Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class

Mercedes-Benz will unveil the new CLA-Class just ahead of the 2013 NAIAS at Detroit, a four door coupe following in the steps of the Mercedes-Benz CLS Coupe. The most aerodynamic car in the Mercedes-Benz range as well as among other production vehicles, it has a world leading drag coefficient of 0.22 The CLA will also have optional 4MATIC all‑wheel drive. Frameless doors make it to production from the design of the Concept Style Coupé. Mercedes-Benz boasts of a radar-based braking system (COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST) available as standard on the CLA-Class. Riot Engine takes a look at the styling and tech of the CLA Class in this Design & Tech article.


Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class 03Previewed to us as the Concept Style Coupe, most of the design features have made into the production CLA-Class. The muscular bonnet and the diamong grille we’ve seen on the A-Class previously combined with the now legendary coupe profile of this Merc define the CLA-Class.

Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class : Profile, three defining lines can be seen in this angle

There are three signature lines that can be viewed on the profile of the CLA. The first line starts from the front fender and drops gracefully towards the rear. A second line ‘spans the shoulder muscle’ from the rear towards the centre of the car while the last feature line extends in a sweeping curve from the front wheel towards the rear. Mercedes-Benz says that together these lines lend depth and dynamism to the side profile.

While we’ve seen a recent trend in the design language of the three big German brands which is to emphasize the width of the car using plain horizontal design elements at the rear, the CLA has to do the same with signature CLS lines which are anything but horizontal. The gently sloping roof contour and the strong curvature of the rear window provide the CLA with a coupé-style character from the rear. The tail lights are framed by the muscular lines of the shoulders which extend into the rear end. Mercedes-Benz says the horizontal orientation of the lights are used to impress upon the rear’s powerful and aesthetic breadth.

The cool sunroof is optional and consists of a fixed polycarbonate cover at the front, a moving element made of mineral crystal and side trims to match the glass look.

Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class 08
Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class : Rear
Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class : Front
Mercedes Benz CLA Class : Rear 3/4


Mercedes Benz CLA Class Interior 10
Mercedes Benz CLA Class Interior 09
Mercedes Benz CLA Class Interior 08As you would expect, a selection of high-quality materials take their place in the interiors of the CLA-Class. All trim surfaces are galvanised, resulting in a metallic finish. The instrument panel incorporates five round vents. First seen on the SLS AMG, the round vents have a high-quality electroplated finish on their outer rings. The free-standing display screen features a black piano-lacquer-look front panel and a flush-fitting silver frame. A fibre-optic cable can be had in the opening between head restraint and backrest as part of the ambient lighting.


As mentioned earlier, the CLA-Class is the world’s most aerodynamically efficient production vehicle. The CLA currently has a drag coefficient of 0.23 and a drag area of 0.51m2 and with the CLA 180 BlueEFFICIENCY Edition to be launched in June, the numbers drop to 0.22 and 0.49m2! Mercedes-Benz says these magic numbers are courtesy of the new low A-pillar shoulder, aerodynamic outside rear view mirrors and serrated wheel spoilers on the front and rear wheel arches. Whew. Extensive underbody panelling, additional panelling in the middle area of the rear axle and an aerodynamically optimised rear silencer and a diffuser improve the flow of air under the underbody.

Chassis & Powertrain

Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class
Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class

Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class

In addition to the usual McPherson front axle and an independent multilink rear suspension, the CLA also has flexible decoupling of the rear axle carrier which improves ride quality. Wheel carriers and spring links are made of aluminium to reduce unprusng mass. Standard is the comfort suspension and you also have optional sports suspension which lowers body by 20 mm up front and 15mm at the rear.

Powertrain options

Model   CLA 180 CLA 180 BE Edition *** CLA 200 CLA 250 CLA 220 CDI
  Petrol, direct injection Diesel, direct injection
Displacement cc 1595 1595 1595 1991 2143
Transmission 6-speed 6-speed 6-speed 7G-DCT 7G-DCT
Output kW (hp) 90 (122) 90 (122) 115 (156) 155 (211) 125 (170)
max. Torque Nm 200 200 250 350 350
Fuel consumption combined l/100 km 5.4 – 5.6 5.0 5.5 – 5.7 6.1 – 6.2 4.2 – 4.5
CO2-emissions* g/km 126 – 130 118 127 – 131 142 – 144 109 – 117
Acceleration 0-100 km/h s 9.3 9.9 8.6 6.7 8.2
max. Speed km/h 210 190**** 230 240 230
Price** Euro 28,977 28,977 31,862 38,675 37,991

* combined, ** sales price in Germany, incl. 19 percent VAT, *** BE = BlueEFFICIENCY,
**** electronically limited

In addition to the CLA 220 CDI mentioned in the table above, there’s also a C200 CDI which completes the diesel range in the CLA Class. The C200 CDI makes 136hp with maximum torque of 300 Nm. The CLA 220 CDI with its 2.2 litre engine makes around 170 hp and 350 Nm of torque, emitting only 109 g CO2 per kilometre.

Petrol engine options include the 1.6 and 2.0 litre engines. The CLA 180 makes 122hp, CLA 200 makes 156 hp and finally the CLA 250 makes 211 hp. Also available on the CLA is the 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive system featuring fully variable torque distribution.

All the engines feature the ECO start/stop function as standard. The engines are combined with a six-speed manual transmission or with the 7G-DCT dual clutch automatic transmission. Worthy of a mention is the fact that all these engines meet Euro 6 standards, which are yet to be introduced in 2014.

Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class

The new CLA is available for ordering with immediate effect and will be delivered to dealerships in April. The CLA C200 CDI variant is alone available only from the 3rd quarter of 2013.

Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class
Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class
Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class
Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class