Mercedes-Benz reaches out to younger crowd with new entry level CLA-Class


January 17, 2013

The CLA-Class is a new entry level Mercedes designed for a younger crowd

The CLA-Class is a new entry level Mercedes designed for a younger crowd

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Mercedes is touting its new CLA-Class as "a real Mercedes. But not as you know it." The new mid-size four-door coupe is designed to bring the three points into a new demographic of garages, broadening Mercedes' appeal to a younger generation of buyer. The CLA is essentially a baby CLS, which Mercedes says is Germany's best-selling luxury car. The four-door, based on last year's Concept Style Coupe, was revealed at a preview event on the night before this year's North American International Auto Show.

"We aim to reach new target groups with the CLA – including those who never wanted to drive a Mercedes," said Dr Joachim Schmidt, executive vice president Mercedes-Benz cars, sales and marketing, in a statement.

Mercedes pins those hopes on sporty styling that it refers to as "rebel" and "avant-garde." Like the Style Coupe concept, the CLA has a sporty flair defined by a sloped profile and interplay between concave and convex surfaces. Three distinct lines carved across the flanks team together to give the car a sophisticated, dynamic look.

Meanwhile, the rear quarter and its subtle haunches are designed to convey a sense of power to the eye, letting you know the CLA is ready to burst forward when rallied into action. The panoramic sunroof that connects front and rear windshields is available as an option.

The CLA-Class's flowing curves pay off with a drag coefficient of 0.23, which Mercedes says is the lowest of any series-production vehicle. Those airflow characteristics should ensure that the 208-hp, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder will be able to deliver riveting performance while getting the most out of the gas in the tank. The engine is mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and available with a 4MATIC permanent all-wheel-drive system.

Mercedes uses a combination of McPherson strut suspension up front, independent multi-link suspension in back, electromechanical power steering, and flexible decoupling of the rear axle sub-frame to give the youthful CLA buyer a ride that should be lively and spry.

The CLA-Class comes standard with safety assistance systems, including the Attention Assist drowsiness detection and radar-based Collision Prevention Assist with adaptive Brake Assist. Other technologies like Blind Spot Assist and Lane Keeping Assist can be added optionally.

The CLA supports the connected lifestyle with Mercedes' mbrace2 connectivity platform that connects to the cloud for apps and concierge services. The car will also include Mercedes' new Apple Siri integration. A 5.8-inch display and Bluetooth come standard, and the optional 7-inch display with the Multimedia package brings the COMAND system with hard-drive navigation, voice control, an SD card slot, an in-dash 6-disc CD/DVD changer, a 10 GB music register, a rear-view camera and SiriusXM Traffic & Weather.

The CLA will become the entry point for the Mercedes-Benz brand when it goes on sale in September 2013 (4MATIC version in 2014), and Mercedes describes the price point as "unexpected." It will reveal just how unexpected in a Super Bowl commercial next month.

Source: Mercedes-Benz

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work. All articles by C.C. Weiss

Nice looking car but 208hp seems kind of weak for this market segment, expecially if it still weighs 4500lbs like most Mercedes sedans. Even the Buick Regal turbos have 220 - 260hp. Will wait for the AMG version.


I think it a good looking car, but at the same time you can see a lack of finish, a plainer look(if you will). Why does the cheaper model of all automakers end up being taller and seemingly less then their counter parts? S class better than C. Lexus LFA better than toyota FT-86. The insides could be underpowered, but theres no reason to lack the styling..


younger market? the 4-door rebel? sorry, maybe butt-ugly is the new avant-garde, but i doubt it ...


Old Mother Nature is screaming at us to change our behaviour, or else, yet motor manufacturers continue to rave about how powerful their products are, as in the above: “Meanwhile, the rear quarter and its subtle haunches are designed to convey a sense of power to the eye, letting you know the CLA is ready to burst forward when rallied into action.” Last year Old Mother Nature gave us record droughts, record rainfalls, record heatwaves, record forest fires, unusual fast moving fire storms, record sized hurricanes, record Arctic ice loss, record Greenland ice cap melt - the list seems endless, yet Mercedes and its fellow car manufacturers, with no indication that they are aware of the dangers of business as usual, give us business as usual.

I don’t expect Mercedes et al to go all electric, or indeed to increase electric car production while the infrastructure is nowhere near available to support such a move. However, they can at least prepare the public by changing its perception of what a motor car really is. In essence it is only it is only a device to get from A to B. Any function as a status symbol has to come second to that usage. The safer and more economically it can get from start to destination should be its major selling points, not how quick it can reach a dangerous speed and how much faster it can go beyond it. (Even ignoring climate change, acceleration and speed are all too often irrelevant these days thanks to modern traffic congestion.) While changing the emphasis away from torque and power to safety and economy will mean that certain loud-mouthed motoring correspondents will have to grow up, it really is about time they did so anyway.

Mel Tisdale

I think the idea and execution are spot on. If the price is the same or less than the usual econo-brands, we'll be interested; as a step up for our daughter.

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