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First Look: Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake

Revisiting the wagon.

by on Nov.26, 2014

The new Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake may be what's needed to change the opinions of U.S. drivers about wagons.

Manufacturers have tried going the semantic root: dubbing them shooting brakes, estates, crossovers and cross country. But Americans have shown an uncanny ability to sniff out a station wagon and turn up their noses – which is all the more ironic considering wagons make up one of the hottest segments in Europe.

Could the new Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake bridge that gap? The more immediate question is whether the German maker will try. It isn’t yet saying whether it will import the “two-box” take on its popular new compact luxury model. But these initial images suggest it might be worth a try.

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“Like its big brother, the CLS Shooting Brake, the CLA Shooting Brake is targeted at active customers who are looking outside of the mainstream for a car that impresses with a high utility value,” says Ola Källenius, who oversees Mercedes marketing and sales operations. (more…)

Mercedes Launches GLA Production

Fourth of five new entry-lux models starts rolling down the line.

by on Dec.06, 2013

Production of the Mercedes GLA in Rastatt.

The first of the new Mercedes-Benz GLA crossovers started rolling down the maker’s assembly line in Rastatt, Germany this week, the fourth in a new array of entry-lux models that the maker hopes will give it a push past aggressive competitors like BMW and Audi.

When the GLA reaches showrooms next year, Mercedes officials hope it will follow the lead of the new CLA model that recently made its American debut. That coupe-like sedan has become the hottest offering in the maker’s U.S. portfolio, not only delivering a sizable size boost but drawing in a significant number of buyers new to the Mercedes brand.

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“The GLA is the next milestone in our Mercedes-Benz 2020 growth strategy,” said Dieter Zetsche, the Mercedes brand boss and head of the maker’s parent Daimler AG.

The crossover is designed to complement the more conventional CLA and give Mercedes traction in the rapidly growing compact luxury crossover niche, which is expected to become one of the world’s fastest-growing market segments through at least the rest of the decade.

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First Look: 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA

German maker enters the growing compact crossover segment.

by on Aug.14, 2013

The new GLA will be the fifth - and smallest - crossover/ute in the Mercedes family.

Mercedes-Benz is adding yet another option to its alphanumeric soup of product offerings – this time with a crossover complement to the new compact CLA model.

No surprise, then, that the new utility vehicle will be dubbed the Mercedes-Benz GLA, a name the maker has done little to conceal in recent weeks. It’s the latest in a growing list of spin-offs from the maker’s new compact vehicle architecture.

No surprise, the GLA shares many of the same styling details we’ve already seen on both the new CLA model coming to the U.S. later this year and the A-Class offered in much of the rest of the world, including the grille and headlamp layout, the crisp silhouette angles and the horizontal taillamp design.

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A concept version of the new soft-roader first appeared at the Shanghai Motor Show earlier this year. Set to make a formal appearance at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month, the production version of the Mercedes GLA will carry a 2015 designation and become the smallest of the German maker’s expanding line-up of crossover/utility vehicles notes Joachim Schmidt, Executive Vice President for Sales and Marketing of Mercedes-Benz Cars. (more…)

First Look: 2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class

There’s a Jeep under the hood.

by on Jun.08, 2011

Mercedes launches the third-generation ML for 2012.

Mercedes launches the third-generation ML for 2012.

The new 2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class rolling into showrooms later this year won’t look all that much different from the current version – at least not if these first images released by the German maker are any indication.  But there’ll be some big differences “under the hood” that could significantly improve the capabilities of the Teutonic crossover-ute.

The third-generation Mercedes ML will be the last major project to emerge from the star-crossed “merger-of-equals” between Daimler AG and America’s Chrysler Corp.  Though Mercedes will stress that it has since done plenty of engineering on its own, the fact is that the 2012 crossover shares its underpinnings with the popular new Jeep Grand Cherokee, a runner-up in the recent voting for North American Truck of the Year.

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The exterior of the new ML maintains essentially the same dimensions as the gen-2 model, and it will likely take most observers a moment to recognize this is a new offering.  A closer look reveals a bit more sculpting to the body, with the side panels flaring rearward from the front wheel well, and a more muscular bulge to the hood.

The interior is modestly upgraded; roomier than before, it features a fatter steering wheel and sporty rectangular air vents replacing the previous round ones.  Despite the extensive use of leather and chrome, some observers might even find some surprising similarities to the latest-generation Jeep.

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