Facelifted 2023 Mercedes CLA launched with longer PHEV range | CAR Magazine

Facelifted 2023 Mercedes CLA launched with longer PHEV range

Published: 19 January 2023 Updated: 19 January 2023

Mercedes niche-breaker gets updated
► PHEVs can now go up to 51 miles in EV mode
► Mild hybrid assistance for petrol engines

Mercedes has revised the CLA Coupe and CLA Shooting Brake. The facelifted models feature some subtle design tweaks, upgraded infotainment systems and a range of electrification enhancements that are designed to make their petrol engines more efficient.

We’ll start with the styling changes because they’re easy to see and explain. Up front, the revised Mercedes CLA has a reshaped bumper, a fresh radiator grille and updated graphics for its LED headlights – which, as a bonus, are now fitted as standard across the line-up.

Mercedes CLA 2023 facelift: model range, red estate, white coupe, studio background

Mercedes has also fitted a new diffuser at the rear of the CLA and added a couple more paint finishes (called Hyper Blue and Spectral Blue) to its colour palette. The styling changes are rounded off by a trio of extra alloy wheel designs in sizes up to 19 inches.

What’s changed in the Mercedes CLA’s interior?

Not a lot on the face of it. The infotainment system uses the same hardware as before. The base-model features an identical a 7.0-inch gauge cluster and a 10.25-inch infotainment system, while more expensive variants get dual 10.25-inch screens.

However, Mercedes has upgraded the system’s software and tweaked its menu design. There’s also a reworked telematics system and added support for wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Drivers can also now choose between three new displays for the CLA’s digital gauge cluster, called ‘Classic,’ ‘Sporty,’ and ‘Discreet.’

Mercedes CLA 2023 facelift: coupe interior, black upholstery, studio background

The first screen looks and acts much like a traditional two-gauge binnacle; the second glows red and features a large rev-counter in its centre, while the third only displays essential information such as speed.

There are a few more interior customisation options, too. AMG Line models can now be optionally equipped with brown or red pepper and black. The dashboard trim can also be specified in dark carbon, open-pore brown lime wood or, on AMG Line models, brown microfibre upholstery.

Any other technology improvements?

Funny you should ask. There are. In Germany, the CLA is available with a new ‘Tourguide’ function which recognises when the car rolls past one of those brown tourist attraction signs and reads out some facts about the local area. Mercedes hasn’t confirmed whether we’ll get the system in the UK.

Mercedes has tickled the CLA’s safety technology, too. The lane-keeping assist system in the firm’s optional Driver Assistance Package now features active steering control, while the Parking Package now comes with a 360-degree camera and a self-parking function.

Mercedes CLA 2023 facelift: coupe front three quarter, blue car, studio background

The CLA’s optional Burmester sound system has also been upgraded with Dolby Atmos, which Mercedes says gives the driver’s music more depth and clarity. Last, but certainly not least, all the USB ports in the cabin are now backlit. Which is nice, I guess.

Any upgrades in the engine room?

There’s plenty to discuss here. Mercedes has combed through the CLA’s entire petrol line-up, adding mild hybrid assistance to every option. The system comprises a 48-volt starter-generator and a small battery, which can give the engine a 13bhp boost under heavy acceleration or allow the car to coast with the engine off. The MHEV system also brings some marginal gains in fuel economy.

The range kicks off with the 1.3-litre CLA 180, which produces 134bhp and 170lb/ft of torque. Mercedes says the improved engine can return up to 47.8mpg in the Coupe model. There’s a slightly more powerful version of the same engine in the CLA 200, which has 161bhp, 199lb/ft of torque and identical fuel economy figures.

Mercedes CLA 2023 facelift: coupe rear three quarter, blue car, studio background

Stepping up again, there’s the four-wheel drive CLA 220 4MATIC. This variant features a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with 188bhp and 221lb/ft of torque. The extra displacement and four-wheel drive system cuts the car’s best-case fuel economy figure down to 40.9mpg, but the added grunt means performance is dramatically improved. The 0–62mph sprint takes 7.3 seconds, which is 1.1 seconds quicker than the CLA 200.

At the top of the petrol line-up, there’s the CLA 250 4MATIC. It shares the same 2.0-litre engine and four-wheel drive system as the 220, but it produces 221bhp and 258lb/ft of torque. That slashes the CLA’s 0–62mph time down to 6.4 seconds and increases its top speed to 155mph.

Mercedes has also revised the fastest AMG 35 and AMG 45 S models as part of this facelift. We were going to shoehorn them onto this page, but it would have been longer than War and Peace – so follow the link above if you’re interested.

What about the PHEV model?

The plug-in hybrid CLA 250 e has also been treated to some upgrades. Mercedes has increased the power of its electric motor by 5kW, bumping its maximum output up to 80kW (or 107bhp). Charge speeds are up, too – now, the PHEV’s battery can accept up to 11kW AC feeds. You can also top-up the battery with a 22kW DC connection, which will charge the cells from 10–80% in 25 minutes.

We’ll throw some figures are you. Let us know if they stick. The system has a combined output of 215bhp and 332lb/ft of torque, which Mercedes says is enough for a 0–62mph time of 7.6 seconds and a top speed of 142mph in the Coupe model. The Shooting Brake is fractionally slower.

Mercedes CLA 2023 facelift: Shooting Brake side, white car, studio background, plugged in charging

Mercedes says the CLA 250 e will return between 256.8 and 353.1mpg, with CO2 emissions sitting as low as 18g/km. However, to achieve those kinds of figures, we expect you’ll need to make the most of the car’s electric range, which Mercedes says stands between 44 and 51 miles.

Can you still buy a Mercedes CLA diesel?

For the time being, yes. The range is built around a 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit which is available in three states of tune. The entry-level 180 d produces 114bhp and 206lb/ft of torque, the middling 200 d has 148bhp and 236lb/ft, while the flagship 220 d generates 188bhp and 295lb/ft.

Claimed fuel economy is consistent across the range. Mercedes says every diesel-powered CLA Coupe will manage upwards of 50mpg on the WLTP combined cycle, but the middling 200 d is king of the hill with a best-case figure of 57.6mpg. Shooting Brake models are marginally less efficient due to the added weight. The best they can manage is 56.4mpg.

Any word on prices yet?

Nope. Mercedes reckons it’ll be another three months before UK cars start touching down in Dover, so the firm is remaining tight-lipped for the time being. We’ll update you as soon as the information is available.

Mercedes CLA 2023 facelift: Shooting Brake rear three quarter, white car, studio background

By Luke Wilkinson

Deputy Editor of Parkers. Unhealthy obsession with classic Minis and old Alfas. Impenetrable Cumbrian accent