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Benz Developing New GLA Compact Crossover

Mercedes is preparing a new crossover to take on the likes of the BMW X1. Here's our first look at the prototype.

1.2 billion Euros was recently invested in Mercedes' Ratstatt plant for the sole purpose of pumping out new compact models, and these are some of the first shots of the German automaker's new baby SUV. Following the B-Class and the new A-Class, the model tentatively dubbed the GLA is expected to be the third of five new compact models coming from Mercedes. Based on the A-Class, the compact is aimed at the BMW X1.

From these initial images, the GLA appears to more closely follow the form of the A-Class than the GL and GLK, with a sportier, more muscular and more rounded shape. There are larger rear doors than the A-Class and a panoramic sunroof that stretches back to the C-pillar. The GLA is anticpated to be available both in front- and four-wheel-drive and share its four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines with the A-Class. Expect the small crossover to hit European showrooms in 2014, followed by a CLA four-door coupe and an SLA roadster. Which of these models will make it Stateside, however, remains to be seen.

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