SPY PICS: Mercedes GLA

words - Gautam Sharma
Three-pointed star set to grow its SUV line-up with a baby brother to the GLK
Mercedes-Benz’s Matryoshka doll product strategy shows no sign of abating as its crossover family is set to grow with the addition of the compact GLA, spawned off the MFA platform that also underpins the A-Class and B-Class.

Also due to be built off the same architecture is the swoopy CLA, essentially a baby brother to the CLS.

Mercedes has stated it will build five different model lines off the MFA platform, and it’s believed the fifth one is a compact roadster that may be known as the SLA.

Getting back to the GLA, these Carparazzi images captured in snowy climes reveal a car with a low roofline yet generous ground clearance, in line with its intended positioning against the likes of the Range Rover Evoque.

It will almost certainly be offered with the full range of four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines available in the A- and B-Class, and it’s possible both front-drive and 4Matic all-wheel-drive formats will be on the menu.

The range could potentially be topped by an AMG variant powered by the same turbocharged 2.0-litre four with circa-250kW used by the upcoming A45 AMG.

A Mercedes-Benz insider was recently quoted by Autocar magazine as saying a new compact SUV (ie the GLA) would go on sale in the UK by the end of 2014. This provides confirmation the vehicle will be built in right-hand-drive form, unlike the larger GLK (which is solely a left-hooker).

The test mule in the accompanying images wears heavy camouflage that conceals all the details, but the size and proportions of the vehicle are clearly evident. In fact, it’s believed Mercedes plans to grow the GLK’s dimensions in its next generation to create space for the arrival of the GLA. 

Merc’s decision to belatedly join the segment is hardly surprising as the BMW X1 and Audi Q3 have carved a solid niche for themselves in the prestige compact SUV category. 

In Australia alone, the X1 has earned 1362 sales until the end of November this year, while the Q3 is nipping at its heels with 1335 sales.

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Published : Saturday, 8 December 2012
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