Sleek as they come: The Style Rebel
The Mercedes Benz CLA has established a new segment as a new four-door coupé that follows the idea of the CLS, whose design concept has spawned more than its fair share of imitators since its debut in 2003. With its frameless doors, the coupé adopts the design of the Concept Style Coupé into series production.
“The Mercedes Benz CLA is a car that has standard features usually found in the luxury premium segment and affirms that for Mercedes-Benz, safety is not a question of price,” says Florian Seidler, Vice President, Sales & Marketing for Passenger Cars, Mercedes-Benz South Africa.
“With world-leading aerodynamics (Cd = 0.22), avant-garde coupé design, its design underscores the sporty side of the Mercedes-Benz brand,” adds Seidler.
In keeping with its sporty positioning, the Mercedes Benz CLA is available with high-torque turbo engines rated at up to 125 kW and sports suspension for the Urban and AMG Sport Line. The technical highlights of this new design icon include a new world record in aerodynamics for series production automobiles (Cd value: 0.22). Numerous driving assistance systems, including advanced COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST are standard. This system is able to warn the driver of an obstacle from a speed of 7 km/h and to initiate precision braking when the driver steps on the brake pedal.
This radar-based assistance system provides the possibly distracted driver with visual and acoustic warnings of identified obstacles and prepares Brake Assist for precision braking. Braking is initiated as soon as the driver steps emphatically on the brake pedal. When an impending danger of collision is identified, COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST calculates the precise braking force ideally needed to avoid an accident and makes the best possible use of any distance remaining. As a new feature, COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST affords protection from typical rear-end collisions in dangerous traffic situations in the Mercedes Benz CLA from a speed of only 7 km/h (previously: over 30 km/h).
The style rebel: exterior design
Its breathtakingly sporty proportions and powerfully dynamic design idiom featuring an interplay between concave and convex surfaces give this four-door coupé its unmistakable look. The Mercedes Benz CLA adopts the avant-garde design of the Concept Style Coupé into series production almost 1:1.
The vehicle’s striking features include the bonnet embedded in the front end with powerdomes and the diamond radiator grille. The light modules and LEDs behind the headlamp cover glass have been arranged in such a way as to create the characteristic “flare effect” for the daytime driving lights and indicators. This light signet defines the car’s energetic appearance and shapes a new, youthful Mercedes face.
Numerous details indicate that on a design level the Mercedes Benz CLA represents a further development of the modern Mercedes Benz CLAssic Mercedes-Benz CLS. Three prominent lines give structure to the vehicle when viewed from the side: the front structural edge over the wings flows towards the rear end in a characteristic dropping line. Another, more sinewy line spans the shoulder muscle above the rear axle, while the third feature line extends in a sweeping curve from the front wheel towards the rear. Together, these lines lend depth and dynamism to the side profile.
The width-emphasizing rear end exudes power and athleticism, featuring an inter-play between convex and concave surfaces and edges. The gently sloping roof contour and the pronounced, hallmark curvature of the rear window provides the Mercedes Benz CLA with a coupé-style character from the rear, too. The athletic impression from the rear results from the drawn-in C-pillars in conjunction with the shoulder muscle over the rear wheel arch linings. The tail lights are framed by the muscular lines of the shoulders which extend into the rear end, the horizontal orientation of the lights emphasizing the rear’s powerful and aesthetic breadth. The light functions feature an arrow-style arrangement.
“Cool touch” effect: the interior
The exterior’s progressive, sporty appearance is continued inside the vehicle. The interior additionally derives a very special quality feel from the design idiom, the selection of high-quality materials and the available combinations of materials. All trim surfaces are galvanised, resulting in a metallic finish.
The instrument panel incorporates five round vents. The outer rings of the round vents have a high-quality electroplated finish. The airflow direction is governed by a galvanised insert that reveals a meticulous attention to detail. The free-standing display screen features a black piano-lacquer-look front panel and a flush-fitting silver frame.
The Mercedes Benz CLA is fitted with integral seats in the front and rear, underscoring its sporty character. The rear bench seat emphasizes the outer seats (2+1-seater). Coloured contrasting stitching is available, according to the selected interior appointment options. A fibre-optic cable in the opening between head restraint and backrest is optionally available as part of the ambient lighting.
