It’s the Shanghai Motor Show this week, and as the world’s most new-car-hungry market, the major manufacturers are keen to show the Chinese punters some slick new concepts to tickle their fancies. It’s sure to be a big, new-model-packed event. In that neck of the woods it’s a case of the bigger the car the better – it’s a big-time status symbol, you see – and the more luxury the merrier. And so, here we have this new luxury compact SUV concept from Mercedes-Benz; the Concept GLA, going on show to the public for the first time in Shanghai, complete with laser headlights.
I guess we better address this intriguing claim from Merc that their new small-yet-premium SUV uses lasers up front, because, if you’re like me, all we can picture are red beams shooting out of the Merc’s front end and frying our enemies! Lasers yes, but not killer lasers it seems…
The laser technology inside the headlights beams more light onto the dark road ahead than conventional lightbulbs or LEDs, and because of the beam structure of laser light they can project that light further ahead. It’s a case of more light projected further up the road. No conformation yet as to whether or not they make a ‘zap, zap’ noise!
However, on a more serious laser note still, the laser-beam projectors could also help to improve general road safety, as well as light the way ahead of the new GLA. Satellite navigation direction instructions could be projected onto the road ahead in the form of large arrows, so that other drivers around could see where the GLA is headed. And, wait for it, these uber-headlights can also project pictures or movies onto a screen or wall via the onboard infotainment system, called COMAND Online. Pictures from your smartphone or the internet, perhaps? But not from those naughty websites!
More conventional driving tech for this chunky ‘n’ curvy new Merc SUV – which measures L: 4383mm, W: 1978mm, H: 1579mm; A and B car-segment-size, basically – includes a 2-litre, turbocharged petrol engine with 210bhp under that powerdomed bonnet, a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, and four-wheel drive. All the latest kit that you’ll find in current Mercedes models, which along with the not-too-radical-to-actually-build-it-bodywork, over 21-inch turbine-style wheels, kinda adds up to a feeling that if the Chinese punters like it, Merc might actually build this GLA. And, wow, what an interior – brown never looked so beautiful.
And if they do build this curvy-coupe-SUV, let’s hope they keep the laser headlights. James Bond drives a Mercedes-Benz…
By Dan Anslow