Beam Me Up: Mercedes GLA is Your Own Makeshift Cinema
First footage of the Mercedes GLA Concept: it’s compact, it’s sporty and it’s one tough cookie. It’s also your very own cinema-on-the-loose.
The new Concept GLA is gearing up to strut its stuff at the Shanghai Motorshow this weekend. Built from the same architecture as the spangly new A-Class (as do Benz’ B and CLA classes), it’s a ballsy mix of coupé and SUV. They’ve used some cutting-edge pizazz: shimmering blue headlamps, galvanised aluminium trims along with so much fibre optic lighting you feel like you should take a bow (more on that later).
It might be pint-sized for an SUV but it’s got brawn – SUV touches include the sporty radiator grille, the twin-pipe exhaust, the 20-inch five-spoke turbine wheels and the distinctive door mirrors with their supporting struts.
But here’s the surprise. No ordinary headlamps – these are laser-beams; they double up as projectors. Theoretically, the system could project information onto the road in the form of turn-here arrows, jazzing up the sat nav as a safety function. Connect your smartphone or hard drive to your vehicle, and all of a sudden any nearby wall becomes your own makeshift cinema screen – lights, camera and action.
But then, why just watch the movie, when you can become Director, Producer and Star of your own box office smash. There are two HD cameras perched in the front roof rail. Both cameras can be removed and fitted to say, a crash helmet, so you don’t miss a second of your turbocharged, cliff-hanging epic-ness.
The gutsy concept car you see here is powered by a 208 bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, going through a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox and a four-wheel-drive transmission. Inside, there’s an outbreak of bespoke flourishes – natural leather with hand-stitched seams, fibre-optic ambient lighting and plexiglas control buttons. And even more lights as the air vents glow blue when blowing cold air, emit white light at a balmy 22°C, and turn red when you turn up the heat.