The new 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 4MATIC comes to the U.S. as the “entry-level/affordable” baby Benz. A quick look at the sticker price and a $38,230 base price with $1,050 Destination charge makes that a semi-believable point. But add in all the options, as our fully-loaded press vehicle comes spec’d, and the price tops out at $55,840. Ouch. As Tommy says in the video, that’s heading toward the base price of the new C8 Corvette.
Nearly $20,000 in options
This baby Benz starts with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine good for 221 horsepower and 258 lb-ft. torque. The engine connects to an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission and MB’s 4MATIC AWD system. Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and Bluetooth are standard, same with a rearview camera and stability and traction control systems. Basic stuff that you expect for any crossover closing in on $40K. It’s when we start ticking off the options, that things get wacky. To wit:
- $720 for Cosmos Black Metallic paint
- $360 for the steering wheel
- $750 for 20-inch wheels
- $950 for heated and vented front seats
- $1,050 for the panoramic sunroof
- $1,100 for the head’s up display
- $460 for Sirius XM Radio (not the subscription, just the radio)
- $360 for an adjustable 2nd row seat
- $850 for the Burmester Surround Sound System
- $310 for 64-Color Interior Ambient Lighting
- $200 for a wireless charger
- $25 for a USB-C to USB adapter cable (which is $5 cheaper than what it’d cost at an Apple Store)
- $1,700 for all the safety and passive-driver features and tech
- $1,090 for the parking assist package, so you don’t have to park it yourself
- $1,295 upgraded LED headlights and taillights package
- $2,240 for AMG body styling and grill so it looks like an AMG Mercedes. But it isn’t.
- $1,050 for the 10.25-inch instrument display cluster and 10.25″ infotainment touchscreen, folding mirrors, auto-dimming mirrors (This one, I think is worth it)
And that’s how we get to a nearly $56,000 “entry-level” Benz.
2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA packs luxury touches
Being a luxury crossover, the new Benz does do a lot to justify its price. The optional 10.25″ dash display seamlessly flows into the 10.25″ infotainment touchscreen, home to a host of cool tricks. A driver can switch the car between “Themes” such as “Adventure” for off-roading, “Experience” (a.k.a. Sport mode), and “Lounge,” which simplifies the dash to remove as many distractions as possible. The voice-command system is among the best in cardom, and it will not only control most of the car’s functions, it can even answer random questions such as “What’s the population of Nowhere, USA that I just passed?”
The seats also feature a “Seat Kinectics” feature that automatically adjusts both driver and front passenger seats for optimal comfort, adjusting bolsters as necessary throughout a drive, depending upon the nature of the road. The rear seats offer an impressive amount of leg and headroom, and that’s before you adjust them to recline back even further.
Not keen on smearing up the glorious touchscreen? Access it via the trackpad in the center console. It works much better than the Lexus version.
What goes into that price tag?
So how does the Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 start at a price of a maxed-out Lexus NX300? As best we can tell, it may be due to the over-engineering of little things, such as the cupholders, the pop-out rear camera, and even the wireless charger, which has a swivel out bar to hold your smartphone in place. Heck even the fake, chrome-tipped exhaust ports in the rear count as a head-scratching detail and expense that adds up to a costly vehicle. It’s an approach to luxury that, ahem, an engineer would love. One that is less about an elegant touch and feel, and more about technology and flash. And that’s just fine, except that it pushes the cost of the GLA250 to the wrong end of a supremely competitive market.
Our driving impressions of the spirited turbo four-cylinder and 8-speed transmission are on hold for another couple of weeks, but for now you can check out, Tommy’s take on the GLA250 in his detailed video of the car below.