If you liked Mercedes-Benz’s recent CLA compact sedan but want something with a bigger helping of rugged, pay attention to the Shanghai Auto Show.
It’s there that the German automaker will debut an all-new concept dubbed the GLA. This small crossover SUV shares a platform with the CLA sedan, as well as Mercedes’ A- and B-class cars sold elsewhere around the globe.
"The Concept GLA marks a new approach for us in the compact SUV segment," Joachim Schmidt, executive vice president for Mercedes marketing, said in a statement. "This is a sporty and more coupe-like evolution of this category of vehicle."
Though the GLA shown in China is officially a concept, it’s virtually certain that Mercedes will produce the vehicle, most likely in time for an on-sale date in late 2014.
The production version of the vehicle would be the GLA250. It will be all-wheel-drive and powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that’s nearly identical to the one in the CLA. The engine will make 208 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. It will be hooked up to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Shortly after the production GLA250 goes on sale, it’s also likely that an AMG version will come to market. The GLA45 AMG should have a similar output to its CLA45 AMG cousin; 355 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque.
The compact GLA sits about 4 inches shorter than the BMW X1 that Highway 1 recently tested, but it’s a few inches higher and wider. Mercedes hasn’t released pricing information, but given that it’s mechanically similar to the CLA sedan -- which will start around $30,000 when it goes on sale in September -- the GLA probably will be priced in the same range.