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Mercedes-Benz to launch baby 4x4

Mercedes-Benz seems intent on covering just about every possible niche that doesn't involve cheap cars and the latest to get the green light is a compact crossover SUV based on the MFA architecture that underpins the new A-Class and B-Class.

The announcement was made at a recent press conference in which the company announced a big investment in a German assembly plant.

Its design is likely to take inspiration from the new A-Class, pictured here.

As for the vehicle itself, their lips remain tightly sealed but given that it's going to be built on the MFA platform, we can make more than a few solid assumptions.

Given that most A-Class models are front-wheel driven, but that all-wheel drive will be fitted to the AMG version, it's almost certain that the baby SUV will offer a choice between FWD and AWD models.

Nobody even knows for certain what the vehicle will be called, although names like GLA and BLK have been swung about on the online rumour mill.

Naturally the engine range would mirror that of the A- and B-Class, which means a range of high-tech petrol and diesel engines, with a 1.6-litre turbopetrol offering between 90kW and 115kW and a 1.8-litre diesel with output levels of 80kW and 100kW. More powerful versions of these engines may be in the pipeline too.

You can also expect some high-end features like Merc's collision warning system, drowsiness detection, Pre-Safe as well as blind spot and lane keeping assistants.

It on-sale date is not yet known, but rumour has it that the little crossover could reach the market by 2014.

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