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BBC Autos

The Roundabout Blog

How close is the Mercedes-Benz GLA to the Concept GLA?

About the author

Deputy editor of BBC Autos, Jonathan was formerly the editor of The New York Times' Wheels blog. His automotive writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, Details, Surface, Intersection and Design Observer. He has an affinity for the Citroën DS and Toyota pickup trucks of the early 1990s.

  • Crossed-over
    At left, the Mercedes-Benz Concept GLA; at right, the 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class crossover. (Mercedes-Benz USA)
  • Mercedes-Benz Concept GLA
    (Mercedes-Benz USA)
  • 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class
    (Mercedes-Benz USA)
  • Mercedes-Benz Concept GLA
    (Mercedes-Benz USA)
  • 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class
    (Mercedes-Benz USA)
  • Mercedes-Benz Concept GLA
    (Mercedes-Benz USA)
  • 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class
    (Mercedes-Benz USA)
  • Mercedes-Benz Concept GLA
    (Mercedes-Benz USA)
  • 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class
    (Mercedes-Benz USA)
  • Mercedes-Benz Concept GLA
    (Mercedes-Benz USA)
  • 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class
    (Mercedes-Benz USA)
  • Mercedes-Benz Concept GLA
    (Mercedes-Benz USA)
  • 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class
    (Mercedes-Benz USA)
  • Mercedes-Benz Concept GLA
    (Mercedes-Benz USA)
  • 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class
    (Mercedes-Benz USA)
  • Mercedes-Benz Concept GLA
    (Mercedes-Benz USA)
  • 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class
    (Mercedes-Benz USA)

HIDE CAPTION

A standout of the 2013 Shanghai motor show has been distilled for sale.

The production version of the Mercedes-Benz Concept GLA crossover broke cover on 14 August, four weeks ahead of its formal unveiling at the 2013 Frankfurt motor show.

Targeted toward the entry-level luxury motorist who might find the marque’s compact cars a touch too tiny, the 2015 GLA-Class (which shares its platform with the A-, B- and CLA-Class) also serves to put young buyers on the utility-oriented G-Class path – a massive profit centre for Mercedes – early.

It will take a discerning eye to gauge what was lost or gained in translation from concept to production, but generally, the Concept CLA has surrendered some of its rough ‘n’ rugged mien. Whereas in Shanghai it bore chrome skid plates, for production the plates have been abbreviated and rendered in matte-black plastic, with the rear bumper receiving non-functional vents. Wheels have also shrunk – as concept-car wheels are wont to do – while fog lamps have been removed entirely from the front fascia. For all that, however, Mercedes has stayed uncommonly faithful to its Shanghai car.

The production vehicles are scheduled to reach global showrooms in fall 2014.

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