by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

SPY: FEP shots of the 2014 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class (X 156)

Merc's first compact crossover, the GLA-Class, will celebrate world premiere this September at the Frankfurt motor show. The model has recently entered the final experimental phase (FEP), so now the initial heavy cladding is gone thus revealing more of the exterior design of the X 156. Market launch is programmed for autumn 2013 in Europe, whereas the United States have to wait until early 2014 for the new GLA.

The GLA will play on the winning card of the A-Class: a bold hatchback body with now increased space for passengers and luggage, an attractive safety and telematics equipment and a range of frugal engines. The ground clearance has risen by a few centimeters compared to the standard models of the new compact car lineup of Mercedes-Benz.

Moreso, the styling details of the body are evolved from the A-Class and CLA-Class into a more dynamic and muscular manner that suggests the link this car has with G-Class. The roughly cut headlights, the higher shoulders and the pronounced wheel arches certainly deliver a spectacular image when the GLA is seen on roads.

Inside, there is nothing to worry about: the same dashboard from the W 176 and C 117 with only slight differences and the expected premium quality and functionality. Certainly, Mercedes-Benz has prepared new tones and colours for the upholstery, whether it is cloth or leather, just like in the case of the A-Class and CLA-Class.

The sporty look of the GLA will be further enhanced thanks to the new, high-end wheel designs which you can also see in these latest photos. On the entry-level models, the front traction will be standard, whereas the range-topping versions (GLA 250, GLA 220 CDI) will boast the specially engineered 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system with a front-biased torque ratio of 67:33. The GLA 45 AMG performance crossover cranking out 360 hp will further complete lineup beginning with the summer of 2014.

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