The Mercedes GLA compact crossover (by Christian Schulte)

The Mercedes GLA compact crossover (by Christian Schulte)

Mercedes GLA (2013): latest news on the junior crossover

By Georg Kacher (artist's impression by Christian Schulte)

Spy shots

01 May 2012 06:02

That Mercedes were planning a niche-filling compact crossover to compliment the latest A/B-class small cars has never been in doubt. But as we get closer to seeing the vehicle in dealer showrooms, the car that started out as the BLK and then got tagged GLC is now labelled GLA.

Thank the Swabian product planners, and the new nomenclature for the Mercedes range.

Mercedes GLA: the lowdown on the 2013 baby Benz SUV

GLA shares its MFA (Mercedes Front-Wheel Drive Architecture) with this year's new W176 A-class hatchback and the more MPV-like W246 B-class.

Dimensionally it will be similar to the B-class, with a length of 4440mm, width of 1800mm, and 1500mm height , sitting on the MFA platform's standard 2700mm wheelbase and offering 500 litres of luggage capacity.

Those exterior dimensions put the new Merc GLA slightly longer, narrower and lower than the five-door Range Rover Evoque, or Audi Q3 but with a longer wheelbase than either. BMW's X1 is longer than the GLA and offers a wheelbase that's 60mm longer.

The Mercedes GLA's sharper new suit

Our fresh depiction of the GLA is informed by the latest evolution of Mercedes design language by Gorden Wagener and his team. The bolder surfacing of the A-class hatchback and 2012 Beijing motor show Concept Style Coupe concept, along with acclaim for the wedgey Evoque suggest a more sporting profile than the more traditional SUV outline of the GLK currently on sale in left-hand drive markets.

Unlike GLK, UK customers will be able to purchase the GLA.

And the engines in the new baby Merc 4x4?

Powerplants and transmissions will mirror the current A/B-class range with a range of four-cylinder direct-injection petrol engines and turbodiesels, coupled to front- or four-wheel drive transmissions.

Although the compact crossover market seems to be a happy hunting ground for the premium marques right now, Mercedes is starting its MFA portfolio extension with the sleek CLA four-door, previewed as the CSC.

Sources report that the production CLA is expected to be launched in spring 2013, with the GLA arriving later in the year.