Luxury used to mean big. The bigger the car, the more luxurious. But upscale customers these days are demanding smaller packages that don't skimp on the luxury accoutrements, and few are as keenly aware of that as Mercedes-Benz. The German automaker is betting big on its new small car family with the introduction of the new A-Class hatchback, B-Class minivan, CLA four-door coupe and this, the new GLA crossover.
Slotting into Mercedes' crossover SUV lineup below the GLK, GL, G and ML classes, the new GLA is set to debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show next month, and in preparation has now been revealed in full. And what we're looking at is a stylish compact crossover.
"With the compact GLA we add a fifth attractive SUV variant to the Mercedes-Benz model portfolio in this constantly growing segment. The GLA impresses mainly with its progressive character and agile handling," says Mercedes-Benz Executive VP Dr. Joachim Schmidt. "So I am very confident that the GLA, with its fascinating design and high everyday practicality, will fill many new customers with enthusiasm for the Mercedes-Benz brand."
Those dynamic curves closely mirror the concept car which Mercedes displayed at the Shanghai Auto Show earlier this year, with a muscular stance that's not just a smaller version of its larger siblings, but a sportier-looking one as well. Underneath the sheet metal sits an interior space similar to the CLA with which it shares its mechanical underpinnings and is similarly packed with all the latest luxury, convenience and safety equipment you'd expect from a new Mercedes. That includes the integrated Collision Prevention Assist Plus system to help drivers avoid accidents and a dashboard display that can monitor off-roading parameters, like slope angles and compass directions.
Power comes from a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine driving 208 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and 4Matic all-wheel drive as the only initial powertrain option — other choices (including a front-drive version) are set to follow. Look for the all-new 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class to reach U.S. showrooms starting in the fall of 2014 as a competitor to the likes of the BMW X1 and Audi Q3.