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2014 Mercedes-Benz Concept GLA, bringing drive-in movies back to the future

April 17, 2013
Mercedes-Benz GLA Concept
Mercedes-Benz GLA Concept

Being British, I've never had the pleasure of visiting the classic American drive-in movie theatre. In today's modern era, of course, one rarely has the chance. Apparently, Mercedes-Benz deems this a travesty, and plans to transform tradition with its Concept GLA.

Compact SUVs are all the rage right now, most of which look like the fat kid gone thin. The GLA holds a similar presence, but the underlying characteristics display slightly higher cheekbones, a more muscular physique, and, perhaps, a flair lacking with BMW's similarly postured machines.

Thieving the platform from the Mercedes A and B Class, the GLA boasts 208-hp from its 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. That lump meshes to Merc's 4MATIC all-wheel drive system and a 7-speed dual clutch transmission. The interior boasts futuristic leather appointments, not unusual from a machine that still remains a concept — but perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the pudgy CUV lies in its eyes.

Superheroes often use laser vision to disintegrate things into smoking rubble, or cause dastardly villains to quiver in their rocket-powered leather boots. The GLA sports laser vision too, only it uses it to replicate a 1958 Oklahoma drive-in movie theatre.

The headlamps come fitted with laser-beam projectors that illuminate the road as well as project movies, pictures, and any other visual media onto nearby walls. Since it routes through the in-dash info-disco system, the lights can also project navigation directions on the road itself, in a not-at-all creepy "Crazy Taxi" fashion. The concept also houses two HD cameras situated in the roof rail. These can be used for more than just documenting your exhilarating journey to Costco for bargain-sized toilet paper, and can be removed and placed on your mountain bike helmet, for example. If you don't own a mountain bike helmet, may I suggest brazenly strapping it to your forehead, instead.

Of course, these technological wonders likely won't make production when the non-concept GLA hits streets, but it does show a clear indication that Mercedes aims to expand into the drive-in movie business, a move I think we can all applaud.

Mercedes GLA concept
Mercedes GLA concept