The next-generation Mercedes-Benz CLA has been officially revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this morning, ahead of an Australian launch during the third quarter of 2019.
Pitched by the German brand as the "most emotional vehicle in its class", the all-new CLA scores the same jump in technology and design as its A-Class and B-Class siblings, though sports a sexier 'coupe' silhouette.
On the outside the new CLA incorporates elements of the 'predator' face that adorns the larger CLS, though the headlights get a new daytime-running lights signature along with a unique double powerdome treatment in the bonnet.
The sloping coupe-styled roofline extends into a 'coke-bottle shoulder', as described by Gorden Wagener, chief design officer for Daimler AG.
"In short - the CLA Coupé has the potential to become a modern design icon," he added.
Other exterior design elements include frameless doors, slim LED tail-lights, flared wheel arches, along with the classic coupe proportions – long bonnet, compact glasshouse, and short rear overhang. Benz also claims a drag coefficient of just 0.23.
There are few surprises in the cabin, which is pretty much lifted straight out of the A-Class. Sitting proudly atop the dashboard is the marque's MBUX dual-widescreen intelligent infotainment setup, complemented by a strip of physical buttons on the centre stack.
Pictured is the 'Edition 1' launch variant, which will be sold in limited numbers for the first year of production, donning bright orange accents throughout the exterior and interior.
Dimensionally, the new CLA is 48mm longer, 53mm wider and 2mm lower than its predecessor (4688/1830/1439mm), with the larger body helping to increase front headroom by 17mm, and rear elbowroom by 44mm. Rear legroom is 1mm more accommodating, while rear shoulder room has increased by a more substantial 22mm.
Underneath the skin Mercedes-Benz has widened the front and rear tracks by 63mm and 55mm respectively, which not only enhance the looks but should also help provide better handling.
Bolstering this are a lower centre of gravity, a multi-link rear axle and a larger-diameter stabiliser bar. Buyers can also option adaptive dampers, while alloy wheel designs ranging from 16 to 19 inches will be offered.
Mercedes-Benz adds the CLA gets a unique ESP calibration to cater for its "potentially high cornering speeds and handling performance".
Like higher-end models in the Benz stable, the CLA will be available with the company's Energizing Package and Energizing Coach, which combines the air-con, seats, ambient lighting and audio systems to set up tailored mood themes for the driver.
Additionally, the Energizing Coach uses intelligent algorithms to recommend programmes based on the driving conditions and the driver, which is compatible with the new Mercedes-Benz Vivoactive 3 smart watch that also makes its premiere at CES 2019.
As for technology, the new CLA is offered with a host of high-end driver assistance and active safety technologies that have been adopted from higher models like the S-Class, such as autonomous emergency braking and lane-keep assist.
There's also an intelligent adaptive cruise control system available that can proactively adjust the speed when approaching bends, junctions or roundabouts, giving semi-autonomous driving capability.
On show at CES will be the CLA250, which is powered by a 165kW/350Nm 2.0-litre turbo four mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.
Mercedes-Benz says further variants will be offered when the new CLA launches globally from May, including turbocharged petrol and diesel engines with the option of front- and all-wheel drive, along with manual and dual-clutch transmissions.
We'd expect the line-up to largely mirror that of the A-Class and B-Class families, meaning a 100kW CLA180, 120kW CLA200, 110kW CLA200d and 140kW CLA220d should be offered depending on the market.
Following the initial launch expect the AMG CLA35 to debut sometime later in 2019, complete with a 225kW turbo petrol engine and a sub-5.0-second 0-100 time. After that, the AMG CLA45 flagship will return, boasting around 300kW of power and an all-wheel drive system that offers a drift mode.
Mercedes-Benz's local arm has confirmed the all-new CLA is scheduled to go on sale in Australia during the third quarter of 2019.
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