Mercedes-Benz GLA wants to prove that it can deliver robust driving

Article by Anita Panait, on February 20, 2014

To prove that a cheaper and smaller sports utility vehicle like the Mercedes-Benz GLA could deliver dynamic driving and a number of technologies, the German luxury carmaker is taking the crossover in the rugged terrain around Granada, Spain. Gracing the GLA’s showcasing in Spain is Daimler chief executive Dieter Zetsche, who also directly runs Mercedes.

He remarked that the recent momentum at luxury carmaker is just the starting point for reclaiming the crown as the largest premium-car maker in the world from BMW.

"The developments from January and the last few months are definitely satisfying, but it's certainly not the final confirmation that we've done everything right," Zetsche remarked.  Zetsche has been able to steer Mercedes-Benz to faster growth in recent months than rivals BMW and Audi.

The GLA crossover, which is the fourth of five new compact models aimed at younger buyers, is critical to maintaining that momentum.

GLA crossover is being aimed at tech-savvy city residents with options like iPhone integration, live traffic data and Glympse location-sharing systems. The carmaker will start selling the GLA in Europe March 15 and in the United States in September.

It will have a starting price of EUR29,300 ($40,000) in Germany. Zetsche is considering adding a new "full-blown" site outside Europe as he started planning for the models that will follow the compacts currently coming to market. "We are supplying every compact car we can, but not all that the markets are demanding," Zetsche remarked.

The designers’ innovative thinking came into play in the Concept GLA through an array of distinctive features like its dynamic bonnet with powerdomes as well as the sporty radiator grille with its centrally positioned Mercedes star. The star’s new surround is now merged into two horizontal bars. In addition, the Concept GLA comes with the so-called "softcubes," which are actually soft, raised pads that help define the radiator grille. These softcubes could also be found on the side sill panels as well as alongside the exhaust tailpipes.

Concept GLA is also fitted with distinctive door mirrors with twin supporting struts and a protective grille -- a feature common with SUVs. Lending the Concept GLA its stunningly powerful looks is its exterior finish, which is specified in silver Alubeam paint finish.

The flanks of the Concept GLA also help exude a sense of power and confidence, as emphasized by a "dropping line" extending from the headlamp unit to the wheel arch on the rear. The beltline trim, meanwhile, rises slightly starting from the rear door to the C-pillar.

This beltline trim, along with light-catching contour on the flank and the line rising from the level of the door sill to the dropping line, results to a distinct interplay of lines. Interestingly, the Concept GLA features fully recessed slim door handles that appears following the press of a button. Also helping highlight the Concept GLA’s coupe-like appearance are its frameless side windows.

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