Though Mercedes-Benz generally is associated with technology-laden luxury sedans, coupes, and convertibles, their new range of rugged SUVs seem to be equally appealing to technology and auto enthusiasts alike. They had earlier launched the G63 AMG 6x6 SUV, known to be the largest and most rugged option of it's kind to be road legal. Last year, they also put on display the Ener-G-Force concept SUV, which was another sample of their forte on the technological and designing front for automobiles. Being the perfectionists of car making, the new Mercedes-Benz GLA Concept SUV will be showcased at the upcoming Shanghai Auto Show, from April 21 to 29 this year. The reason why this new model is getting to be the 'tech-freaks' apple of the eye, are the special laser light headlamps which will also double up as projector beams much like the Daimler's Smart electric car introduced last year, which too comes with it’s own drive-in theater. Apart from the the muscle power that the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder will dish out on road, the additional hi-tech feature will be able to project media content on to a screen through the COMAND system, which is another of the Mercedes-Benz innovations for the GLA Concept SUV.
Mercedes is pitching the GLA Concept SUV has being an evolution of the brand in the SUV segment, on the roads to being 'coupe' like in it's form factor. Hence, the GLA Concept has been created as a compact SUV, which would urge it's drivers to forget the 'veryday' while driving this new vehicle. Like always, though the car has taken a step forward in technology add-ons, the main primary strength of the engine has not been compromised upon. Owners can glide via the 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine, which churns out 208 HP of power. The transmission of this energy comes via the 7-speed dual clutch automatic transmission, which has been clubbed with the 4Matic all-wheel drive train.
The exterior shell of the Mercedes has never really failed to get attention, and the GLA Concept isn't any exceptional case. From the Alubeam paint finish, to the soft curvature of the 'dropping line' from the laser projector headlamps to the rear wheel arch, all add up to a flavor of sophistication which is unique to Mercedes-Benz, as they add an aerodynamic touch to the form factor. Other eye-catching clues would include the newly designed 'soft-touched' radiator grille which has 2 central bars with the steel 3-pointed star of Mercedes-Benz at the centre. At the rear end too, one would notice the distinct soft curves tail lamps and the tailgate, which comes with special warning lights during it's opening. The 2 exhaust pipes at the 2 corner of the rear bumper, add an aesthetic aggressive finesse to the design.
The biggest highlight so far, which is the laser projector headlamp set on the GLA Concept SUV, is controlled from the COMAND infotainment system, lodged on the central control panel of the luxury SUV. Apart from shedding light more efficiently, these lights would help convert an ordinary wall or opaque surface into a personal drive-in movie screen, when any media content is projected, from a hard drive, smartphone, tablet PC, or perhaps any external storage device which will work with the Plexi-Glass covered COMAND system on central console panel. What this also opens up for the driver, is the safety and utility feature of projecting the map directions on the road in front, instead of the driver having to look at his device and take eyes off the road. This takes care to ensure lesser road accidents, and uninterrupted traveling over longer distances.
Since the luxury factor can be never be forgone, the the GLA Concept also brings forth plenty of high end fabrication, seen in form of galvanized aluminum, and the rich brown leather upholstery which is seen the most prominently in the cabin space. With 65 m of leather stitching done for each cabinet space, one can well imagine the work that has gone into creating the cabin of this quality and aesthetics.
In order to be more intuitive, each area of the passenger space, including where one store away some luggage, has been given distinct ambient lighting. The air condition vents have been fitted with lighting which change color, as the temperature is set by the passenger. The other designing features such as the central console panel with the plexi-glass structure for the COMAND system, is another story which we feel is best seen in the gallery below, but none the less is equally praiseworthy of the intelligent play of galvanized aluminum, brown stitched leather, and gray leather paneling on different surfaces.