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Mercedes GLA for 2014

By raccars Published

The first small SUV from Mercedes-Benz is set to make its public debut – in production form at least – at next month's Frankfurt Motor Show, prior to general release early in 2014. The very modern and sporty looking GLA should help Mercedes in its professed aim to pick up some of the younger demographic.

The GLA will be a rival to Mercedes' homeland competitors' offerings in its market sector the BMW X1 and Audi Q3. It was originally seen in concept form at this year's Shanghai Motor Show, although sensibly the production version will not come with the concept vehicle's laser headlamps that can act as projectors, beaming film onto the road or rather wacky cabin.

The concept's rather aggressive styling has also been toned down a little for production purposes. It is the fourth vehicle to be built using the Modular Front-drive Architecture already used by Mercedes on its A-Class, B-Class and CLA models, while next year's CLA Shooting Brake will be the fifth.

The GLA concept car was powered by a turbocharged 2.0 litre petrol unit, with a dual clutch seven speed transmission sending its 208bhp to all four wheels. The production version is expected to use the A-Class's four cylinder petrol and diesel units and be offered with a choice of front or four wheel 4MATIC drives. It will not be quite up to Range Rover Evoque standards but the GLA should be a fairly competent off-roader.

As a compact SUV, the GLA will seat five and take up roughly the same footprint as the A-Class, however the interior will feel more spacious thanks to an elevated ride height. In fact the GLA boasts better ground clearance than its direct rivals. It will also be a little more expensive than the A-Class by about £5,000, although exact prices have yet to be confirmed. The price will in fact vary quite a lot on a model to model basis as Mercedes is offering a huge amount of optional equipment.

There will also be a high performance AMG variant, using the A45 AMG's turbocharged 2.0 litre four cylinder engine, dual clutch seven speed gearbox and all wheel drive system for 355bhp. This is likely to retail at around £45,000.

On the inside the GLA is an almost direct copy of the CLA and will be offered with a panoramic glass roof and standard kit including Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control, electrically controlled driver's seat and Mercedes' COMAND infotainment system.

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