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

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.