Mercedes-Benz Concept CLA-Class Unveiled – New Design Direction?

Mercedes-Benz Concept Cla-Class
Mercedes-Benz Concept Cla-Class

As this is an electric-first platform, Mercedes-Benz Concept CLA-Class will spawn a BEV version before an ICE vehicle

Mercedes-Benz has displayed its newest concept which will spawn a bunch of compact production vehicles in the future. We’re talking about Concept CLA-Class that Merc displayed at 2023 IAA show in Munich. This is Merc’s electric-first compact car platform. The company claims 750 km of range on WLTP cycle.

Mercedes-Benz Concept CLA-Class revealed

Style and substance are given equal preference with Concept CLA-Class. It gets Mercedes-Benz Modular Architecture (MMA) underpinnings. There is a lot of inspiration from Mercedes’ Vision EQXX concept. However, with Concept CLA-Class, Mercedes is using corporate ‘Sensual Purity’ design language.

This new design language looks sensational and pays homage to first CLA-Class, which debuted in 2014. Shown in a luscious ‘Pomegranate Red’ paint scheme, Concept CLA-Class will perplex the senses of anyone who lays their eyes on it. Mercedes has given Concept CLA-Class a long bonnet and stubby rear, which brings sportiness into the equation.

Front fascia has an aggressive aura, but not in the same vicinity as SL65 AMG Black Series (meanest looking Merc). The 4-door coupe shape is reminiscent of outgoing CLA, especially in the profile. Front grille is wide and aggressive, reminding me of AMG GT. There are a bunch of 3D illuminated Mercedes-Benz three-pointed stars in a cascading effect.

Mercedes-Benz Concept Cla-Class dashboard
Mercedes-Benz Concept Cla-Class dashboard

Headlights comprise of three-pointed star LED pattern as well, with a semi-circle below it. Wide full-width LED DRL accentuates the width too. However, one oddity is that rear has a similar shape LED signature tail lights as the front, which might not be the case with production models. Wheels look futuristic, with innumerous Merc logos and there is no rear roof crossbar. So, a massive glass roof extends to rear boot lid.

More logical interiors than EQS and EQE sedans?

The three-pointed star LED signature in headlights and tail lights is in keeping with recent Mercedes-Benz trends which we saw with new E-Class. On the inside, Mercedes-Benz Concept CLA-Class has a more logical interior layout than current Mercs. In this sense, Merc’s Superscreen implementation here lacks a central infotainment screen flowing towards centre console.

There is an instrumentation screen and a passenger screen, but all three screens are in the same plane now. Concept CLA-Class has a new style of climate control displays, that are housed in outer AC vents, which is a lot more logical than cramming them within its infotainment screen. Because this is an electric-first platform, there is no transmission tunnel, liberating a lot of room on the inside.

Mercedes-Benz Concept Cla-Class profile
Mercedes-Benz Concept Cla-Class profile

The new MB.OS UI gets a liquid-cooled processor and is displayed proudly in the dashboard area in this concept. Interiors feature sustainable materials, Nappa-leather is tanned with recycled coffee husks, various trims have lab-grown silk, bamboo floor mats, and more.

Powertrain details are not out yet. But Concept CLA-Class features a liquid-cooled battery, as opposed to an air-cooled battery on Vision EQXX concept. However, the company has revealed 466 mile range (WLTP cycle) (750 km) and energy consumption of 5.2 miles per kWh of battery. Taking claimed 466 miles, that yields around 90 kWh battery size.

Mercedes-Benz Concept Cla-Class seats and massive glass roof
Mercedes-Benz Concept Cla-Class seats and massive glass roof

800V architecture supports 250 kW DC charging too. The MMA platform is capable of handling single and dual motor configs. So, AWD is likely too. Spinoffs from this platform could be GLA SUV, CLA Shooting Brake (Station Wagon) too. Because this is electric-first platform, we should see BEVs first and their ICE counterparts later.

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