Mercedes-Benz GLA
Mercedes-Benz GLA

Mercedes-Benz is gearing up to release the next member of its compact car line-up, with the second-generation GLA set to be unveiled on December 11. The smallest offering in the German carmaker’s SUV and crossover range, which also includes the GLB, GLC, GLE and GLS, the GLA competes against the BMW X1 and Audi Q3.

With the launch date coming up soon, the company has released preliminary details about the compact crossover, and there are some significant changes. First up, the height of the new GLA exceeds that of its predecessor by more than 100 mm, which is meant to provide a higher seating position that is typical of SUVs, as well as additional headroom in the first row.

The overall length also sees 15 mm being trimmed off thanks to shorter overhangs front and rear, but Mercedes-Benz claims that legroom will see an improvement from before. This is likely due to the adoption of the MFA2 platform used for its latest compact models like the A-Class, B-Class, CLA, CLA Shooting Brake and GLB.

The shorter overhangs, along with a more upright front section and protective cladding, are part of the GLA’s off-road design features. Based on the teaser photos, it appears the crossover will be a lot more capable when travelling off the beaten path.

Referring to the numerous spyshots provided to us, the crossover will continue to feature prominent rear haunches and a familiar profile as its predecessor, but with a revised side window shape and a flatter bonnet. The GLA also gets smaller and more angular headlamps and taillights, as well as a more steeply raked rear window. There are no shots of interior just yet, but expect it to feature the MBUX system as seen in other compact models before it.

Mercedes-Benz also pointed out a few driving assistance systems that will be available for the GLA, including Active Brake Assist, cornering, emergency lane and exit warning functions, plus a system that detects pedestrians near zebra crossings, all of which are part of the Driving Assistance package.

As for engines, expect the usual mix of petrol and diesel offerings, with the former also including high-performance options. We’ve seen what appears to be AMG development mules in previous spyshots, so the idea of a GLA 35 and/or GLA 45 models are highly likely. The A-Class’ plug-in hybrid powertrain could also be adapted for use in the crossover, although there’s no word on this just yet.

GALLERY: Next-gen Mercedes-Benz GLA spyshots

GALLERY: Next-gen Mercedes-AMG GLA spyshots