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Merc stuns with CLA

1401 Mercedes-Benz CLA 1

Mercedes-Benz launched one of the most exciting, and perhaps one of the most important, cars of the Detroit Motor Show. Enter the all-new CLA, an entry-level four-door coupé based on Merc’s new A-Class. Thankfully it’s remained true to the Concept Style Coupé, which was a well-received concept first shown in Los Angeles.

Visually, it’s an incredibly striking car, with inspiration drawn heavily from its much bigger CLS sibling. The front end is familiar Mercedes, especially when you look at its similarities with the A-Class, including the rectangular headlights and the bold nose. Muscular lines flow to the rear where the swooping roofline meets a sexy rear housing CLS-like taillights.

On the technical front it shares its basic mechanicals with the A and B-Class models, while longitudinally mounted engines will include the more powerful units from the A and B-Class ranges. A 90 kW 1,6 developed with Renault will also feature. A 155 kW 2,0-litre turbo will be the initial range-topper, while the sole diesel from launch will be a 125 kW 2,1-litre turbodiesel. More exciting models will follow, including the eventual range-topper, the CLA45 AMG, which will be powered by a highly tuned turbo four-pot delivering no less than 260 kW. The front wheels will be driven via either a six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed dual-clutch ‘box on launch models, but selected models will be available with all-wheel drive in future.

Sales and marketing boss Joachim Schmidt said, “This car gives us the chance to draw in a huge number of customers we didn’t have access to before, especially in markets where the A-Class isn’t sold. It will be the foundation if our future growth, appealing to Generation Y buyers and those young at heart. In particular, those Generation Y buyers will bring down the average age of our customers, and also most likely, be conquest customers from other brands. That is why CLA is do important to us and represents a cornerstone of our growth ambitions.”

It will fit into the Mercedes line-up below the C-Class. It’s currently a bigger car than the C-Class, but the next generation C is set to grow substantially. The car’s rivals will inclide the forthcoming Audi A3 sedan, the Volkswagen Jetta and a little-known BMW 1 Series sedan that’s currently undergoing development. currently undergoing development. It will hit overseas showroom floors in May this year.


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