I had the chance of test driving the striking red Mercedes CLA 250 over a long weekend thanks to the Mercedes-Benz Middle East team. From it’s attractive new coupè design to an incredible interior, it’s love at first sight with this new machine.
The CLA-Class is set to establish a new segment, with world-leading aerodynamics (Cd = 0.22), avant-garde coupé design and 4MATIC all‑wheel drive (optional). As a new four-door coupé it follows the idea of the CLS-Class, 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 newcomer features a radar-based braking system (Collision Prevention Assist) as standard which 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.
Following overwhelming response to the Concept Style Coupé and feedback to “please put this car into series production” the CLA-Class has now arrived, with its sporty design expected to attract a new target group of drivers and owners.
In keeping with its sporty positioning, the CLA-Class is available with high-torque turbo engines rated at up to 155 kW (211 hp), sports suspension and 4MATIC all-wheel drive. The technical highlights of this new design icon include a new world record in aerodynamics for series production automobiles (Cd value: 0.22) and numerous driving assistance systems, including advanced Collision Prevention Assist.
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 CLA-Class from a speed of only 7 km/h (previously: over 30 km/h).
Five lines and packages which vary greatly in character are available to individualise the striking compact mid-range coupé (length/width/height: 4630/1777/1437 millimetres). In keeping with the digital lifestyle of the CLA-Class’ social media-savvy target group, smartphones can additionally be fully integrated into the vehicle’s display and operating system.
The style rebel: exterior design
Its breathtakingly sporty proportions and powerfully dynamic design idiom featuring an interplay between concave and convex surfaces gives this four-door coupé its unmistakable look. The CLA-Class 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 CLA-Class represents a further development of the modern classic Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class. Three prominent lines give structure to the vehicle when viewed from the side: the front structural edge over the wing 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.
“Cool touch” effect: the interior
The exterior’s progressive, sporty appearance is continued inside the vehicle, deriving a 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 CLA-Class 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.
High tractive power reserves and outstanding agility: 4MATIC all-wheel drive
The CLA-Class is optionally available with a new generation of the 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive system featuring fully variable torque distribution. Similarly to the other 4MATIC versions, this completely new development boasts high tractive power reserves and outstanding agility combined with superlative driving safety and energy efficiency.