Back in the decade of decadence (the 1980s), members of (what we now refer to as) the Yuppie generation wanted something to brag about. These ambitious corporate ladder climbers wanted to one-up their peers in every way. Unfortunately, most yuppies were too young to have earned enough dough to afford a ticket to travel “S-class”. No, the flagship Mercedes-Benz was still reserved for royalty and others who felt just as entitled. To solve this dilemma, Mercedes-Benz did something that would seem a bit crazy by today’s standards. It spent close to $1 billion (depending on the source) to develop a compact sedan that drove just like (if not better than) an SEL (now S-class), but was just within the yuppie budget. Enter the Mercedes-Benz 190e, a technological masterpiece that has since become a modern classic known endearingly as the “Original Baby Benz”.
Today’s young executives (aka Yuppies) have different priorities. Showing off now takes a back seat to more practical and responsible goals. Things like reliability, cost of maintenance, utility, and safety are the catch phrases that sell vehicles today, even prestigious luxury sedans. Now, Mercedes-Benz has always been a pioneer in vehicle safety, but the market comprised of vehicles that are luxurious while also reliable and relatively inexpensive to maintain has become very crowded. Japanese companies such as Lexus & Acura have lead in this market by a wide margin until recently. Whether the new GLA250 will help Mercedes-Benz earn a leadership role in dependability and cost of ownership remains to be seen, but the GLA’s initial base price of $31,300 combined with its foundation of simple yet proven engineering (i.e. front wheel drive) should give it a fighting chance to say the least.
So, what will be brag-worthy? Indeed, the GLA features some impressive options, but will it be the gadgetry that owners want to show off, or the value? Yes, that’s right. It can now be argued that a Mercedes-Benz product presents somewhat of a bang-for-the-buck proposition. Let’s talk about active safety. Standard features include, Attention Assist drowsiness detection and radar-based Collision Prevention Assist Plus with autonomous braking, which can help prevent collisions from speeds of 5-65 miles per hour when following a moving vehicle (5-31 miles per hour when behind a stationary vehicle). Blind Spot and Lane Keeping Assist are also available on the GLA. And to prevent minor fender benders, The GLA offers the optional Parktronic with Park Assist. This system allows for both parallel and perpendicular parking.
Combine the aforementioned safety features with legendary Mercedes-Benz structural rigidity and industry leading passive safety, and you can transport what you truly value from point A to point B in class, style, and with peace of mind. In this day and age, that is what drivers are bragging about. While quirky features and evidence of over engineering were enough to send yesterday’s Yuppies into frenzies, today’s up-and-comers understand that you can’t take it with you, as they say. In these times of uncertainty, it is nice to know that the three-pointed star understands what is important to consumers in the 21st century.