Mercedes-Benz CLA scrubs up for facelift at New York motor show

Published: 15 March 2016

► CLA follows A-class facelift
► New bumpers, grille and more
► Applies to saloon and Shooting Brake

No prizes for guessing what this is: a year after the Mercedes A-class hatchback family had a middle-aged spruce-up, its cousin - the baby banana Benz CLA - has succumbed to a mid-life facelift. 

There's a new radiator grille, reprofiled bumpers incorporating the exhausts at the rear and some interior improvements (new dials, lashings of chrome) to give the game away, while underfoot lies a series of mechanical tweaks to keep the shrunken CLS swoopfest honest.

Changes to the CLA apply to the four-door coupe (sic) as well as the attitude-laden CLA Shooting Brake estate, pictured below.

The Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake (2016)

Key changes at a glance are undeniably subtle:

  • New look inside and out
  • Five new alloys, one new blue paintjob
  • Fresh interior upholstery and chrome detailing
  • New 8in multimedia display
  • Better smartphone compatability
  • LED headlamps now available (standard on CLA45)
  • Waggle-foot-to-open auto-tailgate operation

The best bit? There's now a coat hook as standard on the CLA beside the grab handle by each rear door. It's that kind of facelift...

Scrubbed-up cabin inside 2016 Mercedes CLA

A new economy champ and the more ballistic CLA45 AMG

The facelifted CLA range has a new efficiency hero model and, at the other extreme, an even faster AMG version.

The new CLA 180d BlueEfficiency Edition now develops 108bhp and brings with that lowly output an equally modest 89g/km CO2 rating, which will bring tax benefits to many users especially in Britain.

Mercedes-AMG CLA45 4matic 2016 facelift

But for those who want some brawn with their bijou Merc, the Mercedes-AMG CLA45 4Matic Coupe and Shooting Brake have had an ECU reflash and further engine upgrades to liberate a stout 376bhp and 350lb ft. Wheels are of 18in and 19in in diameter, with the option to have high-gloss inserts for that low-rider look.

Note the newly reprofiled front splitter and pretty serious-looking aero 'flicks' in black gloss, directing air around the front wheels. Subtle, it ain't. But then not many small cars can sprint from 0-62mph in just 4.2 seconds...

When can I buy the new facelifted 2016 Merc CLA?

See the revised Mercedes-Benz CLA range at the 2016 New York motor show. UK order books open in April and first deliveries are due to land in British dealerships in July 2016.

The CLA remains a distinctive, quirky small car - and maybe one of the reasons why Daimler has seen the average age of A-class family buyer dip by 13 years in Europe, compared with the previous generation of compact small cars. That's no mean feat.

Read more of CAR’s 2016 New York motor show coverage here

Click here for CAR’s A-Z guide to the 2016 New York motor show

The original baby banana Benz: the CLA

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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