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New Mercedes Concept CLA Class previews future Tesla Model 3 rival

The new Mercedes Concept CLA Class gives hints at how the German brand’s next all-electric EQ model will look

The newest addition to Mercedesall-electric range of EQ cars will be a compact executive saloon and our best look yet comes courtesy of the Concept CLA Class - debuting at this year’s Munich Motor Show

We’ve spotted the production model undergoing testing several times already and we expect it won’t stray too far from the bold design seen on this concept. The Concept CLA Class has quite a different front end to other Mercedes EQ cars, although the array of Mercedes three-pointed stars illuminating the grill has become a bit of a staple. The headlights also incorporate the brand’s logo and there’s a full-width LED light bar connecting the two for an aggressive look. 

The leading bonnet line wraps around the front wings almost connecting to the line that extends from the rear lights. The rear lights also include the Mercedes logo, but overall it's an understated exterior design that shouldn’t be too far removed from the production-spec car. 

Underpinning the Concept CLA Class is Mercedes’ new MMA platform, which will be used on four electric Mercedes models with a range of bodystyles. Mercedes CEO Ola Kallenius said, “The Concept CLA Class is the forerunner for an entirely new all-electric segment of entry-level vehicles at Mercedes-Benz. The range will comprise a total of four new models – a four-door coupé, a shooting brake and two stunning SUVs.” Mercedes claims MMA will allow for up to 466 miles of range and we expect the sleek Concept CLA Class to get pretty close to this number if not match it.

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Although the production version of the Concept CLA Class will be positioned as Mercedes’ entry-level EV, rivalling the likes of Tesla’s newly-updated Model 3 and the all-electric BMW 3 Series, it should still gain some of the EQXX concept’s impressive powertrain technology. Mercedes says it has decreased losses in its 800V system and the Concept CLA Class features “excellent energy density”.

The interior of the concept certainly is a little more eccentric than the exterior. The futuristic slender seats look like they offer up plenty of support but don’t expect these to reach production. The steering wheel looks like an adaption of the current design, with the twin spokes and button integration, although the illuminated centre and mirror finish might be a step too far. 

A translucent smartphone charging pad on the centre console draws the eye, but not quite as much as the expansive panoramic roof that extends all the way behind the heads of the rear passengers, including dozens of light-up stars. 

The Concept CLA Class also represents the first time we’ve seen the upcoming “MB.OS” in action. It’s Mercedes’ own operating system and will be rolled out on all-new models in the next few years. Mercedes says MB.OS “is the basis for an unparalleled user experience” allowing artificial intelligence to help provide a new level of personalisation. The triple-screen set up on the dash is a new layout, different to the three screens of the ‘Hyperscreen’ and ‘Superscreen’. Sitting beside the screens is a new climate control function which incorporates the temperature readout within the vent.

Pricing for the production car should be announced by early 2024, sitting around the £45,000 mark. 

Click here for our list of the best electric cars on sale right now...

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Senior news reporter

A keen petrol-head, Alastair Crooks has a degree in journalism and worked as a car salesman for a variety of manufacturers before joining Auto Express in Spring 2019 as a Content Editor. Now, as our senior news reporter, his daily duties involve tracking down the latest news and writing reviews.

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