by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

SPY: New 2014 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class (X 156) and GLA 45 AMG scooped during winter testing

The new GLA-Class will be Merc's fourth addition to the expanding portfolio of premium compact cars. The car is expected to make the official debut next year, around spring. The latest spy shots come from the Northern Scandinavia, where the German constructor deployed an entire fleet of compact crossover for the usual cold weather development programme.

Visually, the GLA-Class is nothing than an A-Class on steroids. Hardly resembling the G-Class (given the root of its name), the X 156 project is intended to be more of a lifestyle crossover than capable off-roader, even though most equipment variants feature 4x4 traction as standard. The bigger wheel arches, with pronounced edges, the higher ground clearance, the muscular shoulders and the more impressive front and rear fascias underline the car's natural dynamic character.

We expect the new GLA-Class to be quite as long as the new CLA, which got previewed last week at Detroit. The new crossover from Stuttgart should also be more spacious inside compared to the A-Class, given its exterior dimensions. Other than that, the GLA is technically identical to its brothers. The front-driven MFA platform will be standard on entry-level variants, while the newly developed, front-biased 4MATIC system will be available on high-end versions, such as the GLA 250 with 211 hp. Moreover, the entire package of technological solutions oriented to safety, telecommunications, comfort and ride dynamics will be borrowed from the A-Class and CLA-Class.

Given the success of the A-Class and the good reaction to the special AMG SPORT visual package, the new GLA-Class will also be available with the outstanding Diamond grille and the bespoke styling familiar from Affalterbach models until the new GLA 45 AMG arrives in late 2014. Like the soon-to-be-revealed A 45 AMG or the upcoming CLA 45 AMG, the high-performance version of the SUV will use the latest 2.0-litre gasoline engine with turbocharging rated at 354 hp, developing a massive torque of 450 Nm, and the PERFORMANCE 4MATIC all-wheel-drive sports traction specially engineered for remarkable dynamics.

Image Credits: Autoevolution / / Motor Authority

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