Mercedes-Benz has said that the second-generation CLA coupé, revealed at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas, will offer the sportiest driving dynamics of its new wave of compact cars.
The new four-door coupé is due to arrive in the UK in June. It is built on a re-engineered version of the previous car’s platform and uses technology from the latest A-class.
Available with front- and four-wheel drive and the choice of two rear suspension systems, the new machine was displayed at CES in the CLA 250 guise, featuring a 224hp, 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine, driven through a seven-speed automatic gearbox. The rest of the engine range is likely to mirror the A-class, with 133hp and 163hp, 1.3-litre petrols, a 190hp version of the 2.0 petrol, a 116hp, 1.5-litre and 150hp and 190hp, 2.0-litre diesels.
A decoupled multi-link rear axle will be offered, with active adaptive damping available as an option. Wheel sizes will range from 16 to 19 inches.
Sitting 4,688mm long and 1,830mm wide, the new CLA is 48mm longer and 53mm wider than its predecessor, and its wheelbase is 30mm longer at 2,729mm. Mercedes said this, along with the car’s lower centre of gravity, helps to ensure it has improved driving dynamics. The new CLA has also been honed in the wind tunnel to have a drag coefficient of 0.23, very close to the previous car’s 0.22 Cd, despite a larger frontal area.
In its design, the new CLA has echoes of the A-class and other recent new Mercedes but gets an elongated bonnet featuring a sharply raked nose, uniquely designed flat headlights and a prominent ‘powerdome’ on the bonnet. The sloping coupé roofline is emphasised by frameless doors. The rear of the car features narrow tail-lights designed to make the vehicle appear even wider.
The car’s larger dimensions have resulted in a more spacious interior, with 17mm of extra headroom. Legroom, however, is broadly similar to the previous model’s and the boot has shrunk by 10 litres to 460 litres.
The CLA has the youngest average customers of all Mercedes models, so the firm has focused on a high-tech theme for the interior. The dashboard features a centrally mounted touchscreen and no cowl, with a ‘trench’ splitting out the lower section. It also has the newest version of the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) system, including ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice recognition control.
A new interior assist system enables gesture control of certain functions and it is said the car can detect whether the driver or passenger is using the touchscreen and react accordingly. Gesturing towards the rear-view mirror can also control the reading light.
As with the A-class, the CLA also receives driver assistance systems originally seen on the most recent S-class, allowing the car to drive semi-autonomously for the first time. The systems fitted include active brake, lane keeping, and lane change assistance systems along with Pre-safe Plus, which can detect an imminent rear-end collision and prepare the car for it.
The CLA will be offered at launch as a limited-run Edition 1, featuring a number of visual tweaks. The car will be manufactured at Mercedes’ Kecskemet plant in Hungary. A Shooting Brake estate is due to follow later this year.
Mercedes performance arm AMG is also working on a range-topping CLA 45 model, featuring the most highly tuned, 421hp version of the M260 2.0-litre petrol engine. A 306hp, 2.0-litre CLA35 AMG is said to be under consideration.
While the previous-gen CLA is currently on sale in India (priced between Rs 34.38-36.99 lakh, ex-showroom, pan-India), this secxond-gen model is unlikely to launch in our market. The A-class sedan, in long-wheelbase guise, is expected to be brought to India instead and is expected to reach showrooms by the end of this year.
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