgen of ride height. Not that you will. You'll just drive over speed bumps and cheap driveway gravel in it.
|SPONTANEOUS SHOT OF THE VARIABLE INTERIOR CONCEPT NOT REALLY DOING ANYTHING|
Compact crossovers. Fuck 'em.
If you love lighthouses, then please, click here for more pictures and information