The Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class has been officially launched today at the 2013 Detroit auto show in the motor city.

A compact four-door coupe, the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class follows the idea of the larger and significantly more expensive CLS sedan but is set to appeal to an entirely new buyer group, one that may not have previously considered owning a Mercedes-Benz.

The Mercedes-Benz CLA will sit above the A- and B-Class and have a starting price around the $50,000 mark. Although launching in other markets in the coming months, Australia is not expecting to see the CLA in showrooms until the fourth quarter of this year, with the hotted-up all-wheel-drive CLA45 AMG looking more likely for early 2014.

The front-wheel-drive CLA range will consist of similar engine choices to the soon to launch A-Class, with which it shares its platform, but while petrol and diesel offerings will be included, the CLA will not be offered with a 180 base model.

All CLA variants will be coupled to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission with no option for a manual. Mercedes-Benz Australia’s corporate communications manager, David McCarthy, admitted the company could’ve asked for manual transmission variants but previous experience (including very limited demand for manual SLK variants) had showed that manual transmissions are not the right fit for Mercedes-Benz products in Australia.

The Mercedes-Benz CLA, which actually measures slightly longer than a current generation C-Class, is expected to take some sales away from the company’s best selling model, but not enough to be of concern. The German manufacturer primarily expects its buyers to come from other brands and be first-time Mercedes-Benz customers.

The company sees no natural competitor for the CLA in Australia, with the only vehicle likely to compete on price being the Volkswagen CC. However, McCarthy dismissed the CC as a CLA competitor, noting that there’s a “difference between a strong brand (Volkswagen) and a prestige brand (Mercedes-Benz). People that want a prestige brand, buy our car”.

With the CLA part of the new family of cars designed by Mercedes-Benz head of design, Gordon Wagener, Dr Dieter Zetsche, the global chairman of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz cars, told the automotive media that he is “confident that this look will especially appeal to the Generation Y buyers”.

Interestingly, despite its size, the Mercedes-Benz CLA boasts the best aerodynamic design of any mass-produced car in the world, with a drag coefficient of just 0.22cd – more aerodynamic than the Toyota Prius.

Given the CLA is expected to have big demand from the North American market, stock levels may not satisfy demand, with Mercedes-Benz Australia expecting to sell around 200-250 standard CLA units per month and around 500 a year of the CLA45 AMG.

On the specification side of things, the CLA range will be positioned higher the A-Class and differ from the B-Class focussing more on convenience than sports when it comes to features. Final specification levels are still unconfirmed for the Australian market but we suspect the CLA will gain all the technological features of the A-Class, including native integration with the iPhone’s Siri system.

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  • theillestlife

    Put $1000 deposit down for the CLA45 AMG just a few hours ago, can’t wait!

    will be trading in my 12′ C200 for it :)

    • JD

       Put $1000 deposit down for the C200 just a few hours ago, can’t wait!

      will be trading in my 99′ Excel for it :

      • Cazzo

        Early buyers pay the most and always get burnt with *issues*

        Suppose u needed to learn that, you have now!

        • Abdullah the Greek

          just put $1,000 deposit down on C180 replacing my 09 Murcielago. CAN’T WAIT!!!!

      • Jay

         Put $1000 deposit down for the 99′ Excel just a few hours ago, can’t wait!deposit pays for everything :)

    • Sam

      Are you one of those types that buys a new Mercedes or BMW every year that think that any car older than that is outdated even though you waste a ridiculous amount of money?

      • theillestlife

        No, it’s only because I will be off my P plates by then and I can finally have an AMG. I won’t be getting a new one every year – that would be wasteful…

        • Sam

          You must be doing well for yourself

    • Zaccy16

      lucky!!!! do you know how much yet?

      • theillestlife

        At least someone here is nice…

        No price confirmed but the dealer said between 80-100,000. Its not too bad considering how much cheaper it is than a C63, and only slightly morw than a midrange C class

        • Zaccy16

          Pretty good price for a AMG! Ill give you my Mazda 6 and I can have the cla!

