Mercedes-Benz has unveiled its new Concept GLA SUV ahead of this year's Shanghai Auto Show. The 2014 concept, intended as a newly styled compact SUV from Mercedes Benz, is designed for urban use, and packs in high-tech innovations beside old school bespoke finishing techniques.

Sporting a turbocharged 4-cylinder, the GLA is rated at 211 hp via a 1.9 liter engine. Hardly Lamborghini territory here but Mercedes is clearly trying to position the GLA as an eco-conscious luxury alternative. Power is put to the road via a 7G-DCT dual clutch auto-box that delivers powers to all the wheels thanks to Mercedes 4MATIC all-wheel drive system.

Working off the same platform as Benz’ A, B and CLA classes, the new GLA is similar in dimension but more stylistically evolved. GLA’s dimensions measure 4.38 meters long by 1.98 meters wide (14.4 ft by 6.5 ft) and 1.57 meters (5.2 ft) tall. Proportions and stylistic overtones are akin to the VW Toureg, but the fluidity of the overall design is refreshing from the house of Benz.

Twenty-inch alloy wheels sport 225/45 rubbers. The wheel arch to wheel proportions and rising lines are similar to Infiniti’s FX50, which is a good thing.

The GLA concept’s interior deserves kudos for its bespoke finish and contemporary styling. Seats and door center panels are upholstered in natural leathers, and Mercedes claims the Concept GLA uses more than 20 meters of hand-stitched seams to hold the raw edges of the leather together.

The instrument panel, constructed in layers, is comprised of a leather-upholstered surface that rests upon a framework of matte and polished aluminum. Control buttons for Mercedes’ COMAND Online system have been crafted using Plexiglas. Pictograms are etched into the black from the back before being filled in.

Another innovative touch can be seen in the air vents. Illuminated from behind, the vents change color according to the set interior temperature, so at 22º C (72º F) they light up in white, but any cooler and they turn blue, and warmer red. Luggage is secured using a four-point helicopter-styled harness system.

The boldest addition has to be the GLA’s laser-shooting headlamps. Believe it or not, the headlamps are fitted with laser-beam projectors. Not only do they provide light for night-time driving, but are also capable of projecting pictures or films onto a screen or other surface. One imagines fitting in a spot of Powerpoint, projected onto the back of a tractor trailer while waiting at a busy crossing.

Mercedes is careful to point out that the projector system, aside from providing innumerable entertainment opportunities, actually has a more serious use. To reduce time drivers require to interpret navigational issues, the projector system could theoretically project the information on the road in the form of turn-here arrows.

The Concept GLA comes equipped with two cameras, housed in the front roof rail. According to Mercedes the cameras can be used GoPro style for recording on the go, or they can be removed and fitted to a mountain bike helmet (or another Mercedes ... or your dog).

Mercedes-Benz will show the 2014 Concept GLA at the Shanghai Auto Show between April 21 and 29.

Source: Mercedes Benz