Mercedes-Benz will continue expanding its range of compact models when it introduces the second-generation GLA on December 11. Instead of unveiling the car at an auto show, the German firm will present it exclusively online on its Mercedes Me media platform it launched in 2017.
The unveiling will mark the first time Mercedes introduces a car exclusively online. To whet our appetite, the Stuttgart-based firm published a handful of teaser images that show engineers putting camouflaged prototypes through their paces. One is seemingly going through a sewer, "Italian Job"-style. The photos hide the GLA's overall design, but they confirm the conclusions we've come to after seeing spy shots of test mules racking up the miles around the world. Stylists took the crossover in a sharper, more mature direction that conforms to the current Mercedes design language.
The sheetmetal covers the new, front-wheel drive architecture found under other recent additions to the firm's small-car range, like the second-generation CLA. While technical specifications remain under wraps, we expect the GLA will go on sale with a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine under the hood. The AMG-tuned variants will return a little bit later in the production run with the familiar Panamericana grille and up to 416 horsepower, and a plug-in hybrid might join the range.
Mercedes also released the first official details about the next-generation GLA. It's about four inches taller than the outgoing model, so it looks more SUV-like than before, and the front and rear passengers should enjoy more headroom. It's also about half an inch shorter than its predecessor, which is unusual considering making cars progressively bigger is a trend in the automotive industry. The next GLA will be offered with a full suite of electronic driving aids.
Likely arriving during the 2021 model year, the second-generation Mercedes-Benz GLA will make its debut on December 11 at 2 pm CET, which is 8 a.m. on the East Coast and -- sorry, Californians -- 5 a.m. out west. When it lands, it will join the second-generation CLA, the A-Class, and the seven-seater GLB as the fourth member of Mercedes' compact model range.