The CLA is part of Mercedes’ new small car family, and is the first compact four-door coupe of its kind. But BMW is set to launch a 4 Series Gran Coupe soon and Audi will follow suit with a low-slung A3 saloon.
The CLA’s styling stays faithful to the Concept Style Coupe, seen at last April’s Beijing Motor Show. A mesmerising diamond-look grille has been carried over, while the swooping roofline flows into the bootlid, CLS-style. The flowing lines give excellent aerodynamic efficiency – the CLA has the lowest drag of any production car on sale.
Inside, owners of the A-Class will recognise the design, with the same SLS-inspired bullseye vents and tablet-style screen. But all trim surfaces in the CLA are covered in galvanised metal. Mercedes refers to the rear bench as a 2+1, with sculpted seats either side, but space for three at a push.
Buyers will be able to choose from two suspension set-ups – comfort or sports – with the latter lowering the body by 20mm at the front and 15mm at the rear.
New radar-based autobrake is standard; this works from 4mph to 124mph. Plus, Mercedes has improved iPhone integration into the infotainment system, which now includes Siri voice control.
Initially, there’ll be two petrol engines and one diesel, all with stop-start. Kicking off the range is the 120bhp CLA 180, while the 208bhp CLA 250 will be the flagship until the CLA 45 AMG arrives. The 168bhp CLA 220 CDI is the only diesel, with 62.8mpg economy and 109g/km of CO2, although a 134bhp CLA 200 CDI will appear later this year.
CLA order books will open in March, and while prices have yet to be revealed, the car is likely to cost £3,000 more than the equivalent A-Class, which starts at £18,945.