by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

SPY: The 2014 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class (X 156) gets scooped for the first time

While ones might see a taller A-Class, the majority of fans and talented automotive journalists would tell the others something is going at Mercedes-Benz. And, yes it is, because the development phase of the anticipated GLA-Class compact SUV got underway recently in Germany. These are the very first spy shots that depict the X 156 project (internal designation), which will eventually be released a series model in mid-2014.

It will take at least 5 to 6 months until we see the first real test prototypes, but that will only happen when the GLA will enter the so-called design-freeze stage. That is when the final exterior and interior styling is approved by the Mercedes-Benz chiefs. Till then, we will just have to make up with the scoops that emphasize a strange, slightly modified A-Class model (specifically used as an early test mule) which features hidden underpinnings and a bigger ride height.

The 4x4 platform of the GLA-Class was developed on the basis of the MFA chassis, meaning a lighter construction that enables many ingenious solutions to be applied. Of course, when we talk about AWD traction at Mercedes-Benz, we can only 4MATIC with 4ETS, the two technologies that harmoniously go hand in hand to ensure a clean, yet sophisticated ride both on-road and off-road. Even though the 2014 Mercedes-Benz GLA is intended to be an attractive city SUV with compact proportions and it will not get any of the state-of-the-art systems you can find on the ML or GL, it is expected to perform pretty well (in low difficulty conditions) when the streets run off and the muddy terrains commence.

Inside out, the X 156 will be a demonstration of Merc's latest design philosophy, which involves a progressive approach to art and functionality. Most certainly, chief designer Gorden Wagener is already working on a future concept showcar that will preview the new GLA. Like in the case of the A-Class or forthcoming CLA-Class, the near-production prototype will be unveiled some months prior the series car is premiered. Maybe we'll see something next year at the IAA Frankfurt.

The GLA-Class will share the engines and most of the hidden components and equipments with the A-/B-Class models. Renault will also supply the entry-level diesel units, so the range will comprise powerplant choices starting from 90 hp and going up to 211 hp, for the range-topping GLA 250. An AMG sports version for the X 156 with near 350 hp is also possible after 2015.

More articles about the future GLA:

- REPORT: Mercedes-Benz supposedly readying two very different compact SUVs - the GLA and the GLG

- Illustration: The 2014 Mercedes-Benz GLA gets digitally rendered

- REPORT: Future compact crossover from Mercedes-Benz to be called GLA

Image Credits: Autoevolution

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