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Mercedes teases a styling update for its GLA-Class crossover


Staff Member

Like the previous Los Angeles Auto Show, the 2017 Detroit Auto Show is shaping up to be an SUV-fest. Some of the reveals already confirmed include a new version of the Chevrolet Traverse, a seven-seat version of the Volkswagen Tiguan, and a luxury SUV concept from Infiniti. Now Mercedes-Benz is joining the party.

The German luxury automaker will unveil an updated version of its GLA-Class in Detroit next week. Like the refreshed version of the related CLA-Class that debuted at the 2016 New York Auto Show, the GLA likely won't be drastically different from the current model. Subtle styling changes are expected to be the main differentiator of the new version, which will likely go on sale in late 2017 as a 2018 model.

Mercedes' teaser image hints at a slightly more rugged appearance, possibly an attempt by designers to make the GLA look more like a traditional SUV. The GLA is really a Mercedes-Benz A-Class hatchback with a taller ride height, all-wheel drive, and some minor styling changes. The A-Class isn't sold in the U.S., but the GLA is essentially the same car, but with an image that's more palatable to American buyers than that of a hatchback.

No major mechanical changes are expected, meaning Mercedes will continue to offer a basic GLA250 model and a sporty AMG GLA45. Both models borrow powertrains from the CLA-Class, which shares a platform with both the GLA-Class and A-Class. The GLA250 is currently available with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive and a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The GLA45 is available with all-wheel drive only, and a more powerful 2.0-liter turbo four. Expect a bump from 355 horsepower to 375 hp, just like in the updated CLA45.

Mercedes' line of compact cars may soon expand. Alongside the A-Class, CLA-Class, and GLA-Class, the automaker may add a sedan model based on the same platform. This model would slot below the current C-Class, but it could also create confusion with the CLA-Class. Mercedes calls the CLA a ?coupe,? but it has four full-size doors and a trunk, just like a sedan.

The 2017 Detroit Auto Show kicks off next week. We'll have full details on the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class and everything else from the show, so stay tuned.