What would you do when you like the A-Class and the CLS-Class, but neither of them seal the deal? That’s right, you buy the CLA. Not completely sure if that’s how the CLA-Class was born, but in certain markets, the model has been a successful one.
According to Mercedes, more than two thirds of CLA buyers in the USA came from its competitors. On average, CLA customers in the USA are around 10 years younger than a typical Mercedes‑Benz customer. In Europe too, CLA customers are among the youngest in the Mercedes portfolio. In 2017, one in two customers in Europe previously drove a competitor’s vehicle. The company has shipped some 750,000 units of the first-generation CLA so far, proving the model’s success.
Which is why the second generation model is here to continue the success story. The new CLA Coupe adopts the ‘Sensual Purity’ design language we’ve been seeing in all the latest Mercedes models including the 4th generation A-Class hatchback. The CLA has grown in size compared to its predecessor.
The new CLA measures 4,688 mm (+48) in length, 1,830 mm (+53) in width and 1,439 mm (-2) in height. Wheelbase measures 2,729 mm (+30). All these dimensions have resulted in increased headroom, legroom and shoulder room in the cabin.
On the exterior, the car gets Multibeam LED headlamps as optional, which come with 18 individually controllable LEDs. LED High Performance headlamps are another option. As standard, the new CLA is equipped with halogen headlamps with integrated LED DRLs. The tail lamps are also available with all-LED technology.
Aerodynamics was always one of the first CLA’s strong points, and the new model maintains the Cd value of 0.23. Rounding off the exterior looks are wheels ranging from 16- to 19-inches, shod with tyres measuring 205/60 R 16 to 225/40 R 19.
Naturally, the MBUX makes its way into the cabin of the new CLA. The technology is further improved and the voice assistant ‘Hey Mercedes’ is able to recognize and answer considerably more complex queries, according to Sajjad Khan, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars for CASE and Head of Digital Vehicle & Mobility. “What’s more, the voice assistance no longer gets confused by other passengers conversing. Instead it only responds to the commands of the person who last said ‘Hey Mercedes’ to activate the system.”
The MBUX also has something called Interior Assist. As soon as a hand approaches the touchscreen in the dashboard or the touchpad on the centre console, individual elements are highlighted according to the currently active menu. In addition, the system is able to distinguish between the driver’s and front passenger’s wishes and thus knows for whose seat the massage function is to be activated, for example.
More cool technology on the inside includes the reading lamp to be switched on or off by briefly extending a hand towards the rear-view mirror.
As for driver assistance features, for the first time, the CLA is able to drive semi-autonomously in certain situations. To do this, it keeps a close eye on the traffic situation. Improved camera and radar systems allow it to see up to 500 metres ahead. The CLA also uses map and navigation data for assistance functions.
Active Distance Assist Distronic, part of the optional Driving Assistance Package, is able to provide route-based support to the driver in numerous situations, and can predictively adjust the speed, when approaching bends, junctions or roundabouts, for example. Also on board are Active Emergency Stop Assist and Active Lane Change Assist. Active Brake Assist and Active Lane Keeping Assist are standard as well.
Pre-Safe Plus which can recognize an imminent rear-end collision, is optional. The system can firmly apply the brakes of the stationary vehicle, thus lowering the risk of injuries by reducing the forward jolt caused by an impact from the rear.
Options list also includes an active adaptive damping system, giving the driver the choice between comfort or a more sporty tuning.
At launch, there’ll be a CLA 250 with 2.0-litre 4-cylinder petrol engine (165 kW/220 bhp, 350 Nm), paired to a 7G-DCT dual-clutch transmission. By May, there’ll be a range of diesel and petrol engines featuring manual or dual-clutch transmissions and 4Matic all-wheel drive as well.