New Mercedes Benz GLA-Class Designed to Appeal to Younger Drivers

An all-new Mercedes-Benz compact crossover is scheduled to make its debut at the Frankfurt International Motor Show next month. The new GLA-Class will reportedly be in dealer showrooms for the 2015 model year and is Mercedes’ answer to the Range Rover Evoque, Audi A3 and BMW X1 compact crossover models.  The X1 went on sale this year, and the A3 is scheduled to launch next year.

The GLA-Class is reported to be very similar in appearance to the Concept GLA model, which was unveiled at the Shanghai International Auto Show last April.  Much of the model’s underpinnings have been taken from the CLA Class, which is scheduled to go on sale this fall.

The first GLA-Class to go on sale will be the 2015 GLA250 4Matic, which is scheduled to launch in 2014. It will feature the same turbocharged four-cylinder engine and seven-speed transmission found in the CLA250, and all-wheel drive. The automaker plans to launch a front-wheel drive model the following year.

The CLA-Class and GLA-Class are aimed at younger buyers than Mercedes’ traditional audience.  To that end, the company is showcasing what the company refers to as its “light off-road” features and capabilities, including special driving modes that allow drivers to navigate on loose driving surfaces.

The GLA-Class’ interior borrows heavily from the CLA-Class and features an iPad-like, dash-mounted infotainment touchscreen.

The exterior also echoes the CLA-Class’ aerodynamic lines. This streamlined styling helps to reduce wind noise and resistance which improves fuel efficiency, as does the standard stop-start technology and turbocharged engine.  Fuel efficiency estimates for the GLA-Class have not yet been released.

Safety features will include Collision Prevention Assist, Attention Assist, and a “truncated self-steering” which will automatically compensate to help the driver maintain course when driving in strong crosswinds, or when hydroplaning or skidding.

The GLA250 will reportedly have a top speed of 145 mph, and will accelerate from 0 mph to 60 mph in just 6.4 seconds.

Although Mercedes has not yet announced pricing for the GLA-Class, it is expected to be somewhere between the CLA-Class’ starting price of $29,900 and the GLK-Class’ base price of $37,480.

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