          • theillestlife

             yeah not bad as a FPV/HSV cost similar too! although i bet we are paying a premium compared to euro/us markets :(

        • Mans F Alsaud

          i’d say throw another 30k and get the c63 black series cuz its unique and always out of stuck, at least its limited to benz

          i’m buying the c63 black series track package this month

    • Joker

      Sorry- that back end is a no go for me… look at the front then look at the back. You sure it’s the same car? 😉 

    • DAVIDZ

      Put $1000 deposit down for the CLA45 AMG just a few hours ago, can’t wait!

      will be trading in my 12′ Malvern Star for it :)

  • Rr

    That drag rating is crazy low!

    • Cazzo

      Agree with that, amazing figure

      Race is on to be the first under .20cd

      Of course u will hear more of the engine and road noise now…

      • Fgh

         It is amazing considering the big upright nose with the huge grill.

        GM’s EV already beat the 0.2cd figure some time ago though some might argue it wasn’t really a production car & electric cars have a huge advantage with no air intakes for the engine or cooling system.

        • Asdf

           Actually just did a little digging on this CLA. It appears the 0.22 drag figure is only for the CLA180 “blue efficiency” version which probably has a smaller grill/blocked off inserts, those lower air intakes also blocked off and special wheels & maybe a few other changes. I doubt the bigger engine models & the models with those fancy alloy wheels will share the 0.22 figure.

          A 6 speed manual will be standard overseas, be interesting to see if that’s the case here with a $50K price tag. Of course even if it is, Australian’s will all go for the optional auto.

  • Abcdefg

    MB is spamming the market with weird grossly overpriced cars.

  • Suqsid

    Am I the only one who actually prefers the look of the standard front/rear bumper and alloy wheel combination over the AMG Sport Package? With the “sportier” add-on’s it just looks tacky and riced-up..

  • klowik

    that’s gonna hurt sales in the C-class.. for most of  Merc buyers,… who cares about rear wheel drive!!

  • Tom

    I cannot keep up with the models that BMW and Mercedes release seemingly every day. 

  • Fdsf

    When I lust after a “coupe”, it has a nice sleek body line. This has a front end similar to a Mack Truck thanks to that gigantic front gill that sits perfectly vertical instead of being swept back.

  • Zaccy16

    looks very good to me, clean lines but i still would probably by a c class for the rear wheel drive

    • John

      Yeah, this is pretty and it just makes me eager to see the next C-Class.

  • Blair Waldorf

    The Silver AMG body-kitted one looks hideous, but the red one with the standard bumpers looks much nicer! I actually wouldnt mind one in a manual…

    If the new A-Class’ prices are anything to go by, it should be well priced as well..

  • Al Tungupon

    Not having read the details of the CLA concept before, it never occurred to me that it is based on the A-Class after all. I always thought that it would be a sleeker C-Class, much like the CLS being a swooping E-Class. My bad

  • nick

    this car looks ugly, just like the first generation CLS. don’t know the point of this model, it doesn’t look good, it’s not practical either, small luggage aera and back seat headroom is a problem. it will be good if they made it a sports hatch/station wagon with rear wheel or all wheel drive. if I were in the market for an entry level MB, I’d rather go for the new A class 

  • John

    Please bring your hands together for the Mercedes CLA p.

  • Steve Taylor

    Jolly Nice Car BUT in the States the start price is $29,999, being $20 grand cheaper that Australia!

    The sooner we end local manufacture of Ford, Holden and Toyota the sooner we will be buying decent cars at a competitive price i.e. $30 grand and less for German Cars

    • Lightw

       Agreed.. but red neck aussies still insist Ford? Holdens are better than Euro cars.
      They just need to be “told” what to do and not given a choice.

  • Mike Eurotechco

    Pretty good price for a AMG!