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2018 Mercedes GLA gets styling and feature updates in regular and AMG strengths

Sure, they're not quite as exciting as the updates to the AMG GT lineup, but the subcompact GLA-class crossover gets some love for 2018 as well. All three revised models – the GLA250, GLA250 4Matic, and AMG GLA45 – are being shown for the first time at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show this week.

After receiving interior updates for the 2016 model year, the GLA is now getting a more comprehensive refresh. The sheetmetal stays the same, while the bumpers at both ends of the Benz and AMG versions have been redone – the fog lights move out to the corners on standard models, while the GLA45's front fascia has a more horizontal look and features air-redirecting brows over the large inlets. The AMG model also gets a new diffuser insert at the rear as well as a lip for the hatch-mounted spoiler. LED headlights are available on the GLA250 and standard on the GLA45, replacing the previous bi-xenon units.

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Inside, Mercedes focused on making the GLA feel a bit more upscale, with more chrome trim accents around the cabin and on some switches, and a redesigned gauge cluster with a different typeface. AMG models get a pretty intense dash appliqué as well as air vent trim keyed to the color of the stitching and seat trim. The 8.0-inch center screen is now standard on all models, and the available smartphone integration package now includes Android Auto functionality along with Apple CarPlay. A rearview camera is also now standard, and the Parking Assist Package now includes a surround-view camera system with multiple views, including one from overhead. Hands-free access for the hatch (which lets you open it up by waving your leg under the bumper) is now available.

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Powertrains remain the same for both models, with the GLA250s again coming with a 208-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, with front-wheel drive standard and 4Matic all-wheel drive an option. There's no more power for the GLA45, which got an upgrade to 375 hp and 350 pound-feet of torque for 2016. It again uses a handbuilt AMG version of the 2.0-liter and comes only with an AMG-tuned 4Matic all-wheel-drive system.

GLA45 buyers looking to stand out can now opt for the AMG Performance Studio Package, which adds yellow trim and accents just about everywhere inside and out, including the interior air vents and floor mats. The package is available in either Night Black or Cosmos Black and also includes Matte Graphite Grey decals, which look subtle in comparison to the yellow outbursts. There's also a pretty crazy rear wing (with end planes!) that comes with it. A similar package will also be offered on the related CLA45 coupe-sedan.

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Pricing for the updated 2018 GLA250, GLA250 4Matic, and GLA45 has not yet been announced, but we don't expect large increases over 2017 levels. All three will go on sale in the summer of 2017.

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