Although it won’t land in U.S. dealerships until the fall of next year, the brand-new 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class should represent a strong entry in what’s shaping up to be a very competitive vehicle segment. Like the BMW X1 and Audi Q3—and perhaps the Buick Encore—the M-B GLA will be looking for customers in the compact premium crossover segment, and come to market with a length of 173.9 inches. To put that into context, it’s a noticeable 4.2 inches shorter in length than a Ford Escape; on the other hand, it fits right in between the other Teutonic twosome, as the X1 is a longer 176.5 inches and the Q3 measures 172.6 inches.
The 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class is then wrapped in a nicely handsome design that combines cues from both the sedan and SUV sides of the business, again sort of splitting the difference between the somewhat station-wagon-y BMW and the more upright Audi.
From a mechanical standpoint, and complementing M-B’s positioning of the vehicle as an “SUV,” the 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class will be the first vehicle from the automaker to boast the next-gen 4Matic permanent all-wheel-drive technology, backed by fully variable torque distribution. Driving all those wheels will be a 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder engine that’s been boosted to make 208 hp and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. Mercedes is claiming that will push the GLA250 4Matic from 0-60 in 6.4 seconds and enable a top speed of 145 mph. A front-wheel-drive version will follow, early in 2015, with both packing a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.