With the standard CLA not due to go on sale in Europe until the beginning of next year, Australian customers will have to wait until late 2013 at the earliest to get behind the wheel of the new baby CLS.
The flagship Mercedes CLA45 AMG will follow a few months down the track sometime in 2014.
Merc previewed the design of the all-new CLA at the 2012 Beijing motor show in April when it unveiled the Mercedes-Benz Concept Style Coupe, which blends the front-end styling of the new A-Class hatchback with the sleek four-door layout of the larger, luxury CLS.
The CLA will ride on Mercedes’ new MFA platform, which underpins the A-Class and B-Class, and will also find its way underneath a new compact SUV – potentially called the BLK or GLC – in 2014.
The CLA45 AMG will be mechanically identical to the A45 AMG hot-hatch, featuring a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine that will produce an estimated 265kW of power and in excess of 400Nm of torque.
A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission will send power to all four wheels, promising to glue the CLA to the tarmac and potentially helping it accelerate from 0-100km/h in less than five seconds.
The spy shots reveal the performance-spec CLA will benefit from the usual AMG enhancements, with a more muscular front bumper with a deep front spoiler, chunky side skirts, a rear spoiler, and a larger, more powerful brake package.
Mercedes sources revealed to CarAdvice in June that the CLA45 AMG would carry about a $5000 premium over the A45 AMG, which should see the four-door coupe top the CLA range at around $85,000.