The CLA-Class is a subcompact executive car produced by Mercedes-Benz since 2013. Based on the A and B-Class, it was designed as a four-door fastback and marketed as a four-door coupé. The range was later expanded to include a station wagon variant (Shooting Brake). The CLA is the first front-wheel car offered in the United States by Mercedes-Benz. It is positioned to bridge the gap between the A-class and C-Class as a sporty alternative.
The First Generation (2013-2019)
Codenamed C117, the first generation CLA-Class was revealed at the North American International Auto Show in 2013. During its release, it was the most affordable Mercedes-Benz car offered in the United States. It comes in a front-engined, front-wheel drive, or all-wheel-drive layout. The estate version was labelled Shooting Brake, a term first used for horse carriages and cars in the olden times that served to transport shooting parties. The name later evolved to represent a coupé-estate hybrid, with little to no relation to the original purpose.
Trim levels are limited to AMG variants, while the standard equipment includes:
3x3-point rear seatbelts, ABS, alloy wheels, body-coloured bumpers, CD, cruise control, driver/passenger/side airbags, electric mirrors, folding rear seats, heated mirrors, height-adjustable drivers seat, Isofix child seat anchor points, parking sensors, partial leather seat trim, PAS, rear electric windows, remote locking, service indicator, sports seats, steering wheel rake adjustment, steering wheel reach adjustment, traction control
Optional equipment features in AMG packages are audio remote, electric driver's seat, electric passenger's seat, electric sunroof, headlight washers, heated seats, lumbar support, metallic paint, and Sat Nav.
On the Euro NCAP crash test, the CLA-CLASS scored an overall safety of five stars, as well as individually for occupant, pedestrian and assistance systems. It comes standard with collision prevention assist, attention assist, adaptive braking technology, daytime running lamps, and rain-sensing windshield wipers. The 2015 update added more safety features, such as Collision Prevention Assist Plus, which helps to reduce the risk of rear-end collisions, as well as upgrades to the attention assist and traffic sign assist (with speed limit assist) systems.
Powertrain options come exclusively in inline-four layout, 1.6L and 2.0L petrol engines, and 1.5L, 1.8L, and 2.2L diesel engines. Petrol engines consume from 5.0L up to 6.8L per 100km of combined drive, while the diesels barely use up 4.0L. The following powertrain options were available in Australia:
- CLA200 1.6L I4, turbocharged petrol engine producing 115kW (154hp) at 5000rpm and 250Nm of torque at 1250-4000rpm, 0-100km/h acceleration in 8.6 seconds for the coupé and 8.8 seconds for the Shooting Brake, a top speed of 230km/h for the coupé, and 225km/h for the Shooting Brake, 7-speed automatic transmission
- CLA45 AMG 4MATIC 2.0L I4, twin-scroll turbo petrol engine producing 265kW (355hp) at 6000rpm and 450Nm of torque at 2250-5000rpm, 0-100km/h acceleration in 4.5 seconds for the coupé and 4.8 seconds for the Shooting Brake, a top speed of 250km/h for the coupé, and 270km/h for the Shooting Brake, 7-speed automatic transmission
- CLA45 AMG 4MATIC 2.0L I4, twin-scroll turbo petrol engine producing 280kW (375hp) at 6000rpm and 475Nm of torque at 2250-5000rpm, 0-100km/h acceleration in 4.2 seconds for the coupé and 4.3 seconds for the Shooting Brake, a top speed of 250km/h for the coupé, and 270km/h for the Shooting Brake, 7-speed automatic transmission
- CLA200 CDI 1.8L I4, turbocharged diesel engine producing 100kW (134hp) at 4000rpm and 300Nm of torque at 1750-2500, 0-100km/h acceleration in 9.4 seconds and a top speed of 220km/h (coupé only), 7-speed automatic transmission
- CLA200 CDI 2.1L I4, turbocharged diesel engine producing 100kW (134hp) at 3600-4000rpm and 300Nm of torque at 1600-3000rpm, 0-100km/h acceleration in 9.9 seconds for the Coupé and 9.5 seconds for the Shooting Brake, a top speed of 220km/h for the coupé, and 215km/h for the Shooting Brake, 7-speed automatic transmission.
- CLA200 CDI 4MATIC 2.1L I4, turbocharged diesel engine producing 115kW (154hp) at 3200-4000rpm and 300Nm of torque at 1400-3000rpm, 0-100km/h acceleration in 9.8 seconds for both variants, and a top speed of 216km/h for the coupé, and 212km/h for the Shooting Brake, 7-speed automatic transmission
The Second Generation (2019-present)
Mercedes-Benz presented the current generation, codenamed C118, at the Consumer Electronics Show in January of 2019. It shares its platform with the W177 A-Class and keeps the fastback styling to differentiate from the A-Class Sedan. The new design and its almost flat underbody result in a drag coefficient measured as low as Cd = 0.23.
All models now have modernised interior, featuring the Mercedes-Benz User Experience infotainment system, as well as 'Hey Mercedes' voice-controlled assistant, and Interior Assist gesture control system. It comes with two 7-inch displays as standard, which is upgradable to 10.25-inch screens. Other options include adaptive cruise control, adaptive steering assist, active brake assist, and a full-colour head-up display.
The Shooting Brake sedan is also available, featuring 505 litres of boot space, 45 litres more than the standard CLA; however, it will not be on offer in Australia and the USA.
Modified powertrain options now include 1.3L and 2.0L petrol engines, and 1.5L and 2.0L diesel engines. The power of petrol engines ranges from 100kW to 165kW for standard, and from 225kW to 310kW for the AMG models. The 1.5L diesel engine has 85kW of power, while the two 2.0L variants have 110kW and 140kW.
Per 100km of combined drive, the 1.3L petrol engines consume 5.3-5.6L, while the 2.0L consumes roughly 6L per official specification. The diesel variants consume roughly 4L per 100km in comparison.
Transmission options for petrol engines are a 6-speed manual and 7-speed 7G-Tronic automatic transmission for the standard models, and AMG Speedshift DCT 7G/8G, 7- or 8-speed automatic transmission for the AMG models.
Diesel engines come paired with a 6-speed manual, 7-speed 7G-Tronic and 8-speed 8G-Tronic transmission.
Author: Luka Kusic