These are the latest scoop images of the prototype version of the new Mercedes-Benz CLA testing. Our shots reveal the car's interior for the first time.
The new Mercedes has been captured by our spy photographers before, but is now beginning to lose its camouflage and body cladding ahead of its planned production debut next year.
Our photographs reveal the cabin will share its basic design with the A-class and B-class models, featuring heavily sculpted airvents and a iPad-like screen.
The shape of the CLA was previewed by the Concept Style Coupé at the Beijing motor show in April. As promised by Mercedes boss Dieter Zetsche, the production version does justice to the concept version, apart from a few minor visual features that added presence to the show car.
The CLA adopts less-flamboyant bumpers, altered headlamp graphics (the CSC’s headlamps glow red in standby mode), more conventional exterior mirrors, the same pull-out door handles as on the A-class and smaller wheels and tyres than the 21-inch items that adorned the show car.
The CLA will sit below the Mercedes C-class saloon on price and features in the marque’s line-up. However, the new entry-level saloon will be 47mm longer, 121mm wider and 47mm lower than the C-class saloon.
These official measurements also make it 345mm longer, the same width and 35mm lower than the new Mercedes A-class – a car with which the CLA shares its platform, chassis and driveline architecture.
The CLA will offer the choice of standard front-wheel drive or optional four-wheel drive. Gearboxes will include a standard six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual-clutch unit as an option.
The 208bhp engine showcased in the CSC is set to see the light of day in the CLA250. The junior saloon is set to offer three turbo four-pot petrol units: a 120bhp 1.6 in the CLA180, a 154bhp 2.0 in the CLA200 and a 208bhp in the CLA250.
Three turbodiesel engines are also planned: two 1.8-litre units with 108bhp in the CLA180 CDI and 134bhp in the CLA200 CDI, and a 168bhp 2.2 in the CLA220 CDI. The highlight of the line-up will be a four-wheel-drive AMG model running an uprated 2.0-litre turbo engine with up to 340bhp.
Among the CLA’s four-door rivals will be a saloon version of the new Audi A3, also due next year, and a four-door version of the BMW 1-series, which is currently undergoing conceptual development with a view to introduction in 2015.
The CLA also has in its sights the Volkswagen Jetta – and car officials suggest they will target heavily in North America and China, markets considered crucial to the CLA’s success.