Yesterday we brought you a preview video for the new Mercedes-Benz GLA, but we didn’t have to wait long for the full reveal. This is it folks, the urban crossover version of the popular A-Class.

It’s Mercedes’ first offering in the fast-growing compact SUV segment, shouldering up to BMW’s X1, Audi’s Q3 and the Range Rover Evoque and just like Solihull’s finest Mercedes claim the GLA has impressive off-road capability when fitted with the new-generation 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive system.

The GLA can shuffle its torque between all four wheels, boosting agility and traction on a variety of surfaces, but unlike the Evoque, the GLA is better suited to light terrain, negotiating ‘modest’ gradients when aided by its Downhill Speed Regulation (DSR) system. Just like the more common Hill-Descent control, DSR is activated by a control button in the centre console, and assists the driver on demanding downhill stretches by maintaining a slow, manually selected vehicle speed within the physical limits of the descent.

When the off-road mode is selected using the transmission mode switch, the gearshift points and accelerator characteristics are modified to suit the requirements of driving on ‘light’ off-road terrain and loose surfaces.

So, it’s a soft-roader, but is there anything wrong with that?

Mercedes are treading the middle-ground with a model which is both efficient on the motorway (Cd figure 0.29) and agile and fun on country roads. Top of the range (performance wise) is the GLA 250 4MATIC powered by a 208bhp 2-litre petrol engine with a healthy 258 lb-ft (350Nm) of torque. It accelerates from zero to 62 mph in 6.5 seconds, offers a top speed of 145 mph and returns 39.7 mpg with emissions of 151 g/km of CO2.

There’s also the 168bhp GLA 220 CDI available in front-wheel drive and 4MATIC, while further front-wheel-drive models include the 154bhp 1.6-litre petrol GLA200 and 134bhp 1.8-litre turbodiesel GLA200 CDI. Mercedes claim the range’s lowest CO2 figure of 114 g/km for the 2.2-litre GLA 200 CDI which is also capable of 65mpg on the combined cycle.

Size is slightly longer, narrower and lower than the Concept GLA – at 4,417 x 1,804 x 1,494 millimetres – while luggage space is a generous 421 litres or 836 litres with the rear seats folded down.

The GLA’s chassis is a combination of MacPherson struts at the front with an independent multilink suspension at the rear. Three control arms and one trailing arm per wheel manage the incoming forces, which keep the longitudinal and lateral movements independent of each other. The wheel carriers and spring control arms are made from aluminium to reduce the unsprung masses.


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Mercedes claim an advantage over the steering systems of its competitors – the GLA’s electromechanical power steering is only servo-assisted when the vehicle is steered, resulting in better feedback and increased efficiency.

The GLA makes its debut at the Frankfurt motor show before going on sale in November 2013. First deliveries are expected early in 2014.