Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Delivers Compelling Rival to BMW X1

George Kennedy
15 August 2013

The German luxury brands have been looking to fill every gap in vehicle categories in the last decade or so. What started as offering SUVs and compact SUVs, has turned into making up entire vehicle segments. Just look at the four-door fastback Audi A7, or whatever you would call the BMW 5 Series GT. The latest foray into new ground is the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class, a compact crossover/wagon that pits itself against the likes of the BMW X1.

00-Mercedes-Benz GLA
00-Mercedes-Benz GLA

The GLA embraces the latest Mercedes-Benz design trends, including the headlight and grille appearance from the CLA compact sedan, but on a high-riding wagon platform. The fenders and aggressive lower front air ducts make for an aggressive appearance, and one that it backed up with capable internals.

PHOTOS: See more of the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class

The GLA-Class will come with either 1.6-liter inline-4, making 156 horsepower, or a 211-horsepower, 2-liter four-cylinder engine. Power is sent through either a 6-speed manual or 7-speed dual clutch transmission. The GLA-Class comes standard as front wheel drive, but is available with Mercedes-Benz’s 4MATIC all-wheel drive. Engines come equipped with stop/start function to save fuel when stopped.

01-Mercedes-Benz GLA
01-Mercedes-Benz GLA

The truly fetching element of the GLA is its interior. The cabin refinement crown may have at one time gone to BMW, and more recently Audi, but the driver’s seat of a Mercedes-Benz is now an ideal place to be. The woodgrain trim is met with leather seating, capped off by the GLA’s tech features, which includes Facebook and Twitter, integration, as well as Garmin navigation and Internet radio.

No pricing has been announced for the GLA-Class, but it will debut to the world at the Frankfurt Motor Show this September.

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