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The Mercedes-Benz GLA made its debut in the UK in a pretty cool location -- 189-metres below ground in the Winsford Rock Salt Min in Cheshire. The idea was to show off the GLA in a setting that was as rough and off the beaten path as possible.

This allowed Mercedes-Benz to show off the unique suspension setup of the new GLA, as well as the optional "Intelligent Light System" (ILS). Another feature on display is the Downhill Speed Regulation (DSR) which assists the driver on steeper downhill stretches by maintaining a slow, manually selected vehicle speed within the physical limits when negotiating downhill gradients.

Four standard examples of the GLA were lowered, nose first, into the mine before being driven through the broken terrain of a network of more than 130 miles of tunnels that run beneath Cheshire in what is very much a working mine. Indeed, it provides most of the gritting salt used for the UK's roads in winter.

The Winsford Rock Salt Mine is the largest salt mine in the UK, and it is also the oldest working mine in the UK. Operated by Salt Union, the mine stretches 5km east to west and 3km north to south. That is a huge network of tunnels!

It's nothing that the GLA can't handle though. The 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system was easily able to handle the broken terrain of the salt road tunnels, and the Intelligent Light System lit up the dark tunnels really well. The pictures below that show off the light system really impressed me. If it can light up a dark tunnel with no light source, I'm sure that it will be able to handle regular roads.

The Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class will start at £25,080 for the base model.

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