Mercedes-Benz CLA unveiled at CES 2019

This junior coupe-sedan is part of a greater expansion of the A-Class range, which also includes the A-Class sedan

09 January 2019 - 15:57 By Phuti Mpyane
CLA is the sleeker, coupe-like version of the new A-class. Picture: SUPPLIED
CLA is the sleeker, coupe-like version of the new A-class. Picture: SUPPLIED

The diversification of the current Mercedes-Benz A-Class is getting into swing following the revelation of its CLA four-door coupe variation at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

Not to be confused with the equally four-doored A-Class sedan which made its public debut at the recent Paris Auto Show, and boasts a larger cabin due to its more traditional saloon design, the CLA is related to Merc’s sportier-looking coupe-shaped sedans such as the larger CLS.

Sharing the same front-wheel-drive configuration platform as the hatchback, the new CLA is 48mm longer, 53mm wider and 2mm lower than the model it replaces. According to Mercedes-Benz, in making this new CLA, a near complete rethink has resulted in moving the cabin slightly backwards, growing the length, and lowering of the bonnet line has resulted in a more harmonious, rather cheekier and sleeker looking car than its predecessor.

This sportier CLA offers less headroom than the hatch due to a swoopy roof which dips forcefully from the C-pillars, ending at a slimmer boot that features an altered light cluster design.

The new CLA inherits Merc's glamorous new cabin design and high-tech MBUX infotainment system. Picture: SUPPLIED
The new CLA inherits Merc's glamorous new cabin design and high-tech MBUX infotainment system. Picture: SUPPLIED

But the interior is pure A-Class in DNA. Similar equipment highlights are a further enhanced MBUX infotainment system with its large digital display screens that dominate the business area. It also gets the alluring turbine style air vents that characterise modern day Mercs.

Also coming to the CLA is newer technology. “We’re taking it to the next level by bringing the intelligent interior assistant to the compact class, too. Movement recognition makes it easier and more intuitive to operate,” says Ola Källenius, the incoming Boss at Daimler. “The CLA offers a huge amount of automotive intelligence and not just with this new feature,” he continued.

Despite having four doors and being technically a sedan, the swooping roofline gives the CLA a distinctly coupe look in profile. Picture: SUPPLIED
Despite having four doors and being technically a sedan, the swooping roofline gives the CLA a distinctly coupe look in profile. Picture: SUPPLIED

Mechanically the CLA shares much with the A-Class hatch including the surprisingly venomous new 1.33l turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, as well as the 2l turbo petrol and diesels. The front-wheel drive chassis is tuned for even more scintillating engagement.

Expected AMG versions should include up to three 4MATIC equipped dragsters in 225kW CLA35 form as well as a pair of anticipated CLA45s in standard and ‘S’ form. Mercedes-AMG is currently teasing these juggernauts but largely keeping mum on power outputs. Reports suggest they will finally skip over the 300kW mark, making them the most powerful series four-cylinder engines when they eventually get unleashed.

Also expect a CLA Shooting Brake version with similar armour as the CLA which, unfortunately doesn’t not look like a model destined for our wagon-disliking shores.  

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