Auto Express - - Winter Driving Special -

WHILE ri­vals like the BMW X1 and Audi Q2 fol­low the crossover crowd, the Gla-class re­sem­bles a high-rid­ing hatch­back.

It’s based on the same plat­form as the A-class, so it’s no sur­prise that the en­gine range is shared with that car. This means a rapid Amg-tuned GLA 45 ver­sion at the top of the range, but we’d rec­om­mend a diesel for greater ef­fi­ciency and lower run­ning costs. The 2.1-litre diesel is pretty noisy, but prom­ises 50mpg-plus even in 4MATIC four-wheel-drive guise.

An up­date early in 2017 brought largely cos­metic tweaks for the GLA, such as new head­lamps and ex­te­rior colour op­tions.

ALPINA will be hard at work de­vel­op­ing its per­for­mance ver­sion of the new BMW X3, but un­til it ar­rives, the cur­rent XD3 is still around briefly. De­spite be­ing an SUV, its focus is very much on the road rather than off it.

The only model avail­able is fit­ted with a 345bhp 3.0-litre twin-turbo six-cylin­der en­gine, which sends power to all four wheels. A Porsche Ma­can is its main ri­val, but it falls short of match­ing it when it comes to en­gage­ment be­hind the wheel.

Price range: £26,220-£53,405 Our pick: GLA 200 d 4MATIC DCT Sport (£31,980) En­gine: 2.1-litre 4cyl diesel, 136bhp Trans­mis­sion: 7-spd auto, per­ma­nent 4WD Top speed: 124mph Econ­omy: 58.9mpg CO2: 127g/km

Price: £56,450 Our pick: XD3 Bi­turbo (£56,450) En­gine: 3.0-litre 6cyl diesel, 345bhp Trans­mis­sion: 8-spd auto, per­ma­nent 4WD Top speed: 157mph Econ­omy: 41.5mpg CO2: 174g/km

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