It’s a year and a half before the Mercedes-Benz’s new entry-level GLA SUV goes on sale but we don’t have to wait that long to get a glimpse. It was spied while it was tested in prototype guise. The new five-seater is expected to compete with the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and Range Rover Evoque. It is part of a lineup composed of five models that are built on Mercedes’ new MFA platform.
They’re meant to go up against the A-class, B-class, CLA small saloon and CLA Shooting Brake as well as attract a younger generation of customers to the Mercedes-Benz brand. From images of the disguised GLA, we see that it has the contemporary styling theme of the new A and B-class. It features a bold front end, loud swage line graphics and shallow glasshouse.
These features are put in so that it could acquire the modern-day appeal that Mercedes’ recent small cars didn’t use to have. Some of its design details include a oval grille bookmarked by curvaceous headlights, generously dimensioned wheel arches, heavily structured flanks, a curvaceous rear shoulder, an angled tailgate and a raised ride height. The new junior SUV will provide the same range of transversely mounted engines as the B-class.
Included in its petrol units are a Renault-sourced 1.6 with 120bhp or 154bhp and an in-house-developed 2.0-litre turbo with 208bhp, or about 330bhp in the twin-turbo AMG version. It will also be available with two diesel engines: a 1.8-litre unit with either 108bhp or 134bhp and a 2.2 with 168bhp. A six-speed manual gearbox is offered as standard while a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic is offered as an option.
Base GLAs use front-wheel drive but four-wheel drive is intended for the more powerful models. The GLA can accommodate a variety of optional media connectivity services as part of Mercedes’ efforts to guarantee that more young buyers will be attracted to its future models.
Mercedes-Benz has already established “sensual clarity” as its design philosophy, and thus every time its designers pen a new vehicle, they use this styling mantra as their main guide. This design philosophy aims to create smooth surfaces and clear contours to convey a modern message while appealing to the emotions of customers. To clearly implement this design philosophy, the core design values of Tradition, Emotion and Progression were conceived to serve as the guiding star for designing each model.
With sensual purity, Mercedes is able to offer a visual link between modernity and the avant-garde, as well as between tradition and progression. In the definition of sensual purity, each of Mercedes’ model series has its own assigned role and specific character, as outlined by the focus of the design. While each model series differs from one another, they are always recognizable as a Mercedes thanks to an array of styling features.
Gorden Wagener, Vice President Design at Daimler AG, remarked that the GLA’s stunning features are an embodiment of Mercedes’ progressive thinking while adding charm to its off-road proportions. He added that the defined surfaces on the GLA exude – in a very clear manner -- both power and serenity. The GLA itself is a fusion of Mercedes’ Progression and Tradition design values. It is an all-round vehicle with Mercedes’ signature SUV DNA, with youthful and dramatic styling.
The stunning appeal of the new GLA is defined by its raised body, low greenhouse, and large wheel arches. Its body is laden with clearly defined surfaces and sharp lines, resulting to varying levels of sculptured contours.