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14 January 2013

New Mercedes-Benz CLA: revealed

First official pictures and details of a new baby brother to the CLS

Vijay Pattni
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This is the properly brand new Mercedes-Benz CLA; not a facelifted anything, but a bona fide new model in Merc's ever-swelling line-up. And it's been fleetingly previewed at the Detroit motor show before being boxed up for its official premiere at the Mercedes-Benz fashion week in Berlin. That tells you much about how Merc is pitching this new CLA.

And so it should. It is the product of a few years worth of concept material. We first saw a 'CLA' in the shape of the F800 of 2010, followed by the gorgeous Concept Style Coupe from the Beijing Motor Show last year. And the good news is it's kept as much concept car gloss as is possible on a production car.

As you can see by the pictures above, the sloping roofline is meant to echo that of the trend-setting CLS, but in a slightly smaller package, obviously. This new Mercedes CLA measures in at approximately the same length and height as a C-Class saloon, though a bit narrower on the width. And the CLA isn't just about styling, it's slippery too, with an ultra low drag co-efficient of 0.22, which is a new world record for production cars.

And assuming Mercedes hasn't suddenly recast the chassis from Lego overnight, the CLA sits on the same platform as the new A-Class, which is a decent, confidence inspiring little thing. You get a MacPherson front setup with independent multilink rear suspension, aluminium components to reduce mass and the option of a 'comfort' setup, or 'sport' which drops the suspension by 20mm at the front and 15mm at the rear.

All Merc CLAs will come with three engines from launch: the 122bhp CLA 180 (1.6-litre petrol), the 211bhp CLA 250 (2.0-litre petrol), and the 170bhp CLA 220 (2.2-litre diesel). Later this year, we'll see a 2.0-litre CLA 200 with 136bhp too. The quickest of those is the petrol CLA 250, which together with a seven-speed DCT gearbox goes from 0-100kph in just 6.7 seconds and tops out at 240kph.

Oh, and you can be very certain of one thing: AMG will have already been sniffing around the new CLA with great interest. If they can fit a turbocharged, 350bhp four-pot into the upcoming four-wheel-drive A45 AMG, something equally bombastic will hit the CLA AMG too...

Inside, it's all modern Mercedes, with trim surfaces galvanised in silver, a black piano-lacquer finish and the 'floating TV' style display screen you find in a new A-Class. There's even a tilt/slide panoramic roof as an option. As expected, it comes fitted with a myriad of Mercedes safety options, including collision prevention assist and attention assist. If you need these two explained, may we suggest visiting another website?

You can even sync your iPhone with the new Merc CLA, so that the 'Siri' voice control works, along with location sharing via something called 'Glympse'.

Prices to be confirmed in due course. It's now heading off to the catwalks of Germany for its official entry into society. Are you happy with Merc's latest supermodel?

Tags: detroit 13, mercedes, mercedes benz, cla

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