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by Daniel DeGasperi

The Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class has launched in Australia as a two-model range, but the entry-level petrol CLA200 and high-performance CLA45 AMG will be joined in February by the diesel CLA200 CDI and in April by the mid-level petrol CLA250 Sport.

Mercedes-Benz had previously announced a three-model line-up for the CLA-Class, but it has now confirmed the CLA200 CDI will add a fourth model to the range.

The CLA200 CDI will be priced from $50,400 – just $500 more than the base petrol model that wears the same numerals.

That price is, however, a full $9500 more than A-Class that utilises the same 1.8-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine and seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. Mercedes-Benz does, however, list more equipment in the CLA200 CDI than the A200 CDI on which it’s based.

CLA200_3_4r2

Producing 100kW of power at 3600rpm and 300Nm of torque at 1600rpm, the CLA200 CDI claims a 9.3-second 0-100km/h. Compared with the A200 CDI, the CLA200 CDI, thanks to superior aerodynamic credentials – 0.23 Cd v 0.27 Cd – is expected to undercut its hatchback sibling’s 4.6L/100km claimed consumption by 0.2L/100km, despite the sedan being heavier.

Across-the-range equipment includes nine airbags, pre-safe auto-braking, active bonnet, auto parking with front and rear sensors and reversing camera, and dual-zone climate control.

Standard on both CLA200 petrol and CDI models, in addition to the A200 models, are 18-inch alloy wheels, bucket sports seats with man-made leather trim, bi-xenon headlights, blind-spot assistance and Becker satellite navigation.

The $63,400 CLA250 Sport, meanwhile, adds 18-inch AMG alloy wheels, AMG body styling kit with lowered sports suspension and ESC Sport mode, full leather trim, electrically-adjustable and heated front seats, stitched man-made leather dashboard, swivelling headlights, and a panoramic glass sunroof.

CLA45AMG_3_4f3

Despite costing $12,000 more than the A45 AMG with which it shares its core mechanicals and exact equipment, the $86,900 CLA45 AMG is claimed by Mercedes-Benz to feel and drive differently to its hatchback sibling.

Mercedes-Benz claims the CLA-Class won’t cannibalise sales of the ageing C-Class, claiming that 75 per cent of combined A- and CLA-Class customers will be new to the brand.

Thanks partly to B-Class recording 2581 sales to September 2012, up 128 per cent, and A-Class notching up 2328 sales over the same period, with a long waiting list, Mercedes-Benz is enjoying growth of 25.2 per cent year-to-date.

It expects CLA-Class to further improve that figure, and promises improved supply of A-Class to around 400 per month. If Mercedes-Benz can sell each one of them, it will mean the A-Class will get a lot closer to the C-Class, which has been averaging 525 monthly sales this year, as the best-selling Benz.




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