Mercedes has finally granted us a proper look at the upcoming CLA compact saloon ahead of its official unveiling at the North American International Motor Show.
Stylistically the folks at Mercedes have largely adhered to the styling treatment doled out to the Concept Style Coupé – essentially a micronized take on the CLS with several nods to the A-Class, upon which it is based, at the nose-end.
The CLA is underpinned by Mercedes’ MFA platform with a MacPherson strut front/independent multilink rear suspension setup, which will be lowered by 20 mm up front and 15 mm at the rear for Sport models. The steering will be electromechanically assisted.
Measuring 4 630 mm in length, 1 777mm wide and 1437mm high, the CLA is marginally longer, wider and lower than the current C-Class. It has, however, been ascertained that the next-generation C-Class will be considerably larger than its predecessor – this model realignment is the upshot of the firm’s intention to make the new car more viable in markets such as China and North America.
The CLA will also provide Mercedes will a foil to the likes of the upcoming Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series saloon models, the latter being due for a 2015 launch.
The interior is largely A-Class fare with its trio of ventilation pods in the facia. Several new trim options are offered with this model, including silver accents and piano black trim elements. The facia is crowned by a 5,8-inch display that can be specced to include a multimedia package integrating Comand, sat-nav and mbrace2 connectivity – a system that grants the driver access to a suite of online applications.
An optional Premium Package will add dual-zone climate control, a Harman/kardon audio system and heated front seats.
On the powerplant front, the CLA will initially be offered with a 1,6-litre, 4-cylinder petrol for the CLA180 model. This unit, which has been co-developed with Renault, develops 90 kW. The first diesel model, the CLA220 CDI, will be a turbocharged 2,1-litre unit serving up 125 kW. The AMG model will reportedly feature a highly tuned 2,0-litre turbopetrol that will reportedly develop around 260 kW.
Most models will feature front-wheel drive and, depending on the engine specified, will be offered with a choice of six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic gearboxes. Certain markets will eventually see the introduction of a torque-apportioning Haldex all-wheel drive system.
The CLA will be offered with a wide variety of innovative safety systems. Among the standard-fit items are a full compliment of airbags, a radar-actuated braking system and Attention Assist. The optional systems include Distronic Plus, high-beam assist, as well as lane keeping and blind spot assistance systems.
There’s no official word as to if and when the CLA will find its way to our market, but if it could be towards the tail-end of 2013 or early 2014.