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Auto blogSun, 17 Mar 2013 09:00:00 EST
Somewhere in between the Smart brand and the all-new A-Class (pictured above), Daimler is said to be readying a smaller entry-level product for the Mercedes-Benz brand to compete with models like the Audi A1. According to AutoBild, Mercedes-Benz will get a new hatchback based on a platform from its recent partnership with Renault-Nissan, and it could be called the X-Class.
Expected to debut by 2018, the Mercedes-Benz X-Class could be offered in sedan, hatchback and crossover variants, and it would likely have a starting price below the $20,000-euro mark. Power would come from either a 1.0-liter inline three-cylinder engine or a 1.5-liter inline-four, and the car would likely be built in a low-cost nation in order to make the financials work. Wearing the Mercedes-Benz name, the X-Class would have to exhibit more distinguishable luxury and styling to set itself apart from the models that helped provide its underpinnings.
Mercedes-Benz has something special planned for the Shanghai Motor Show - a new CUV concept that we first saw when it leaked on the internet yesterday. The GLA Concept compact crossover will hit the show stand with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine producing 208 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque mated to a seven-speed dual clutch transmission and 4Matic all-wheel drive, and likely previews a new production model that we've already spotted testing.
That's not news, but the laser-based headlamps with video-projecting capability certainly are. Mercedes-Benz says the array can project any image or video onto a screen, which is handy since there are a pair of HD cameras mounted to the roof rack. The cameras can be removed and taken with you on all sorts of adventures. The lamps also feature a visible cooling system comprised of a series of fans, and the system helps give the headlights their "sparkle" effect.
Step indoors and the GLA offers up the interior of a high-quality crossover, complete with contrasting leather and plenty of aluminum. The automaker says the cabin was inspired by saddle craftsmanship with "more than 65 feet of hand-stitched seams to hold the raw edges of the leather together."
Popular Science has named the winners in its Best of What's New awards, the victors coming in the categories of aerospace, automotive, engineering, entertainment, gadgets, green, hardware, health, home, recreation, security and software. The automotive category did not go wanting for lauded advancements:
Tesla Model S: the Grand Award winner for being "the standard by which all future electric vehicles will be measured."
BMW 328i: it's 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gets called out for being more powerful and frugal than the six-cylinder it replaces.