Motorhub is a big fan of the current generation Mercedes-Benz GLA (read our review here: http://motorhub.ie/mercedes-benz-gla-review-2/ It features the latest generation high-tech dash layout and interface (MBUX) wrapped up in a compact SUV/crossover package that is highly desirable. The automatic GLA on test this week is a bit different as it features a couple of subtle EQ badges and not one but two fuel flaps. One conceals a petrol filler and the other a Type 2 electric charging socket – making it a PHEV plug in hybrid.
Under the well equipped GLA 250e’s skin there is a small 1.3 litre petrol engine, an electric motor and a small rechargeable battery. The petrol engine and electric motor are both able to power the car’s front wheels independently. If extra power is needed they combine their outputs to deliver up to 218hp/450nm. For this amount of power in an SUV you’d expect a hefty amount of CO2 emissions but the 250e when used as intended produces a tiny amount (31g/km). This places the ‘e’ model in Ireland’s lowest annual motor tax band (€140). Average fuel consumption is quoted at 1.6-1.8L/100km. When used without battery power the fuel consumption rises dramatically – as with all PHEVs. The trick with all PHEVs is to charge them up as often as possible to get maximum efficiency and of course retain ‘green motoring’ bragging rights! The GLA 250e can sprint from 0-100km/h in a brisk 7.1 seconds and top speed is an autobahn friendly 220km/h.
The rechargeable battery has a capacity of 10.6kWh that powers the electric motor. It takes one hour 45 minutes to charge at a 7kW wallbox or five and a half hours using a domestic three-pin plug. Because of the battery’s relatively low capacity (next to an EV) there is no need for a CCS (AC/DC) plug socket to access fast charging. In ideal driving conditions this compact PHEV can travel up to 55km in zero emissions electric only mode. The battery pack and other bits and pieces robs some cargo space compared to ta standard GLA. The 250e’s boot is reduced from 495 to 455 litres.
On the road the plug in hybrid drives well and only under hard acceleration will you notice its power train. The car lacks the weighty mass ‘feel’ of larger Mercedes-Benz PHEVs. The small petrol engine and electric motor are not that harmonious. You can feel the car shift between power sources or combinations there of. Premium driving should be seamless and despite the nice 8-speed dual clutch auto gearbox the power source shift between electric and petrol motors is noticeable. That said the 250e has plenty of power and progress can be enjoyably swift. The 250e would be brilliant if its hybrid integration delivered the refinement we expect from Mercedes.
The GLA 250e A/T starts from €48,690. Our test car had the optional ‘night pack’ (€764), 19” alloys (€764) and ‘Artico’ leather (€170) that brought the sticker price up to €50,388.
The Mercedes-Benz GLA 250e is the perfect stepping stone to the all electric ‘EQA’ and in the meantime a nice green alternative to the standard GLA.