New CLA: “Coolness for money”? Unbeatable!

Today is an exciting day for me: The new Mercedes-Benz CLA Coupe is celebrating its world premiere at the CES in Las Vegas. And I’m the proud Product Manager.

That’s why I’m glad to have the opportunity to introduce this new vehicle to you from my personal perspective. An automobile’s premiere at a show for consumer electronics? How cool is that? As cool as the model itself.

Las Vegas is a good venue for the first-ever presentation of the new CLA. In the first place, many of its features will thrill electronics freaks as well as car enthusiasts. They range from the MBUX Interior Assistant, which intelligently recognizes the driver’s wishes from his or her movements, to augmented reality for navigation, a voice control function that understands indirect spoken commands, and the ENERGIZING COACH, which offers individualized fitness recommendations. These clever solutions are supplemented by the new functions of the driver assistance package Intelligent Drive.

Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert 6,3-6,1 l/100; CO2-Emissionen kombiniert 143-140 g/km

Excitement or SUV? The first CLA was a gamble

And secondly, the model feels right at home in the U.S. After all, the first CLA was the first car from the Mercedes-Benz compact car family to make its way across the Atlantic to America. Back then, we were feeling pretty nervous, because no automaker had yet dared to present the concept of a four-door coupe in this segment. Would we find enough customers who’d give up the last bit of headroom and trunk space in exchange for an exciting design? TGIF or IKEA? Excitement or SUV?

Two thirds of the buyers were newcomers to Mercedes

Oh yes. During peak periods, more than two thirds of the buyers in the U.S. were switching to Mercedes from competing brands. And the customers who bought a CLA in the U.S. were on average about ten years younger than the typical Mercedes-Benz customer. Worldwide, the total sales of about 750,000 units of the first generation of the CLA coupe and the CLA Shooting Brake became a badge of success.

Now we’re going to do even better — and how! Frankly, the new CLA is not much more practical than its predecessor. But it’s even more exciting — and once again considerably more sporty. Let me convince you as we take a close look at this model.

No more Mr. Nice Guy

Previous models of the CLA had a friendly face in the front. It was just playing. But that’s all over. The new “shark nose,” as the designers call it, and the extremely narrow headlights speak a different language. No more Mr. Nice Guy. And the power domes on the hood make a promise that is kept by the engine: The powerful four-cylinder gasoline engine of the CLA 250 has 165 kW (225 hp) and 350 Nm, with a 7G-DCT dual-clutch transmission. (Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert 6,3-6,1 l/100 km und die CO2-Emissionen kombiniert 143-140 g/km)[1]. By the time the CLA celebrates its market launch in May, it will be available with a wide range of diesel and gasoline engines, manual or dual-clutch transmission, and 4MATIC all-wheel drive.

Sensual shapes

The lateral lines of this model clearly show what our designers mean by the term “sensual purity.” This is also to be found in the flow of the roof, the narrow window design, and the soft and sensual shapes of the bodywork. I’m sure that the passengers getting into the back seat won’t mind pulling their heads down a bit. After all, a ride in this car is a privilege. In the interior there’s more shoulder and elbow room than in previous models. You can’t see that from the outside. What you can see is the 48 additional millimeters of length.

You’re sure to want two of them

But in my opinion, the absolute highlight of the CLA is the rear. You should actually buy two CLAs, so that you can always drive behind one. The transition from the roof to the rear fenders is a sensation, thanks to the track, which is more than 50 millimeters wider than before. Our chief designer, Gorden Wagener, calls them “Coke bottle shoulders.” The rear itself is an example of pure GT design, with narrow taillights, a lowered license plate holder, and the Mercedes star on the handle of the trunk.

Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert 6,3-6,1 l/100; CO2-Emissionen kombiniert 143-140 g/km

And — what’s the price?

I can’t divulge that yet, but I can tell you that you’ll be pleasantly surprised. The sales release date will be in mid-February. But our MBUX – Mercedes-Benz User Experience is the smartest way for you to communicate with your car. It knows the answers to many questions. After the curtain closed on the new CLA’s premiere, I tried this system out as I drove home. “Hey Mercedes, how much coolness for money does the new CLA offer? The answer didn’t surprise me: “On the open-ended coolness for money scale, the CLA is at the top.”

[1]Angaben zum Kraftstoffverbrauch und CO2-Emissionen sind vorläufig und wurden vom Technischen Dienst für das Zertifizierungsverfahren nach Maßgabe des WLTP-Prüfverfahrens ermittelt und in NEFZ-Werte korreliert. Eine EG-Typgenehmigung und Konformitätsbescheinigung mit amtlichen Werten liegen noch nicht vor. Abweichungen zwischen den Angaben und den amtlichen Werten sind möglich.

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Jan Paul Rubens, who is from the Netherlands, studied automobile technology at HAN University of Applied Sciences in Arnhem and Nimwegen. After working for four years at Daimler’s aftersales unit in the Netherlands, Rubens moved to Stuttgart in 2002. There he initially worked in Daimler’s Parts and Service unit, then was responsible for the Middle East market region for seven years. Since 2013 he has been the Product Manager of the CLA. At home he is most devoted to his two children, his girlfriend, and his vintage cars — not always in exactly that order.