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Mercedes-Benz GLA Launches In Frankfurt

By raccars Published

With all the high profile SUV entries to Frankfurt, Mercedes' GLA has gone relatively unnoticed. This is the first attempt at a compact SUV or crossover style car from the German giant, which stands out from the crowd, mostly for its aerodynamic shape.

Ostensible rivals for the GLA are the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and possibly its Frankfurt show companion, the Lexus LF-NX. The GLA is an extension of Mercedes' A-Class range and shares a number of its components with the smaller vehicle. It was originally seen at this year's Shanghai Motor Show in concept form, although that has been slightly diluted for production purposes. It very much fits the current pattern for compact SUVs, which tend to resemble overgrown hatchbacks, wearing outdoor adventure gear rather than full scale mud pluggers.

In addition to its smooth profile, the GLA's other remarkable feature is the availability, as an option, of Mercedes' new 4MATIC all wheel drive system. Trim levels are GLA, ML, GL and G. Engines include 1.6 and 2.0 litre petrol units, with power outputs of 154 and 208bhp, respectively, accompanied by a couple of 2.2 litre diesels, a 134bhp and a 168bhp. These are expected to be the bigger sellers in the UK, with CO2 emissions of only 114g/km for the junior unit and fuel economy of 65mpg. 'Eco' features include start/stop technology. The standard gearbox is a seven speed automatic and most buyers are expected to eschew the option of two wheel drive, in favour of the more expensive all wheel drive.

More rugged looking than the Mercedes A-Class upon which it is based, the GLA's SUV qualifications are mostly justified by an elevated ride height. A wider boot aperture is practical for those whose leisure activities impose a lot of gear to lug around. At 421 litres, the said boot is helpfully spacious too, while optional extras include a 'Load Compartment' package, that involves sliding rear seats to favour either passenger legroom or cargo space, as needed.

Similarly, the interior is a slightly chunkier copy of the A-Class cabin. Standard kit includes faux leather upholstery, DAB radio and modern technology driver assistance options, in the form of attention assist and the automatic braking collision prevention function. For a fee, you can specify sports seating trimmed in real leather, adaptive cruise control, adaptive headlights and lane keeping technology.

The GLA order books will open in the UK with the first deliveries scheduled for the beginning of 2014. Prices start at £25,000, sitting fairly sensibly between its expected rivals. Rumour has it that there could be a hot GLA 45 AMG on its way next year...

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