Detroit 2013 – The Mercedes-Benz CLA


I’m face to face with the Mercedes-Benz CLA… And I’m rather impressed.

It’s not out on the show room floor, but I’ve been ushered into a cloth-covered back room that hides this new shapely machine. Essentially, it’s a baby CLS, and it’s going to cost around $30,000. It will undercut the C-Class sedan, and it will do it with far more style.

Sure, there’s the front-drive version, but you can opt for the 4MATIC all-wheel-drive CLA if you prefer. Also, there’s the CLA45 AMG on the horizon, which promises to boast over 300 horsepower and all-wheel-drive. On top of that, they’ve stuffed a twin-clutch seven-speed gearbox in there.

This could be an important car for Mercedes, and it’s serving as the gateway vehicle while boasting executive-level styling. The automaker didn’t skimp on the interior either, as it’s comfortable and boasts the standard array of Benz kit.

I know some may think it a bit garish, but it really works in person. I was shocked by how much I actually like this machine. Now, we just need to get our hands on one and swap in a C63 AMG drivetrain.

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36 responses to “Detroit 2013 – The Mercedes-Benz CLA”

  1. POLAЯ Avatar

    Kinda looks like a Dodge Avenger with an overbite and big anime L-EYE-Ds

    1. Devin Avatar

      Reeeeeally can't see any Avenger in here. The Dodge is defined by thick and rather crude shapes, while this is rather delicate.

      1. POLAЯ Avatar

        I'll blame my retinal detachment on that one.

  2. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    They might as well have named it the CCL — couldn't care less.

    1. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
      mr. mzs zsm msz esq

      And there is no way that is the $30K version.

      1. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

        Indeed. Seldom does a manufacturer roll out a preview car which gives you any clue as to what the machine will look like in steel-wheel, solid colour, bodykit-free rental spec.
        I'll guarantee that these look cack with the 15/16" wheel option.

          1. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

            Never, ever, have I been more correct in my entire life.

    2. texlenin Avatar

      CLA stands for Clean Lubricate Adjust. Which is what you'll be doing two years after you
      buy it…..

  3. mnm4ever Avatar

    Does this share a platform with any other car? Or did they design a new one from the ground up for it? If they did, then that's a very big investment for MB, and could mean it is extremely well engineered.

    1. Dean Bigglesworth Avatar
      Dean Bigglesworth

      It shares the platform with the new A-class hatchback. I've driven the A180 and A200 in both gas and diesel versions, and it's actually is a very nice car and i like the looks. The AMG Sport appearance package makes it very hard though.

  4. TurboBrick Avatar

    Looks a lot sportier than the C-class, IMHO, which has always had bit of a stuffy and old image compared to the BMW 3-series. Purists will cry, and MB will sell lease many of them.

  5. JayP2112 Avatar

    This car looks out of proportion in the pics. I don't think I've seen a good shot if it yet.
    My inner masochist is eagerly awaiting the A3 sedan.

  6. Tim Odell Avatar
    Tim Odell

    I'd rather see tons of these than ES350s, so there's that. This is the entry level car that BMW failed to build with the 1 series.
    Not sure I'm sold on the cred of an AWD sport sedan based on a FWD architecture, but I'd be happy to be proven wrong.

    1. Maymar Avatar

      To be fair, MB hasn't much shilled the sort of cred that needs a RWD base anyhow.

  7. muthalovin Avatar

    I do like the front-end quite a bit, but it seems a bit "me too," with regards to Merc slinging lower-end cars.

  8. Tim Odell Avatar
    Tim Odell

    Remember people, MB sells the A and B classes overseas, so it's not like this is a major, radical departure for them.

    1. Dean Bigglesworth Avatar
      Dean Bigglesworth

      I bet your base model will have slightly more than 120 turbocharged horses though.

  9. Vavon Avatar

    So many lines and they seem to be going everywhere… It's as if the designer didn't know when to stop drawing!
    <img src="; width="660/">

    1. Devin Avatar

      Horizontal lines tend to make a car look longer.
      So, clearly the thought process was that with a very small car, one must include all of the horizontal lines to make it look as long as possible.
      The only one that actually bugs me is that line that comes off the taillight but doesn't really go anywhere and have much purpose. It just fades away, confused and alone, never sure if it was meant to be or was just an errant pencil line that accidentally made it into production

      1. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
        mr. mzs zsm msz esq

        What really bugs me are the seams where the plastic bumper covers (and the round things in them) meet the sheet metal, but this is done in so many new cars, just more reason for me to ignore the lot of them really.

    2. danleym Avatar

      One day, Zorro stumbled into the Mercedes Benz design studio. He was a little quite drunk, and when the giant hunk of clay in front of him wouldn't move out of the way, he began to get upset. He attempted to make his standard slashes across the model, to get it's attention and get it to move, but in his stupor he drew his Z backwards, and his slashing motion was comically elongated. The hunk of clay still wouldn't move, and Zorro stomped off to find more tequila, lamenting the day when he wasn't a washed up old fart.
      The next morning, the Mercedes design staff came in, saw the poor attempt at a Z crudely slashed into their clay CLA, and fell in love.

    3. dculberson Avatar

      I see one hell of a lot of BMW in that profile. Bangle but, flame surfaced sides. It looks like a stretched 1-series with a different nose.

    4. Jay_Ramey Avatar

      Pfff, didn't you know that more lines = better, more modern design??? Just look at what more lines have done for BMW's sales figures!

  10. S Walton Avatar
    S Walton

    MB styling has jumped the shark, and any remaining MB aura that was left is gone. But the 33 y/o male and female dbags that will lease this thing will love it.

    1. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

      Lease. Nail on the head, right there, give the man a coconut.
      This is not a Mercedes that will be handed down through the family for generations.

      1. pj134 Avatar

        I kind of wonder if any of them are anymore though. You're closer to the fire though, do people still buy them with the legacy intention?

        1. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

          Nope. Not for a long time. Maybe some of the most expensive stuff, but you get the feeling that MB aren't really courting the market for long-term relationships. I mean, they want people to keep coming back and buy more stuff, of course. But if they can make a quick buck on the hi-fashion market, so be it.
          Same thing goes for MINI, Evoque etc. Will people buy another Land Rover when their Evoque lease is over? Nope, they'll buy whatever is fashionable at the time.

          1. Vavon Avatar

            Isn't that (sadly) the trend with everything and everywhere nowadays?

          2. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

            You're not wrong. It's a shame there is no "last bastion", though.

          3. facelvega Avatar

            Frazer-Nash saved Bristol– the new car is coming. Morgan remains, though their best and most hand-downable car is the 3-wheeler actually designed by Liberty Motors in Seattle. On the cheap/popular end, I think plenty of people will be able to hold on to their JK Wranglers until the kids are grown.

  11. Maymar Avatar

    I'm sort of thankful that the Canadian market finally got the better car, since we've had the new B-Class for about a month now. I mean, it's sligtly less striking (it looks a little like a fish), but on the other hand, it's a very similar car except for the 5th door. Plus, they finally put in an interior that isn't completely shamed by a Toyota Matrix for ten grand less.

  12. facelvega Avatar

    The style of the new baby Mercedes seems like a great fit for the America of Toddlers in Tiaras. What is "tot-stitute" auf Deutsch?

  13. Jay_Ramey Avatar

    Gawd, just give us the poverty-spec version of the A-klasse hatch already.
    Why is it that all manufacturers feel the North American market needs a sedan version of everything, even when the size of the car is completely unsuited for that body style? I hate to say this, but this reminds me of the Fiesta sedan.