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This is the new GLA concept. It previews
Merc’s upcoming mini-SUV and is based on the spangly new A-Class platform, the
same platform that underpins the CLA mini-saloon.

So far, so straightforward. But here’s the
weird bit: the GLA wants to recreate the mom-n-apple-pie nostalgia of 1950’s
 Americana.

How so? Because fitted into its bulbous
headlights are two laser-beam projectors, capable not only of projecting light
to see some road/nearby trees/terrified pedestrians, but – should the mood
arise – pictures or films onto a screen, which you can upload yourself or
download from the Internet. Probably a good time to erase your browsing
 history…

See all the pictures of the new Mercedes GLA concept 

Aside from the ability to run your own
portable cinema, Mercedes is keen to emphasise the more sporting nature of this
baby SUV; the power domed bonnet, the ‘dropping’ roofline, that muscular rear
and of course, 20in wheels. Looks pretty dandy, you’ll agree.

Size-wise, it’s of similar dimensions to an
Audi Q3, although the Merc is a tad wider and lower (as you’d expect from a
concept car). Underneath lurks the same 2.0-litre
turbocharged petrol engine you’ll find in an A250. Mercedes hasn’t provided any
performance details for you to argue over, but in the A-Class, that engine –
with 258lb ft of torque – is good for a 0-62mph time of 6.6 seconds and a top
speed of 149mph.

There’s also a seven-speed dual clutch
automatic gearbox on board, together with Mercedes’ ‘4MATIC’ all-wheel-drive
system – like in the lovely new 4WD E63 AMG that we won’t get in the UK (sad
 face).

Inside, you’ve got the typical concept car
flourishes, loaded to the brim with galvanized aluminium, quite a lot of
leather, hand-stitched seams, four individual sports seats, fibre optic
lighting and Plexiglas buttons for the COMAND system. Oh, and remember we
mentioned those projectors in the headlights? They’re not only a neat little
concept embellishment, but could be used – says Mercedes – to project the
direction instructions from the sat nav onto the road in the form of arrows,
visible to other road users too, letting them know which way you’re turning.
Indicators? Where we’re going, we don’t need indicators!

See all the pictures of the new Mercedes GLA concept 

There are also HD cameras slotted into the
roof rail – like the ones on mountain bike helmets – allowing you the
opportunity to film your exploits, or indeed as evidence to send for help
should you get stuck off the beaten track surrounded by lots of mud.

Let us know below what you make of Merc’s
new GLA Concept – is it tastier than an Audi Q3 and BMW X3? Remember, as we
mentioned many moons ago on TopGear.com, these mini SUVs will soon take over
the planet…

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