By: IOL Motoring Staff

Bottrop, Germany - Scarcely had the new Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class hit the showrooms in its native Germany than top tuning haus Brabus announced this strikingly styled body kit with distinctive off-road highlights and tailor-made Monoblock rims from 18” to 21” diameter.

And that's just the cosmetics - the Brabus GLA wish-list also includes engine tweaks up to 294kW, raised or lowered suspension, a stainless-steel four-barrelled sports exhaust system and a raft of interior trim options.

For the Mercedes GLA 220 CDI turbodiesel, there's the plug-and-play Eco PowerXtra D3 piggyback auxiliary control unit, delivering an extra 30kW for a claimed 155kW and 410Nm - good enough for a 0-100km/h sprint in eight seconds flat and a top speed of 220km/h.

There's also a PowerXtra piggyback module for each four-cylinder turbopetrol model - right up to the CGI B45 tuning kit for the top-of-the-range GLA 45 that puts out 294kW and 500 Nm, taking the all-wheel-drive SUV off the line to 100km/h in just 4.4 seconds and - in conjunction with Brabus' V/max unit - on to 270km/h.

The all-stainless Brabus sports auspuff, with dual chrome-plated tailpipes on either side, is available for almost all diesel and petrol GLA derivatives. Brabus says its voice is “sportier but by no means obtrusive”; GLA 250 owners, however, can opt for a model-specific system with a driver-controlled butterfly valve that varies the sound from discreet to “markedly sporty”.

RAISED OR LOWERED?

The Brabus boffins swing both ways with the GLA - for those of us who like being able to see over the tops of the hatches and the convenient entry and exit of a higher seat (note that nobody is saying anything about off-road ability) the Bottrop Boykies have a suspension that raises ride height by about 30mm.

And if you want the sporty 'slammed' look (and more dynamic handling) there's a set of sports springs that lower the ride height by about 25mm.

All of which rolls on a line-up of special tyre/wheel combinations ranging from 18” to 21” in diameter, topped by Brabus' own 9Jx21 Platinum Edition rims in either Monoblock F or R designs, shod with either Pirelli or Yokohama 255/30 radials.

IT'S ALL ABOUT STYLE

The Brabus designers have developed styling elements in reinforced polyurethane that will fit straight on to the GLA-Class in Standard, Style or Urban derivatives, with another kit under development specifically for AMG Line models.

The front element replaces the central insert of the front bumper, tapering off to the sides like a second spoiler, neatly lining up with a stylised bash plate, with extra trims for the side air inlets in the front bumper.

Concealed LED lighting in the side skirts - activated either by the keyless remote or by pulling on a door handle - makes getting in and out safer in the dark.

A rear spoiler gets attached to the top of the hatch, and a new rear bumper insert matches the bash-plate design of the front, with neat cout-outs for the four tailpipes of the Brabus exhaust.

GO WILD INSIDE

Start with two-tone stainless-steel scuff plates with the Brabus logo - also available with optional lighting - and then you can add matt-anodized aluminium pedals, door-lock pins and shift paddles.

The upholstery shop can handle anything from adding some extra trim to the standard leather interior to crafting a complete new cabin in a mix of luxuriously soft Mastik leather and alcantara synthetic suede - in any colour you want.