Mercedes CLA New model to pack 400bhp punch. Mercedes-Benz reveals plan for a new CLA and Shooting Brake. Merc’s new baby C-Class 9 new cars Radical CLA leads Merc’s biggest year… And yes, AMG’s plotting a 404bhp fire-breather.
Sleek new CLA to pack over 400bhp. New CLA and CLA Shooting Brake will get 400bhp-plus flagships and help swell Mercedes’ compact car line-up to eight models.
“Joining the CLA, CLA Shooting Brake and GLB will be the revised GLC and GLC Coupé, plus new GLS”
Mercedes-Benz has confirmed for the first time that it will launch successors to the CLA and CLA Shooting Brake, as well as an eighth compact model, the GLB SUV, in 2019. The new models were detailed within an official so-called product roadmap graphic . The graphic appeared in a presentation announcing the marque’s 2018 sales to the end of September and it pinpoints six to-be-revealed Mercedes passenger car models.
Joining the CLA, CLA Shooting Brake and the GLB will be facelifted versions of the GLC and GLC Coupé as well as the third-generation GLS, itself due to appear at this month’s Los Angeles motor show. The exact timing of the CLA and CLA Shooting Brake unveiling is yet to be revealed.
However, Autocar understands the CLA is likely to make an appearance at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January and the CLA Shooting Brake is expected to take pride of place on Mercedes’ stand at the Geneva motor show in March. Details of the four-door CLA, which is planned to be produced at Mercedes’ factory in Hungary, remain scarce. But prototype test cars reveal that it has a distinctly more sporting appearance than the recently unveiled A-Class Saloon. The pair will sit below the C-Class in Mercedes’ growing saloon range.
The CLA will feature a more tapered look to its front end, a more heavily angled windscreen, greater curvature to its roofline, a shallower glasshouse with frameless door windows and a more shapely rear end.
The new look is a further evolution of Mercedes’ so-called ‘sensual purity’ design lineage, with smoother and fuller forms set to replace the taut surfacing treatment and heavily etched swage lines of the first-generation CLA. The design-led focus is what will distinguish the CLA from the A-Class saloon, similar to how the larger CLS sits alongside the E-Class.
At this stage, it is not known if the new model will manage to match the outstanding aerodynamic efficiency of the first-generation CLA, which remains the most aerodynamically efficient car to have been placed into larger-scale production, with a drag co-efficient of just 0.22 in CLA180 BlueEfficiency guise. If the test prototypes are any guide, the 2019-model-year CLA will be quite a bit larger than its predecessor, with a longer wheelbase that’s set to provide more length to the rear door apertures to ease entry to the rear along with improved rear leg room.
The interior will share a great deal with the latest A-Class. It will have a near-identical dashboard design and Mercedes’ latest MBUX interface, with two screens mounted on the dashboard top to display driving information, media and navigation functions. Recently seen prototypes also point the way to the look of the second-generation CLA Shooting Brake. Like its predecessor, it is expected to receive a heavily stylised appearance, with a sloping roofline and heavily angled tailgate set to prioritise styling ahead of ultimate load-carrying capacity.
The new CLA and CLA Shooting Brake will be the fifth and sixth models to use Mercedes’ MFA2 platform, following on from the five-door A-Class, A-Class Saloon, long-wheelbase A-Class Saloon and recently unveiled B-Class. The MFA2 platform supports front- and four-wheel drive and can accommodate either a torsion beam or multi-link rear suspension.
The CLA and CLA Shooting Brake form part of a future eight-model compact car line-up that will also include Mercedes’ new rival to the BMW X1 and Audi Q3, the GLB SUV, which, the roadmap hints, will be unveiled during the second half of 2019, as well as a successor to the GLA, set to be launched in 2020.
Power for the new CLA pair will come from a range of four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, including a powered-up version of Mercedes’ latest M260 petrol unit in new four-wheel- drive CLA35 4Matic and CLA35 4Matic Shooting Brake models from AMG.
A more highly tuned version of the M260 engine with 404bhp will be used for range-topping CLA45 and CLA45 Shooting Brake models, according to Mercedes-AMG officials. Those variants will, like the upcoming A45, use an eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox and a newly developed all-wheel drive system that features an electronically controlled ‘drift mode’. Other new Mercedes models confirmed for sale in 2019 include the fourth-generation GLE, the third-generation B-Class and the first model from Mercedes’ EQ electric car division, the EQC – all of which have already been revealed.
WHY MERC SEES A MARKET FOR EIGHT SALOON MODELS
Mercedes’ proliferation of its model range shows us two things: there is seemingly no niche not worth tapping into these days; and the saloon car is far from dead.
Despite the growing popularity of SUVs, Mercedes still sees enough demand to offer no fewer than eight three-box models in its future range. China is a big factor in this. The world’s largest market has favoured saloons for years, with SUVs only recently gaining popularity. It’s why the A-Class Saloon, in particular the long-wheelbase version, has been added to Mercedes’ compact car line-up.
In Europe, car makers are rebranding the saloon rather than let it fall out of fashion. Mercedes effectively started the ‘four-door coupé’ trend with the first CLS, and the CLA is a byproduct of that. Although it may seem confusing that the CLA and A-Class Saloon target a similar segment, the same applies to BMW’s 3 Series Saloon and 4 Series Gran Coupé. The 4 Series range outsold the 3 Series towards the end of the outgoing car’s life, which shows why brands are going down this road.