Mercedes-Benz Concept GLA live photos: 2013 Shanghai Auto Show

The Bavarian automaker is debuting a crossover concept that should slot between the GL and the GLK in their crossover/SUV lineup, with more muscular styling and exclusive technology.

As far as the styling goes, it is a radical departure from their current utility design theme, but it ties in to recent launches, such as the CLA. The iconic three-pointed star dominates the front fascia, rounded out by vents, dual grilles, and the world-first headlamps with laser technology that doubles as projectors. The sides and rear invoke a more “coupe-like” profile, which is influencing other vehicles throughout the industry, as well as other vehicles in their own lineup.

All of this is being propelled by a turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine pumping out 208 horsepower, mated to an 7G-DCT dual clutch automatic transmission with Mercedes’ 4MATIC all-wheel drive. All of this power is transmitted to the road with 20-inch wheels, shod with 255/45 R 20 tyres that feature exclusively designed tread pattern that makes the spokes on the wheels appear longer.

The inside is highlighted by over 65 feet of hand-stitched leather. The overall design shows a clear influence from other interiors in current compact Mercedes models. In addition to the swath of leather, it also features dark galavanised aluminum, high-quality canvas in the seat inserts, and an illuminated insert in the headrests of the four individualised  sports seats. The seats themselves featured an embossed pattern that accentuates the overall “saddle” theme.

Lighting plays another focal point in the interior, from the multi-layered instrument panel made to look like the gauges are floating, the COMAND controls buttons that are etched out from the back with pictograms, to the air vents that change colour, in accordance to the selected temperature. Fibre-optic ambient lighting ties together, and rounds out the lighting features.

But the main highlight of the vehicle is by far the laser-beam projector headlights…not only do they illuminate the road, but they also can project pictures or films that are uploaded from one’s smartphone, the internet, or from the hard drive onto a screen or any flat surface. In addition, one can also film the vehicle at speed with removable HD cameras that are fitted into the front roof rail with lamp units. Alternatively, the films can be viewed inside on the COMAND screen. While the technology could be used for recreational use, Mercedes has safety on its mind…future applications could be used for navigational purposes, utilising the heads-up display method to display arrows directing the driver safely to their intended destination.

No word yet of the Concept GLA will make it to production, but judging by the number of production-ready features and specifications, it is all but a certainty.

Photo Credit: Newspress

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