You’re looking at the best shots yet of the new Mercedes GLA, the downsized crossover that’ll launch later in 2013 to steal sales from the Audi Q3 and BMW X1.
The GLA is based on the same underpinnings as the A-class hatchback, and will share its engines and gearboxes too. Plus, the cabin design is a straight copy-and-paste job too, as seen in these undisguised interior spy shots.
Is the Mercedes GLA just an A-class on stilts?
That’s harsh – the body panels are all new, and look like a toned-down version of the GLA concept car unveiled in April 2013. Expect the round foglights and 20in rims to disappear, but the doorskin styling lines and upright tail with bulbous rear light clusters to remain. This test mule sports the same long-wheelbase, short overhang stance as the concept, and more ground clearance than the GLA’s rivals.
So will the GLA actually be able to go off-road?
A Range Rover Evoque will likely remain top of the posh crossover class for a spot of greenlaning, but the GLA shouldn’t be far behind. Mercedes will offer 4Matic all-wheel drive on the GLA, as seen on the A45 AMG and CLA 45 AMG twins.
The downsized 4x4 set-up houses the power take-off unit (which sends power to the rear wheels) into the standard 7G Tronic automatic transmission unit. This space-saving measure cuts friction, improves efficiency, and cuts reduces the overall weight penalty of speccing 4Matic by 25%.
Will there be a GLA 45 AMG?
Yes – look out Audi RS Q3. The super-GLA will borrow the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder from the hot A-class and CLA, with 355bhp and 332lb ft on tap. The flagship GLA is expected to cost around £45,000 – entry-level GLAs will likely start at a more reasonable £25k.