New Mercedes CLA four-door coupé revealed

Mercedes makes a mini-me CLS: the new CLA compact four-door coupe

By Tim Kendall | 14th January 2013

This is the new Mercedes CLA. It’s a four-door coupé based on the new A-Class platform – and it goes on sale later this year.

  • New CLA is a compact four-door coupé;
  • Claimed to be the most aerodynamic production vehicle on sale with drag co-efficient of 0.23Cd;
  • Most powerful CLA at launch to be CLA250 petrol with 211bhp
2013 Mercedes CLA

The new Mercedes CLA compact four-door coupe

Where does the new Mercedes CLA fit in to the model line-up?

Think of the CLA as a shrunken CLS and you’ll be on the right track. Taking a bread-and-butter platform and grafting a sleek coupé-like four-door body on has proved a hugely successful and much-imitated formula for Mercedes since it launched the original CLS in 2004. And there’s little to suggest that downsizing the concept won’t reap similar dividends for the Stuttgart firm.

Chairman of Daimler’s Management Board, Dr Dieter Zetsche: “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.”

The big news is that the new Mercedes CLA is front-wheel drive – which is a first for an ostensibly saloon-like Mercedes. Although it’s not such big news when you consider that the underpinnings are shared with the front drive A-Class hatch.

New Mercedes CLA

Mercedes CLA

What new equipment does the CLA come with?

Safety hasn’t been forgotten in the name of style – there’s a standard-fit radar-based Collision Prevention Assist system. It works by identifying obstacles on the road ahead – and if it decides a collision is imminent, applies the precise amount of braking assistance required to avert disaster. It operates at speeds above 4mph and supplements the driver’s own application of the brakes, which should make it handy in the kind of nose-to-tail traffic where rear-end shunts are common.

When combined with the Distronic Plus radar cruise control, the system, dubbed Collision Prevention Assist Plus, can carry out ‘autonomous’ braking at speeds of up to 124mph.

New 2013 Mercedes CLA

New gadgets on the CLA include radar-guided Collision Prevention Assist

What engines are available in the 2013 Mercedes CLA?

At the business end there’ll be three engines – two petrols and a diesel option – available from launch. The entry point is the CLA 180 with a 1.6-litre 122bhp petrol engine, capable of hitting 62mph in a claimed 9.7 seconds when coupled to a six-speed manual gearbox. Further up the range, the CLA 250 gets a 211bhp 2.0-litre turbo which manages the same sprint in a much swifter 6.7 seconds, equipped with a standard seven-speed dual clutch transmission.

Likely to be the fleet buyer’s choice is the diesel-powered CLA 220 CDI, equipped with a 170bhp 2.2-litre direct injection unit and 7G dual-clutch gearbox. Combined fuel consumption ranges from 50.4mpg for the base CLA 180 to 67mpg for the CLA 220 oil-burner.

What about a Mercedes CLA AMG?

It’s a sure-fire bet that there’ll be an AMG version of the new CLA along fairly shortly. Likely to be badged CLA45 AMG, rumour has it the hottest CLA will get the steroidal 2.0-litre turbo motor also earmarked for the A45 AMG. That means around 350bhp and four-wheel drive to keep it all on the blacktop.

What about the price of a new CLA?

As yet there’s no official word on pricing, but Merc’s stylish new four-door is likely to cost somewhere around £20k for the entry-level CLA 180 when it goes on sale in March. UK Deliveries start in June.

2013 Mercedes CLA picture gallery

By Tim Kendall
14th January 2013

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