The quest by Mercedes-Benz to extend its reach into that new, younger generation of motorists that will form its fan base in the future has taken another significant leap forward with the introduction of their all-new CLA coupé.

Arriving here next May/June in the wake of its European debut at the Geneva Motor Show, the introduction of the CLA puts Mercedes-Benz in a place where it has never been before. Coming just weeks after the launch of their new, sportier, entry-level A-Class, the luxury car maker now has two, highly-attractive, compact-size models with which to woo those upwardly-mobile motorists many of whom, until now, had been looking in a different direction.

Inspired by their own CLS – already a modern classic in terms of its design – the four-door CLA is a completely new car in a completely new class – a true coupé that they themselves describe as a ‘little brother to the CLS’. When viewed from the side, it reveals an elegantly sporting roof line that flows from front to rear in a characteristic dropping style.

From the front, raised ‘power domes’ embedded in the bonnet give it a powerful, energetic look – an effect accentuated by its flare-effect LED daytime driving lights, deep front/side air intake vents, dark patterned radiator grille and inset Mercedes-Benz star motif. From the rear, its gently sloping roof contour and curved rear window maintain its coupé-like appearance. Inside, it has a high-quality look in which a prominent feature is the now-standard driver information display screen which, in the CLA, has a black piano lacquer look panel and flush-fitting silver frame.

Three petrol and three diesel engines make up the CLA range, all of which meet EURO 6 emission standards being introduced in 2014. Petrol versions consist of a CLA 180 BlueEFFICIENCY and CLA 200, all with 1.6-litre engines, and a 2-litre CLA 250. Flying the diesel flag initially is a 2.2-litre CLA 220 CDI. Other versions to follow are a CLA 180 CDI and CLA 200 CDI. First to arrive here will be the CLA 180 BE and CLA 220 CDI at prices guiding in the early to mid-EUR30,000s range.

The CLA begins life with a claimed world record in aerodynamics for a series production automobile under its belt. In its petrol-powered CLA180 BE guise, it has a drag coefficient of just 0.22 – narrowly shading other models in the range with their fractionally higher 0.23 figure. Features that help achieve this are its low shoulder line, improved underbody airflow and aerodynamically optimised exterior mirrors, wheel trims and arches.
Translating this into the Irish context, this means fuel economy figures beginning from 4.2-litres/100km and CO2 emissions beginning in the low Band A road tax bracket.

All engines feature the ECO start/stop function as standard and come linked to a 6-speed manual or 7G-DCT dual clutch automatic transmission, depending on model choice. Suspension combines McPherson in front and an independent multilink system in the rear to deliver longitudinal and lateral dynamics are virtually independent of one another. Two chassis and suspension set-ups are available – comfort setting and an optional sports setting. All variants come with an electromechanical direct steer system.
Five lines and specifications packages are available. Optional is a large panoramic sliding sunroof with a glass surface that extends from the front windscreen to the rear window. For gadgeteers and social media gurus, the new CLA is a veritable playground with all kinds of apps and advancements available to help them keep in contact with their audiences and online to the world around them.

Safety wise, the CLA will have numerous driver assistance systems that include standard-fit drowsiness detection and radar-based collision prevention and adaptive brake assist technology that will help protect drivers from collision at speeds from as low as 7km/h. In addition, customers can also choose from wide variety of optional items.

Commenting, Mercedes-Benz passenger sales manager in Ireland, Ciaran Allen said that “with Irish launch prices yet to be finally fixed, and with ten new models due over the next four years, our intention will be to achieve a competitive position that will help Mercedes-Benz realize the ambition to double global sales over the next six years.”