New photographs of the forthcoming Mercedes CLA compact four-door saloon give the best indication yet as to the styling and interior design
Matt Burt
2 August 2012

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.

Our Verdict

Mercedes-Benz CLA road test review - hero front

The CLS sold on its exclusivity. Can the Mercedes CLA pull the same trick - or do its A-Class underpinnings hold it back?

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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.

Join the debate


16 May 2012

Seriously, the tapered rear end is incredibly reminiscent of the Rover 75.

The irony is, in concept, this car is probably very similar to the old British product.

17 May 2012

Just not good enough, a real 3/10 design,safe?, yes, but why?

16 May 2012

I can't wait for this to go on sale! It should look fantastic, and the 208bhp petrol engine should be great. I hope it goes on sale for as little as Mercedes said it would. If it does, then it should be a success.

16 May 2012

Less than an A class in price, they currently start at 16k, so you may find me queueing at the dealer if it is lower than that..... great looks and price an Mercs reliability..... count me in

16 May 2012

Bye bye RWD... The next time is for BMW...


16 May 2012

I find Mercedes' naming strategy absolutely bonkers at the moment.  It used to work well, now it just looks messy.  So we currently have: A - B - C - CLC - CLA - GLK - E - CLS - G - GL - M/ML - S - SLK - SL - SLS AMG - CL - R - Viano and forthcoming SLA and recently discontinued SLR... Bad


And the above list doesn't even include saloon, estate, coupé, convertible, limousine, pullman and commercial variants!  (Citan, Sprinter, Vario, Vito...) Gawd.

16 May 2012

I agree with you !!!Mercedes names is confusing me. Every time if I talk about an Mercedes, I get confused...! Couldn't they just go with the alphabet...

16 May 2012

Interesting that it promises to be both larger on the outside and cheaper than a C - any news on relative interior & boot sizes though?

Probably points to a sizeable bloating of the next C as it has the potential to steal a lot C sales, even if is FWD - got me interested at least.

17 May 2012

Must admit it looks pretty elegant (to my eyes). And even with the dented doors and disguise panels in place it looks a whole heap better than the BMW 1-Series with which it will presumably compete.  

Begs the question, why would anyone buy a C-Class now? I for one prefer the packaging, weight and cost advantages of front wheel drive and can only see the need for rear wheel drive with very high power outputs (when arguably 4WD is better anyway).


17 May 2012

Quite dissapointed this will be mainly offered on a FWD platform. RWD for a saloon of this size is just right if you enjoy driving. The adjustability mid corner is supreme in RWD.


Lets hope the chassis does the AMG version justice.


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