Should Mercedes-Benz Build the GLA Coupe?

Mercedes GLA Coupe 1 photo
Photo: Andrei Nedelea/Mercedes-Benz for autoevolution
The coupe SUV is a trend started by the BMW X6 back in 2007 and it’s been adopted by other manufacturers; some have copied, pasted and adapted the X6 formula to their own designs, while others have tweaked it more.
Yet there still aren’t that many small coupe-like SUVs on the market, and since it’s a body style that seems highly popular, maybe Mercedes-Benz could make such a model based on the freshly unveiled second-generation GLA crossover. The new GLA is definitely not a traditional two-box shape.

It honestly looks more like one of those stones that were tumbled until smooth - it’s not a bad look, but to my eyes it’s the least aesthetically pleasing high riding Mercedes in the current lineup. The thing that puts me off is its lack of identity - it’s neither a traditional crossover shape, nor an especially dramatic or rakish one.

BMW, for instance, clearly differentiated its X1 and X2 models. One is a more practical, more traditional looking model, while the other is a cool looking raised hatchback with very clever design touches. Mercedes appears to have tried to mix the two into a single vehicle and the end has questionable aesthetic merits in my book.

And there was definitely room for a more rakish looking GLA - Mercedes already has a more practical and traditional looking crossover in its range (one that can even carry seven people), in the form of the new GLB, which is why I think its designers should really have let their hair down more with the GLA.

That’s why I downloaded a high res press photo of the new GLA and without a second thought I loaded it up into PhotoShop to turn it into the vehicle it ought to have been from the start - a proper coupe-like SUV. And I really don’t especially like coupe-like SUVs, but for the GLA, I think it would have been the best way to go.

So I proceeded to make its roof taper down much more aggressively towards the rear. I also changed the shape of the side glass to better fit the new roof and I also replaced its rear lights with ones I borrowed from the sexy CLA coupe-like sedan.

The only other thing I did to it was to widen its rear flanks, since this design detail really struck me while recently testing the new GLC Coupe shortly after testing the regular GLC. The visual difference the wider flanks and staggered wheel setup make is undeniable and it certainly adds a bit of aggression to the design - it also makes the car look more planted and stable.

Now I do know that the new GLA is a front-wheel-drive vehicle with higher-spec versions getting all-wheel drive, so having wider rear tires would be kind of pointless, but this change made it look so good that I decided to stick with it for the final design.

These modifications that I made to the GLA don’t cure of its slight blandness, but I think they make it a more interesting and enticing vehicle. It’s a vehicle that would certainly turn more heads, which is what most of its buyers I’m sure want it to do - otherwise, they’d go for the much roomier GLB, if they wanted a small, practical front-wheel drive-biased Mercedes crossover.

My idea for this is not to propose it as yet another model to be called GLA Coupe, because having three small crossovers based on the same platform is a bit too much, even in the current automotive context where you have niches within niches; this is what I think Mercedes should have done to begin with in order to make the vehicle noticeable, because the model it is going to build is just so uninteresting to look at.
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