What It Is: A four-door compact sedan based on the third-generation Mercedes-Benz A-class, previously previewed by the Concept Style Coupé. This example is a CLA250 Sport, an AMG-tuned version that’s identified by a “diamond” grille, unique side skirts, and the gaping holes in the front fascia. The CLA will be Benz's entry-level model in the U.S. market, positioned below the C-class.
Why It Matters: The CLA is an attempt to make the brand more accessible while emphasizing sportiness. Judging from our experience with the A-class, the CLA's claim to sportiness will be entirely justified; the CLA250 Sport seen here, in particular, should deliver on the steering, chassis, and powertrain fronts.
Platform: The CLA will be based on Daimler's MFA platform, underpinning not only the A-class, the B-class, and the CLA, but also a crossover SUV and "at least one other model," according to Daimler. That fifth model is nearly certain to be a wagon version of the CLA, but it’s likely there will be more to come. A convertible is possible, for example, and it may even be a roadster. The CLA will be closer to the A-class than to any other variation of the MFA platform, sharing front architecture and many styling elements.
Powertrains: The CLA will be powered by 1.8- and 2.1-liter diesel engines, as well as 1.6- and 2.0-liter gasoline fours—both of which will be turbocharged. Topping the lineup will be the CLA45 AMG, with a 2.0-liter turbo four that will produce around 350 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. On U.S. soil, expect to see the 2.0-liter four, the AMG-ified 2.0-liter, and maybe even the 2.1-liter diesel. It’s conceivable that the CLA will be offered with a Renault-sourced 1.5-liter turbo-diesel, just like in the A-class. An all-wheel-drive system will be initially offered only in the CLA45 before cracking the rest of the lineup some time after launch. Mercedes has no plans for plug-in hybrid or electrified variants.
Thanks to: Car and Driver