Mercedes-Benz calls the Concept CLA Class the ‘electric future of desire’

Expect radical changes with the entry-level nameplate of Mercedes-Benz once it carves out a production model from the newly revealed high-tech Concept CLA Class.

The marque sees it as the model that will usher in a ‘new electric and digital age’ and ‘represents the company’s vision to elevate this important vehicle class’ despite the popularity of crossovers and SUVs in markets around the world.

Mercedes-Benz CLA Concept image

“The Concept CLA Class is the forerunner for an entirely new all-electric segment of entry-level vehicles at Mercedes-Benz. The range will comprise a total of four new models – a four-door coupé, a shooting brake, and two stunning SUVs – each with significantly elevated product substance. This new model family is inspired by a generation of car buyers who want that unmistakable Mercedes-Benz feel, with more features, even greater comfort and safety, and the most advanced technology. They also seek a sustainable choice that is a cut above the rest. This hypermiler is the one-liter car of the electric age, with a range of more than 750 kilometers (466 miles) in the WLTP1 and an energy consumption of just 12 kWh/100 km. Based on the MMA platform, it provides an insight into the first complete family of Mercedes-Benz electric cars developed from scratch to put our Ambition 2039 on the road, whereby we aim to achieve net carbon neutrality along the entire value chain in our fleet of new vehicles in 2039.” Ola Källenius, Chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG.

It is hard not to be impressed by the looks of the Concept CLA Class. The front has a shark-nose design, a seamless “grille” panel, and an illuminated Mercedes-Benz star. But the ‘wow’ factor of this body comes from a range of animated lighting scenarios that can be personalized depending on the driver’s preference. The coupe body has an impressively long wheelbase, huge wheel arches to accommodate 21-inch wheels, and a wrap-around light band framing the rear light clusters that repeat the signature star design.

Mercedes-Benz CLA Concept image

Inside, designers used innovative materials such as paper trim and Nappa leather processed using vegetable-based tanning agents to contrast with high-gloss surfaces. It has discreet LED lighting that enhances the silver and crystal white surface with cool blue and sensual violet highlights.

Mercedes-Benz CLA Concept image

All the high-end cabin comforts would be for naught with some high-tech toys. It is where all the new Mercedes-Benz gadgets come in. The cockpit is dominated by the MBUX Superscreen with high-efficiency mini-LED technology and immersive 3D graphics pioneered in the VISION EQXX. It has razor-sharp high-definition graphics paired with class-leading digital features and the new Mercedes-Benz Operating System (MB.OS) that uses supercomputing and artificial intelligence.

Details about the electric powertrain are scant but Mercedes-Benz says it will have a range of 750 kilometers and use an 800-volt system that gives it a 400-kilometer range with a 15-minute charge.

Mercedes-Benz CLA Concept image

“The technology that provides the foundation for the Concept CLA Class represents an entirely new approach for Mercedes-Benz and incorporates many learnings from our groundbreaking VISION EQXX technology program. For instance, our engineers have maximized efficiency by driving down losses in its 800 V electric-drive system. It also features innovative battery cell chemistry as well as a high level of integration enabling excellent energy density. I am certain that our MMA platform will enable us to offer our customers in this market segment a class-defining combination of performance, sustainability, safety, and comfort paired with an outstanding digital experience.” Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG, Chief Technology Officer.

With the CLA Concept essentially our best look yet at the next-generation CLA Class, it won't be long before Mercedes-Benz reveals the all-new model.