Official launch – Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class
Mercedes-Benz took another step ahead in the continental world of automobile with the launch of it’s new, sleek and eye-catching C117 CLA-Class. Amongst the very few to be categorized as a coupe even with 4 doors and a seating capacity of 5 (4 for maximum comfort), this new creation is indeed an eye-turner.
The idea of the CLA was mooted and previewed by the 2012 Concept Style Coupe, which was exhibited internationally as a sneak peek to this new product. Adapting it’s chassis from it’s younger W176 A-Class and the older W246 B-Class, the CLA is a marvel in both engineering and aerodynamic designing. The CLA also clinched the top spot as the most aerodynamic car ever produced, with it’s drag coefficient standing at 0.23, lower than the Tesla Model (0.24).
The one and only variant launched here, the CLA200 houses a 1,595 cc inline-4 turbo engine, which puts out about 156 horses and 250 Nm of torque. It is said that the more powerful CLA250 will eventually debut here next year, although there was no reason given as to why the long gap and delay. It is also unlikely that Mercedes will bring in the CLA180 variant, which essentially is the same engine but producing 30 less horses.
Unlike the rest of it’s siblings in the Merc range who are branded Avantgarde, Elegance, Urban, Sports or Luxury, the CLA only offers the URBAN line variant, except of course, if you opt for the AMG Kit.
The interior of the CLA offers what most other Merc would offer – standard center console design, with the A/B class attached 5.7″ LCD display screen and the sports air con vents.Coming with the three spoked multi-function steering wheel is also the inclusion of paddle shifters for those who want a more exhilarating ride, and the gear lever stick, shifted from your center console panel to save more space.
The standard URBAN Line CLA also features a 20-disc CD changer, inclusive of USB and Bluetooth features for added convenience. For tech peeps who wish for an enhanced sound experience, the 7-speaker Harmon Kardon Logic 7 surround sound system is available too, at a price of course.While GPS is not a standard option on the URBAN Line (unless you opt for the COMAND Online add-on), Mercedes could do an integrated GPS for you on your stock screen, provided they figure out the wiring on time before the delivery of your car. The screen also serves as a reverse camera display, which most drivers would find useful when navigating their vehicle into a lot.
That being said, the CLA also comes with Active Parking Assist, which basically allows you to park your car hands-free. Sensors around the 4.6m long car aids in controlling the steering wheel, leaving you to only work on the pedals while the car parks itself. This however, only works for parallel parking according to sources.
For those worried about leg room at the rear, you’d be pleased to know that there is decent space available, almost the equivalent of your Honda Civics and Hyundai Elantras. The ARTICO man-made leather seats are comfortable, although I’m not sure about the ride at the back. The only thing missing from the rear of this compact class coupe is perhaps the lack of air con vents at the center console – but I guess the three huge vents at the front would work just as well.
With a bold sports presence, the CLA stands out from the rest in it’s class. It features, as an optional package, a diamond-radiator grille, adding a touch of aggressiveness to the car.
The CLA also features it’s Collision Prevention Assist, which works by means of two small sensors at the front air vents, measuring the distance between your CLA and the vehicle in front. It will, according to sources, emit a small beep when you come too close to the vehicle in front at high speeds. Quite redundant if it’s going to beep just once, but nevertheless, a safety feature good to have.
Word also has it that the current batch of shipment does not feature Mercedes’ signature LED Daytime Running Lights, but the next shipment in a month’s time will include both the running lights and Bi-Xenon headlamps for added visibility on the road.The CLA runs on stock 225/40 R18 tyres, but if you opt for the AMG Line package, you’ll get the separate AMG 5-twin spoke alloy wheels (as pictured above). Not that it is necessary, for the standard 18″ already looks stunning on its own.
Additional options that comes with the AMG Line will include your standard bodykit, perforated front disc brakes, lowered suspension, and a two-pipe tail exhaust system with square tailpipe rims (with the AMG carvings).
The inline-4 turbocharged 1,595 cc engine puts out 156 horsepower, allowing the CLA to hit 100 from 0 in just 8.5 seconds. It features a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission for an improved fuel consumption, resulting in the car drinking only 5.5 litres every 100 kilometers (not too bad, considering my Elantra is clocking 7 now).
The verdict now is only based on the physical appearance of the car, but even with this, I would say I’m awed by this new coupe on the road. It’s convention-breaking design and distinctive identity captured my attention once I approached the launch area, and I must say this is finally one real beauty that stands out from the rest in the Mercedes family.
Test drives will be available from next week onwards pending approval from LTA, and we shall see how Merc’s little baby performs on the roads then.