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Detroit Motor Show 2013: Mercedes-Benz CLA

Mini-CLS based on A-Class creates another new niche...

Mercedes unveiled the new CLA model at the Detroit Motor Show this week. We all know that manufacturers are creating niches within niches within niches these days, and Mercedes are one of the biggest culprets. So where they created the CLS large 4-door coupe market, they have now created a similar 4-door coupe based on the much smaller A-Class – the CLA.

Looking very similar to the A-Class up to the B-pillars, there the roofline falls away in a graceful arc to the pert rear. Looking very similar to the Concept Style Coupe from last year, the rear end keeps the curvaceous rear lights that sweep around and cut into the rear profile with neat LED graphics. The images show a CLA250 AMG Sport, which explains the large air intakes on the front bumper, prominent splitter, twin exhaust pipes and the lip spoiler on the bootlid.

We have to say that on first viewing, from the front 3/4 it looked a little unbalanced, but after taking in all the details like the creased side panels and black roof, we really like the look of the CLA. This model is also a good teaser for how the CLA45 AMG will look when launched – imagine another 50% aggression and that should be about right.

Speaking of engines, a 120 bhp four-cylinder 1.6-litre engine, developed in cooperation with Renault, will power the base C180 model while a turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol powerplant with 208 bhp will appear in the initial range-topping CLA250. The sole diesel model at launch will be the CLA220 CDI, powered by a 168 bhp 2.1-litre turbodiesel. There will be a few more engines from the A- and B-Class joining the lineup later, along with the 349 bhp CLA45 AMG.

Drive will go through a six speed manual or seven speed dual clutch gearbox to the front wheels initially, but a 4matic four wheel drive option will join the range later on.

The upcoming CLA180 BlueEfficiency model will be extra special, as it will boast an overall drag coefficient (Cd) of 0/22 which is a world record for a series production car. A low Cd value means less drag and hence great economy benefits. The rest of the range (except the AMG Sport models) have a Cd of 0.23, still an incredibly impressive achievement and one that still beats the previous record held by the Tesla Model S.

In the UK the CLA will only be offered in Sport and AMG Sport trim to reflect the car’s premium sports positioning. Models will be priced around £3000 more than the equivalent A-Class variant when it goes on sale in May.

Images courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

 

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About Tim Oldland

Contributing Editor - Long time petrolhead, automotive design engineer and journalist. Also Social Media Manager for the ecurie25 Group - www.ecurie25.com Tim has worked in the automotive sector for many years, but has been a fan of anything with 2 or 4... read more