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New Mercedes CLA: four-door revealed at CES

Published: 08 January 2019

► New CLA revealed at CES
► Shooting Brake revealed later in the year? 
► Looks like an A-Class saloon?

Mercedes is back with a third version of the A-class, as it looks to expand its line-up of cheaper compact cars. And rather than the upcoming Detroit motor show, it’s decided to show the new CLA at CES or the Consumer Electronics Show – an event usually associated with tech.

Take a look at the pictures here of the Orange Edition CLA,  and it’s clear this car shares DNA with the new A-class - both inside and out. It’s longer, more flowing but inherently the same car – and it features the same tech-rich interior as its smaller, compact sibling – which is probably why Mercedes is choosing to reveal it at CES.


MBUX learns

According to Mercedes, the MBUX in the CLA is actually more advanced than the system originally was, and has learned new functions. CAR understands that the new MBUX can understand considerably more complex commands than before, and also doesn’t get confused between occupants in the car. Instead, it just responds to whoever initially said ‘Hey Mercedes.’ We’re expecting these features to roll out to the existing A-class via an OTA update.


‘We are now igniting the next level with an intelligent interior assistance system for the compact class. By recognising gestures it facilitates natural operation,' says Ola Källenius, responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. 'This is not the only new feature by which the CLA offers a great deal of automotive intelligence'

Wait, isn’t this basically the A-Class saloon... again?

Yeah, about that... From the outside at least, the CLA features a very strong resemblance to the A-Class saloon. The styling is pretty much the same, both have four doors – but Mercedes believes there’s space in the market.


‘With the first CLA we celebrated a huge success by selling some 750,000 vehicles and created a totally new segment with a four-door coupé,’ said the brand’s Britta Seeger, responsible for Mercedes-Benz Cars Marketing & Sales. Well, if the numbers add up.

Engines?

The only only engine mentioned for now is the CLA250: a 221bhp, 258lb ft lump fitted to a  seven-speed dual-clutch auto ‘box. Expect more exotic and economic choices to flank that shortly.

What about pricing?

A current A200 sport hatch sets you back £26,165, while Mercedes will ask for £26,760 for a saloon version of the same spec. With those prices in mind, we expect the new CLA to start around the £28,000 mark – and the Shooting Brake to also sit south of £30,000. 

What about a Shooting Brake?

What wasn’t shown at CES was a Shooting Brake version of the new CLA, but our spyshots show Mercedes has one on the boil already. Perhaps there’s one more niche left to fill.


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By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's online editor and racing-sim enthusiast

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