With the 2013 Shanghai Motor Show only a few days away, Mercedes Benz has pulled the shroud of secrecy off of its GLA concept CUV which is a thinly veiled preview of the production GLA that will take on bitter rivals such as the BMW X1 SAV and The Audi Q3.
The exterior of the GLA concept does bear a slight resemblance to the Audi Q3 in basic profile, and features bold exterior styling elements such as a bold front grille that gives the GLA a purposeful face, performance-oriented side strakes, and new state of the art laser beam headlamps. The company claims that these new headlamps are not only good at delivering maximum night time visibility, but they are also capable of projecting a video or photograph onto a solid wall which should give parents a new way of keeping the kids entertained at night when the vehicle is parked.
While the headlamps ability to provide night time movie entertainment will most likely not make it to the production GLA, Mercedes says that the laser beam projectors wielded by the GLA Concept can be considered an early preview of advanced technology that can shine arrow shaped lights onto the road when paired with the company’s navigation system, which will give drivers the ability to follow a projected path to their destination. As a neat bonus the cameras mounted on the roof of the GLA concept can be removed and mounted GoPro-style to bicycle helmets for action footage on the go, while a visible cooling system built into the headlamp assemblies keeps things cool and allows the lights to achieve their trademark “sparkle” effect.
The interior of the GLA concept features copious amounts of leather but otherwise looks very similar to the general layout that has already been seen in the A Class as well as the stylish CLA four door sedan. While the equally extensive amounts of Plexiglas utilized for the control knobs of the company’s COMMAND system will have little chance of making it into the production version of the GLA, the LED lights located in the air vents which change color (depending on how hot or cold the temperature of the air is) could eventually trickle down into production models such as the next generation S Class and add a unique piece of visual artistry to the cabin.
Performance for the GLA concept comes from a turbocharged 2.0 liter four cylinder engine and its modest 208 horsepower is only marginally higher than the 1.8 liter engine that sees duty in the C250. The concept does come equipped with a seven speed automatic transmission as well as the company’s familiar 4Matic all wheel drive system which should allow the GLA to be very versatile while also achieving excellent fuel economy. In addition to these features, the GLA is also very small for its size, with a length of only 172.5 inches and an equally impressive height of 62.1 inches.
Look for the GLA Concept to make its official debut at the 2013 Shanghai Motor Show later this week with the production version of the GLA CUV most likely appearing at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show later this year.