Sleek as they come: new record Cd value
With a Cd value of 0.23, the Mercedes Benz CLA sets a new benchmark – both within the Mercedes-Benz model range and among all production vehicles. The drag area, Cd x A -which is crucial to aerodynamic resistance – also leads the field, at 0.51 m². This already record figure is undercut still further by the Mercedes Benz CLA 180 BlueEFFICIENCY ‘Edition’ (not available for SA). In this case the Cd figure is 0.22, while in terms of wind resistance the four-door coupé manages to breach another magic barrier: the figure here is just 0.49 m².
The good air flow characteristics, which are a major contributory factor to the vehicle’s low fuel consumption in everyday conditions, result from numerous aerodynamic optimisation measures. These include a low A-pillar shoulder with adapted A-pillar geometry, aerodynamically optimised exterior mirrors, wheel trims designed for low aerodynamic drag and serrated wheel spoilers on the front and rear wheel arches.
Extensive underbody panelling, additional panelling in the middle area of the rear axle and an aerodynamically optimised rear silencer followed by a diffusor improve the flow of air under the underbody.
Smart safety: advanced assistance systems
Numerous driving assistance systems offer support in the Mercedes Benz CLA and reduce the driver’s workload. Standard-fit features for the coupé include ATTENTION ASSIST drowsiness detection and radar-based COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST with adaptive Brake Assist, which now helps to protect the Mercedes Benz CLA from collisions from a speed of only 7 km/h (previously: over 30 km/h).
This feature combines with DISTRONIC PLUS to become COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS, incorporating an additional function: when a danger of collision persists and the driver fails to respond, the system is able to carry out autonomous braking at speeds of up to 200 km/h, thereby reducing the severity of collisions with slow or stationary vehicles. The system also brakes in response to stationary vehicles at a speed of up to 30 km/hand is able to prevent rear-end collisions at speeds of up to 20 km/h.
Established assistance systems, such as the Lane Tracking package with Blind Spot and Lane Keeping Assist or Adaptive Highbeam Assist, are also available for the Mercedes Benz CLA. Active Parking Assist (option) enables automatic parking in lengthways and crossways parking spaces.
Designed for dynamism: the chassis and suspension
The chassis of the Mercedes Benz CLA features a McPherson front axle and an independent multilink rear suspension, featuring three control arms and one trailing arm per wheel. This means that longitudinal and lateral dynamics are virtually independent of one another. A Mercedes Benz CLA-specific feature is the flexible decoupling of the rear axle carrier, which benefits ride comfort. Wheel carriers and spring links consist of aluminium, in order to reduce the unsprung masses. Two chassis and suspension set-ups are available: the comfort suspension and the optional sports suspension for sporty yet comfortable handling. The latter entails lowering of the body by 20 mm (front) and 15 mm (rear).
Irrespective of the selected chassis, all Mercedes Benz CLA variants come with the Direct Steer system. This electromechanical power steering offers improved feedback to the driver in comparison to conventional systems regarding the prevailing driving conditions and makes an important contribution towards overall efficiency, as the steering assist function only requires energy when steering is actually carried out. It additionally enables various steering assistance functions which are activated by the ESP® control unit. These include countersteering in case of oversteering, corrective steering when braking on road surfaces offering different levels of grip (split-friction braking), mitigation of the extent to which the front-wheel drive influences the steering and compensation of crosswind and road gradients.
All set for the future: powerful and efficient drive
A year ahead of the scheduled introduction of the Euro 6 in 2014, all petrol-engine variants and the top diesel variant of the new Mercedes-Benz Mercedes Benz CLA already meet the future requirements of this European emissions standard.
The petrol engines with a displacement of 1.6 and 2.0 litres cover an output spectrum ranging from 90 kW in the Mercedes Benz CLA 180 through to 115 kW in the Mercedes Benz CLA 200. The 2.2-litre diesel engine combines dynamic low-end torque with the utmost efficiency: the Mercedes Benz CLA 220 CDI generates 125 kW, with maximum torque of 350 Nm, emitting only 109 g CO2 per kilometre.
All the engines feature the ECO start/stop function as standard. The Mercedes Benz CLA 180 and Mercedes Benz CLA 20 engines are combined with a six-speed manual transmission or optional with the 7G-DCT dual clutch automatic transmission. The Mercedes Benz CLA 220 CDI comes standard with the 7G-DCT automatic transmission, which reconciles comfort and sportiness in inimitable fashion.