Facelifted Merc CLA gets more plug-in hybrid power and cabin comfort | Top Gear
BBC TopGear
BBC TopGear
Subscribe to Top Gear magazine
Sign up to our Top Gear Magazine
Friday 29th September

Facelifted Merc CLA gets more plug-in hybrid power and cabin comfort

The refreshed compact hatchback gets much-needed improvements

Published: 18 Jan 2023

The Mercedes-Benz CLA and CLA Shooting Brake four-door coupes now have more power, at least if you’re prepared to go hybrid. In fact, it seems Merc has taken on board all the feedback we gave in our 2019 review and made the whole range better with this 2023 update.

While the changes to the CLA aren’t massive, not even for the AMG variants, the big news is more eco-friendly power in the mild-hybrid 1.3-litre petrol engines of this facelift.

Advertisement - Page continues below

Based on the Mercedes A-Class, the CLA sits in a segment of its own - facing down perhaps only the Hyundai i30 fastback. The most obvious external change is the front end grille, looking cleaner without the horizontal bar. There’s also a new rear diffuser and a swath of sophisticated interior cloth and colour combos, which have a serious sustainability vibe.  

One of the biggest criticisms the Top Gear team levelled at its predecessor was the inconsistency of interior quality and overly complex tech kit. Fortunately, the interior has been given a focussed upgrade - not just the comfort of the cloth either. What's more, to justify the increased price point (probably), Merc has chucked a load of previously optional features into the standard spec bag, too. The tech - perhaps not as complex - remains.

LED high-performance headlights, with High-Beam Assist - an automatically adaptive dip feature - an increased number of, now illuminated, USB-C port and 17-inch five-spoke alloys join the fabric comfort seats, leather steering wheel and 10.25-inch central touchscreen in the standard fayre. The latest MBUX infotainment suite has been paired with cinematastic Dolby Atmos surround sound ‘experience’ built into the premium Burmester sound system.

Advertisement - Page continues below

Those opting for the ‘Progressive’ trim (cough, ahem), will also get parking tech suite and door mirror technology, as well as an electric tailgate.

Inside, a free-standing double screen set-up is standard, though as before buyers can upgrade to two 10.25-inch screens if feeling the need for some serious display action. Merc references seven ‘colour worlds’ of fancy interior illumination, too. 

The Mercedes-AMG CLAs also benefit from the changes, though with typical AMG swagger in a brand-specific grille. The 35 gets hybridised with the same 48-volt battery, giving 10kW additional power. The coupe and Shooting Brake still output 415bhp and move from 0-62mph in an impressive 4.1 seconds. 

Top Gear

Get all the latest news, reviews and exclusives, direct to your inbox.

More from Top Gear

See more on Mercedes-Benz

Promoted Content

Subscribe to the Top Gear Newsletter

Get all the latest news, reviews and exclusives, direct to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, you agree to receive news, promotions and offers by email from Top Gear and BBC Studios. Your information will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

BBC TopGear

Try BBC Top Gear Magazine

Get your first 5 issues for £5