Mercedes Benz PH’s latest offering, the 2020 GLA, made its official debut online earlier this week. We know that it will be faring against the likes of the BMW X1 in the compact luxury crossover SUV market. Both are of German make, and so our curiosity got the best of us. How do these two cars from two upscale car brands hailing from the same country stack up against each other?
The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLA is heavily based on the latest Mercedes Benz A Class. The newest GLA did not just added a couple of sizes to its girth, it also added a couple of sizes to its height. A taller ride, plus the addition of wider wheel arches, allow drivers to cross floods with relative ease. It’s taller, bolder, and sportier than the model it replaces, thanks to a larger but lighter new-gen modular front architecture (MFA) platform. The GLA's profile lines are also edgier and more angular, giving it a distinct, aggressive profile. As for noteworthy exterior features, the GLA is fitted with new LED headlights and taillights, a wider tailgate opening, and a chrome bumper with two square-shaped exhausts.
Though the second-gen X1 looks more conventional than the ‘estate car’ aesthetics of the first generation, it does benefit from a taller roofline and seating position. Up front, the snout is also a lot shorter this time around, encapsulating BMW's serious shift from using massive engines with lengthy rear-wheel drive systems in favor of more compact transverse engines and front-wheel drives. The sporty LED headlights with cornering lights complement the German brand's signature Kidney Grille well, and having the front lights mimic the taillights shape-wise gives the overall look a touch of cohesiveness. Other stylish exterior features include aluminum side window frame trims, high-gloss roof rails, and an electric panorama glass roof with slide and lift functions.
Of course, an upgraded size also means added space for the Mercedes-Benz GLA. This is especially true for its rear passengers. Entering the GLA's cabin, you will be welcomed by the decidedly Benz-like interior—large hi-def screens for the infotainment and digital gauge cluster systems, turbine-style air conditioner vents, and shiny metallic trimmings all around. The GLA seats up to five people, and the rear seats can be folded down in either a 40:20:40 configuration in case owners want to increase the cargo space. Other nifty features include a Car Wash mode that automatically closes the windows and sunroof and disables the automatic wipers, and the Mercedes Benz User Experience (MBUX) that features an advanced voice control system that can be operated by greeting it "Hey Mercedes." Standard equipment include keyless ignition, and a rearview camera, automatic climate control, and panoramic sunroof.
As a five-seat crossover in the luxury segment, comfort, convenience and flexibility are the name of the game for the BMW X1. The seat and steering wheel offers multiple adjustment options, so drivers can easily find the driving position they are most comfortable with. The elevated seating position not only gives drivers a better all-round view of the road, but also makes ingress and egress a whole lot easier for driver and passengers alike. A generous sense of spaciousness permeates in the cabin, led by the high roof line and followed up by the use of large window surfaces. Even tall passengers will find legroom and headroom front and back more than ample.
The all-new GLA that will be released in western markets will include several types of engines. Meanwhile, there will be one engine available locally: a 1.3-liter 4-cylinder diesel engine that can churn out 163hpand 250Nm of torque. Ensuring its efficiency is a 7G dual-clutch automatic transmission with cruise control and standard front-wheel drive, linking to a set of on-the-fly driving modes called Dynamic Select that offers ECO, Comfort, Sport, and Individual options. Perfect for heavy traffic situations, the new Mercedes-Benz GLA has an ECO Start/Stop system that automatically shuts off the engine when at a stoplight or idling—and drivers can easily disable it, if preferred.
The latest BMW X1—a 2019 model—is powered by a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder TwinPower Turbo diesel engine that delivers 150hp and 350Nm. This engine powers a four-wheel drive system via an 8-speed Steptronic transmission that promotes optimum power build-up at all speeds. The engine itself boasts excellent responsiveness, agile power, and remarkably low fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Top speed is 205kmph, and acceleration from 0 to 100kmph is 9.3secs.
The GLA will come standard with numerous safety features that Mercedes Benz is famous for, such as Autonomous Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Monitoring, Active Steer Assist with Active Lane Change Assist, and Evasive Steering Assist. Meanwhile, sophisticated LED lighting technology, proactive occupant protection and attentive assistance systems deliver comprehensive assistance and protection for occupants. The LED high-performance headlamps in particular, help enhance night-time driving safety thanks to broad light distribution, a daylight-like color temperature, and low energy consumption. All these are part of the Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive suite of exemplary safety systems.
The BMW X1 enjoys a good number 5-star safety ratings from international car safety testing bodies such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP). A total of six airbags (driver and front passenger, two head airbags, and two side airbags) offer targeted crash protection for all occupants. An Approach Control Warning with Light City Braking function alerts drivers of potential collisions, while activating automatic safety systems to minimize impact. Likewise, a Cornering Brake Control (CBC) provides automatic asymmetrical braking when driving on a bend. An array of driver assistance systems are also onboard, including parking assistant, rearview camera, and BMW head-up display (HUD) that projects information relevant to the journey directly into the driver's field of vision.
Price and options
The new Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class comes in only one lone option, the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class 200 AMG Line which has a PHP3.29 million starting price. Further, the GLA 200 AMG Line is also packed with additional tech like the Light & Sight Package and Parking Package. The latter includes an Active Parking Assist with reversing camera, providing support when parking and maneuvering.
BMW PH is offering two versions of the X1 locally—the BMW X1 sDrive18d xLine priced at PHP3.09 million, and the BMW X1 xDrive 20d xLine, which costs PHP800,000 more. As with any BMW car, packages and options abound, and the amount of luxury you can get is only limited by how much buyers are willing to shell out. Package options include Sport Line, xLine, and M Sport packages, along with a host of other equipment choices. Audio options top off with a Harman-Kardon premium hi-fi sound system.
Given that both cars are high quality luxury vehicles, the level of personalization and customization is unmatched by many in their segment. Ultimately though, when it comes to luxurious crossovers, the 2019 BMW X1 and 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class belong on your shortlist of worthy candidates for purchase, as long as you have the moolah.
Photo/s from Mercedes-Benz, BMW