Here’s what we already know about the new Mercedes-Benz CLA: it’s a four-door sports sedan based on the A-Class’ MFA front-wheel drive platform, with the 4MATIC all-wheel drive system being available as an option.
It sits between the A- and C-Class in the automaker’s line-up but is slightly longer than the latter. It has a production car aerodynamic record with a Cd of just 0.23 and it will launch with a 207HP turbocharged 2.0-liter four-banger in the U.S. and a wider range of gasoline and diesel engines in Europe and other markets.
The above information about the “baby CLS” was revealed by Mercedes-Benz during a special presentation in Detroit. Nevertheless, the three-pointed star won’t be displaying its “styling rebel”, as it calls the CLA, at the U.S. show but during the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Berlin.
Now, here’s what else is new: the CLA 180 BlueEFFICIENCY edition is even more aerodynamic, boasting a Cd of just 0.22 thanks to numerous modifications that include low-drag wheel trims, serrated wheel spoilers on the wheel arches, extensive underbody paneling and a new rear silencer followed by an air-flow optimizing diffuser.
In Europe, the base model is the CLA 180 that’s priced at €28,977 (US$38,723 at today’s exchange rate) in Germany and is powered by a turbocharged 1.6-liter gasoline unit with 120HP (122PS) and 200 Nm (147.5 lb-ft) of torque. It accelerates from a standstill to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 9.3 seconds and has a top speed of 210 km/h (130 mph) and an average consumption of 5.4-5.6 lt/100 km (43.5-42.0 mpg US).
The identically priced BlueEFFICIENCY version is 0.6 seconds slower to the 100 km/h (62 mph) mark and has its top speed electronically limited to 190 km/h (118 mph). On the other hand, it’s even more frugal, consuming just 5.0 lt/100 km (47.0 mpg US) and eco-friendly, as it emits just 118 g of CO2 per km, compared to the standard CLA 180’s 126-130.
Next up is the €31,862 (US$42,596) CLA 200 that features a more powerful version of the 1.6-liter turbo engine with 154HP (156PS) and 250 Nm (184.4 lb-ft) of torque. It sprints to 100 km/h (62 mph) from a standstill in 8.6 seconds and reaches a top speed of 230 km/h (143 mph), while consuming 5.5-5.7 lt/100km (42.7-41.3 mpg US) on average and emitting 127-131 g of CO2/km.
The range-topper is the CLA 250 that features a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with an output of 208HP (211PS) and 350Nm (258 lb-ft) of torque. That’s good enough for a 6.7-second 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) acceleration time and a 240 km/h (150 mph) top speed. Unlike the smaller versions, which come with a six-speed manual transmission as standard, the CLA 250’s powerplant is mated to Mercedes’ 7G-DCT dual-clutch auto. Its price in Germany is €38,675 (US$51,686).
The sole diesel variant that’s available at launch is the CLA 220 CDI that’s powered by a 2.2-liter unit with 167HP (170PS) and a CLA 250-matching 350 Nm (258 lb-ft) of torque that enable it to complete the 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) sprint in 8.2 seconds and top out at 230 km/h (143 mph). Naturally, it’s the most fuel efficient of the bunch, with an average consumption of 4.2-4.5 lt/100 km (56.0-52.3 mpg US) and CO2 emissions of 109-117 g/km, although at €37,991 (US$50,770) it’s not exactly a steal.
"The response to the Concept Style Coupé was overwhelming. The most frequent comment by far was 'Please put this car into series production.' That's precisely what we are doing now", said Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board at Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. "The CLA is a car that does not confuse 'middle range' with 'middling quality'. Its sporty design underscores the sporty side of the Mercedes-Benz brand."
In Europe, the CLA is already available to order and sales will begin in April, with the exception of the CLA 180 BlueEFFICIENCY that will join the range in June. U.S. sales of the CLA 250 will start in September with prices to be announced.
You can view an extensive image gallery, as well as a video, of Mercedes-Benz’s new premium compact saloon right after the break.
By Andrew Tsaousis