Riding the Phoenix streets in the latest Mercedes

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Posted 23 Mar 2015 in Scrap Book
2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class

By Nicole James
In March, members of the Phoenix Automotive Press Association made their way to the Phoenix Art Museum where they drove three Mercedes-Benz vehicles, including an AMG, and learned about the innovative things the company is doing to engage Millennials.
The evening was split into two parts; the ride and drive and the presentation where PAPA members heard from the GLA and CLA Project manager, Anna.
Anna Kleinbreil, product manager for Mercedes-Benz USA, spoke about how Mercedes-Benz has been making a push to introduce vehicles, in large part, designed for new and younger buyers. According to MBUSA research, Millennials comprise 25 percent of the current population and by 2017 they will have more buying power then any other demographic group.
To appeal to this group, aged 25-34, Mercedes has developed the CLA and GLA models. In its first full year of sales, 74 percent of those buying the CLA, a compact front-wheel-drive sedan, were new to Mercedes showrooms, and 70 percent were buying their first luxury-brand vehicle.
Also notable was that 30 percent of the “build-your-own” online feature in 2014 involved the CLA.
To appeal to this new audience, MBUSA took to Facebook, Twitter and started a very successful Instagram campaign, #TakeTheWheel. For #TakeTheWheel, MBUSA gave five Instagram photographers the keys to a new CLA for two weeks and had them document their experience. The photographer whose posts drew the most people got to keep the keys and the car.
The campaign increased MBUSA’s Instagram following by 200 percent.
Mercedes’ newest car is the recently launched GLA, a sport utility vehicle based on the CLA. The wagon-style vehicle has a bold design fused with function and passion to deliver flexibility, fuel efficiency and fun.
Available for PAPA members to test drive were the GLA250, the GLA45 AMG and the C400.
The GLA 250 has a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4-cylinder engine with 208 horsepower. The AMG version pushes output to 355 hp.
The C400 4Matic sedan comes with a 3.0-liter biturbo V6 that pushes out 329 horsepower.
Being a Millennial and the demographic Mercedes-Benz is appealing to, I offer my perspective on the vehicles after driving major surface streets in downtown Phoenix in the middle of rush hour.
By far the GLA 250 and the GLA 45 were more enjoyable to drive. While being undeniably gorgeous, the C400 4Matic was like other Mercedes-Benz sedans — large and luxurious and while it had some power it was a bit stuffy. The price tag of around $50,000 seemed unattainable, at least for the moment. I felt like I needed to be about 10 or 20 years older to really enjoy the car.
Both the GLA 250 and the GLA 45 AMG were smaller and seemed a bit more zippy. The AMG version is like a small power wagon for the gear-head thinking about having a family or taking trips with friends.
Of the two, I basically fell in love withmercedes trio the AMG. The turbo spool made me drool while the carbon fiber in the interior drew me in. While driving, you could tell people around me were interested in the vehicle. It was something the average Phoenix commuter hadn’t seen yet.
I had the windows down and while stopped at a light, the 30-something passengers in the car next to me asked what I was driving and said, “That’s the coolest Mercedes I have ever seen!”