STUTTGART, Germany - Mercedes-Benz has just unveiled its SA-bound GLA and this compact SUV looks like being a hottie!Mercedes SA says the car is due for release here mid-2014 but before then will be shown at the Johannesburg International Motor Show in October 2013.Image galleryIt will have its world debut at the 2013 Frankfurt auto show during September 12-22 with orders ready to be taken from the end of November in some countries.The automaker says the GLA aims to set benchmarks in fuel efficiency as it mixes practicality with surefooted 4Matic capability.COMPACT OFF-ROADERIt's compact – 4.41m long x 1.80m wide x 1.49m high – should make it easy to get around town, lively enough for the unbeaten track and efficient on the highway. It’s also the first Mercedes-Benz SUV to be optionally available with the new-generation permanent all-wheel drive system 4Matic, with fully variable torque distribution.The GLA-Class is the fourth of five new compact models from Mercedes so naturally the inside is flexible too. The rear-seat backrests are adjustable and can be folded flat. Boot space is 421 litres with the seats up and grows to 836 litres when down. It has a low sill and the wide tail access can be opened automatically as an option.The two petrol engines 1.6 and two-litre, will have power ranging from 116kW in the GLA 200 to 157kW in the GLA 250.The GLA 250 4Matic goes from 0-100km/h in 6.5sec and has a top speed of 230km/h with a ombined fuel consumption claimed as 7.1 litres/100km and 151g CO2/km although Mercedes says these are only provisional for German-spec cars.There are two diesel derivatives although they use the same engine, its tuned differently. The 2.2-litre 200 CDI makes 101kW/300Nm and claims 4.3 litres/100km on the combined cycle, which equates to 114g CO2/km. The 2.2-litre makes 127kW/350Nm.All the engines have the Eco stop/start function and drive througha six-speed manual transmission or a 7G-DCT dual-clutch auto. GOODBYE BOX-SHAPE Thanks to the car’s aerodynamic efficiency and Cd figure of 0.29, Mercedes says the good air-flow characteristics include a low A-pillar step and aerodynamically optimised exterior mirrors. The rear is also streamlined. There’s a roof spoiler and redesigned tail lights. Rear spoilers at the sides ensure airflow breaks off for optimal aerodynamic efficiency. The chassis rides on Macpherson struts up front and an independent multilink set-up at the rear. Optional driver systems include a lane-tracking package with blind-spot and lane-keeping monitors or adaptive high beam and parking assistanceThe latest multimedia generation has been fitted to the GLA with its new functions, additional apps and a modified graphic colour scheme. Highlights for the app concept allow seamless integration of an iPhone into the vehicle, including Siri voice control and Glympse real-time location sharing.The latter lets the user share its location, Facebook, Twitter, internet radio and a Garmin satnav with internet-based current traffic information and an online points-of-interest search function that includes Google Street View.The Comand Online multimedia system has also been extended. The latest generation offers an improved and photo-realistic map display and an additional Bluetooth profile that also enables rlive traffic data.