Prettier, smarter, and just as potent as the hatch.
German luxury marque Mercedes-Benz has launched its second-generation CLA 4-door coupé, as the marque continues its steady but total refresh of the A-Class range (with just the GLA to go now). Critically, the CLA addresses one key issue that cropped up with the arrival of the A-Class saloon in China – would there be sufficient differentiation?
The answer is yes, yes there is. The CLA bears a design that is far more in keeping with the bigger CLS, as well as Mercedes-Benz’s coupés. Different from their saloons, Mercedes coupés prefer complex surface play rather than defined lines and creases, and that’s evident with the CLA. Further differentiating it from the rest of the A-Class range is its front & rear treatments, with the latter looking more CLS than A-Class saloon, which we appreciate immensely.
“As a four-door coupé, the CLA intrigues with its puristic, seductive design and sets new standards in the design DNA of ‘sensual purity.’ It impresses with its perfect proportions reflecting the first design sketch: A long, stretched bonnet, a compact greenhouse, a wide track with exposed wheel arches and our typical GT rear end with a distinctive ‘Coke-bottle’ shoulder. Il short, the CLA Coupé has the potential to become a modern design icon.” — Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer, Daimler AG
The Mercedes-Benz CLA has made its debut at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, where it’s been unveiled as a CLA250. Under the bonnet lies a 2.0-litre 4-pot turbo, with 165kW and 350Nm, sending power forwards via a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic. While this is the only engine that’s been detailed at press time, the CLA is expected to gain a wide variety of engines & transmissions (as well as 4Matic all-paw traction) by the time it hits the market in May.
Being one of Mercedes-Benz’s compact vehicles, technology is a huge draw, and the CLA doesn’t disappoint. It’s packing the same MBUX advanced infotainment system that was first seen in the A-Class hatch, but it’s been further improved upon and refined, allowing for even more advanced features. In the US, it’ll even be able to take on complex non-car queries and deliver a result, so you can ask it how one stock did compared to another, how your favourite baseball team did last night, or where the nearest kid-friendly Asian food restaurant that isn’t Chinese or Japanese is.
MBUX isn’t the sole carry-over from the A-Class – in fact, the entire cabin looks like a copy-paste job. You can argue that for the CLA, a more emotive and “sensual” car as Mercedes-Benz wants you to think, it ought to have been more expressive inside. However, we think that it’s fine to have pulled the A-Class cabin wholesale because altogether, it’s pretty nice place to be. Things like the turbine air vents are reminiscent of the CLS too, which is nice, because the CLA wants to be seen as the mini-CLS right?
No new Mercedes-Benz would fit the bill without an enviable list of advanced safety kit, and the CLA doesn’t disappoint. The very latest advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) have been fitted to the compact coupé, permitting it to drive semi-autonomously in certain situations, thanks to camera & radar able to read up to 500m ahead of the car, which works in conjunction with the adaptive cruise control, which itself works together with the navigation system to adapt the speed of the car to the prevailing geographical & traffic conditions. AEB & Lane Change Assist are also available, with Active Lane Keep Assist bolted on as standard in the US market.
At time of writing, we’ve yet to receive word from Mercedes-Benz Australia regarding the availability of the CLA (though we think that’s a given), or what guises we’ll expect to see it in. However, it was mentioned explicitly that the Edition 1 (as photographed here) will not be available in the UK market, suggesting that our also-RHD market might not get it either. Bugger.