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.