” This is the Mercedes Concept GLA, which is set to wow the crowds at the Shanghai Motor Show later this week.
The all-new small SUV is aimed squarely at the likes of the Audi Q3, BMW X3 and Range Rover Evoque, but is longer, wider and lower than all those models to accentuate the striking design.
It follows the Concept A-Class from last year as a thinly veiled production model, with the GLA due in showrooms in the winter. Some of the dramatic styling is taken from the ENER-G-Force concept – seen at November’s LA show – with a wide chrome scuff plate and integrated LED foglights under a massive twin-bar grille.
But the A-Class design DNA is still clear – and it shares the hatch’s swept-back headlights and sharp panel creases. The C-pillars have been widened to give the GLA a stronger stance, while curved rear light clusters are integrated into the tailgate (as on the Q3) and a set of twin exhausts is built into the bumpers.
The concept uses a 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine with 208bhp to drive all four wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch auto gearbox. Expect the final version to offer a selection of A-Class-sourced four-cylinder diesel and petrol engines, with all models getting standard 4MATIC 4WD.
Despite this promise of rugged ability, Mercedes is keen to point out that the GLA also features many “coupe characteristics”. These include frameless windows and slim handles recessed into the doors, and mean the new car could rival the BMW X4, also at Shanghai.
Mercedes is likely to tone down the luxurious leather and aluminium interior before the GLA reaches showrooms, but the raised centre console, prominent air vents and overall shape of the dash will all be carried over. ”