The new Mercedes-Benz CLA Coupe
The new Mercedes-Benz CLA Coupe is not only the most emotional vehicle in its class, it is also highly intelligent. From Augmented Reality Navigation, to understanding indirect voice commands, the new CLA offers an array of clever solutions to improve the driving experience. The new CLA also features ingenious details to improve aerodynamics, and a new Intelligent Drive driving assistance package. The design underlines the coupe’s character with its stretched form and design elements such as powerdomes on the hood and a lowered rear license plate. The new CLA does justice to its predecessor’s status as a design icon.
“With the first CLA we celebrated a huge success by selling some 750,000 vehicles and created a totally new segment with a four-door coupe in the compact class,” says Britta Seeger, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Mercedes-Benz Cars Marketing & Sales. “The new CLA is even more emotional and sportier than its predecessor. Coupled with new operating systems, it sets a new benchmark for the entire class.”
A new generation of compact cars has rejuvenated the Mercedes-Benz brand. The CLA in particular is important for winning and retaining new customers to the brand. The CLA Coupe was first launched in Canada in 2013, making it the second compact car Mercedes‑Benz offered in the Canadian market. At peak times, more than two thirds of Canadian CLA buyers were new to the Mercedes-Benz brand, previously having driven competitor vehicles. On average, CLA customers in Canada are around seven years younger than the typical Mercedes‑Benz customer.
The new CLA will be manufactured at the Kecskemét plant (Hungary) and will be available in Canada starting in fall 2019.
Design: pure emotion
“As a four-door coupe, the new CLA intrigues with its puristic, seductive design and sets new standards in the design DNA of ‘sensual purity’. It impresses with its perfect proportions reflecting the first design sketch: a long, stretched hood, a compact greenhouse, a wide track with exposed wheel arches and our typical GT rear with a strong distinctive ‘Coke-bottle shoulder’,” says Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer of Daimler AG. “In short, the CLA Coupe has the potential to become a modern design icon.”
The long, stretched entry lines above the windows and frameless doors give the CLA Coupe its unmistakeable sporty-yet-elegant character. The forward-slanting front end is reminiscent of a shark’s nose, and appears longer thanks to an elongated hood that features powerdomes.
The vehicle’s sporty face comes together with flat head lights and a low-slung hood with a diamond radiator grille that features a central star. The two-piece, narrow tail lights, combined with a license plate housed within the rear bumper make the CLA look especially wide.
With the greenhouse moved back, the sporty ‘GT-esque’ rear achieves a balance between elegance and sportiness. Featuring softened lines, the CLA’s side profile provides an interesting interplay of light and shade. The elimination of the upper-shaped edge of the side wall allow for a much more prominent muscular and athletic shoulder shaping — a design trait that stretches from the front wheel arch all the way through to the sculpted rear. Flush with the outer edge of the body, flared wheel arches epitomize dynamism and contribute to the vehicle’s sporty presence.
Inside the vehicle, all elements – from the steering wheel, the door handle operating module, to the centre console and seats – are arranged according to the overarching design themes of ‘high-tech’ and ‘youthful avant-garde’. As in the A-Class, the highlight of the unique interior architecture is the avant-garde design of the dashboard.
The dashboard is divided into two three-dimensional, horizontal sections: the lower section appears to float in front of the main dashboard. Optional ambient lighting enhances this effect, accentuating the free-floating appearance of the base.
The standard widescreen cockpit is completely freestanding, and for the first time there are no cowls above the instrument cluster. The air vents are another highlight of the interior design, featuring a sporty turbine-like look.
The concept for its dimensions: longer, wider and more grown-up
|Width incl. exterior mirrors||mm||1999||2032||-33|
|Max. headroom, front||mm||1023||1006||+17|
|Elbow room, front||mm||1457||1422||+35|
|Elbow room, rear||mm||1454||1410||+44|
|Shoulder room, front||mm||1400||1391||+9|
|Shoulder room, rear||mm||1372||1350||+22|
|Load compartment width max.||mm||1444||1331||+113|
|Load compartment depth max.||mm||1054||1030||+24|
|Width of load compartment opening||mm||891||629||+262|
Suspension: exceptionally agile, yet comfortable
In terms of driving dynamics, the new CLA keeps the promise of its design: A wide track (an extra 63 mm at the front and 55 mm more at the rear compared to its predecessor) and a lower centre of gravity give the CLA the sportiest driving characteristics of all the new-generation compact cars from Mercedes-Benz. The technical specifications include a decoupled multi-link axle at the rear for reduced noise and vibration, a Direct-Steer system as standard, and hydromounts at the front. A stabilizer bar with a larger diameter reduces body roll. The range of wheels for the CLA starts at 18 inches and goes up to 19 inches with tire sizes starting at 225/45 R 18 and ending at 225/40 R 19. The ESP® has been specially adapted to the CLA’s potentially high cornering speeds and handling performance.
One year since its premiere, MBUX keeps on learning
With its debut in the A-Class, Mercedes-Benz ushered in a new era in connectivity with MBUX. Featuring a powerful computer, high-resolution graphics, fully-customizable displays, Augmented Reality navigation, and software that can learn and respond to natural speech, MBUX has revolutionized the relationship between car and driver. Now Mercedes-Benz is taking this technology a step further. The voice-control feature recognizes current topics in an ever-expanding number of domains. Due to the ongoing development of the system, it is now also possible to incorporate information and content from country-specific providers.
“Hey Mercedes”: better understanding and even more clever responses
“The latest version of voice control for MBUX – the Mercedes-Benz User Experience – can be experienced in the new CLA. For example, the voice assistant ‘Hey Mercedes’ is able to recognize and answer considerably more complex queries,” says Sajjad Khan, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars for CASE and Head of Digital Vehicle & Mobility. “What’s more, the voice assistance no longer gets confused by other passenger’s conversations. Instead it only responds to the commands of the person who last said ‘Hey Mercedes’ to activate the system.”
The voice assistant can recognize and respond to more complicated questions than ever before. For example, “Find Italian restaurants with at least four stars that are open for lunch but exclude pizza shops.” There is also a growing number of domains for which MBUX can understand complex questions and quickly reply. For example, sports (“Hey Mercedes, How did the Toronto Raptors play?”), the stock exchange (“How has the Apple share price performed compared to Microsoft?”), calculations (“What is the square root of 9?”) or general knowledge (“How big is Texas?”, “What is the fat content of avocados?”).
Aerodynamics: intelligent solutions intelligently designed
On the way to series production, the new CLA underwent a considerably longer phase of aerodynamics optimization than previous models. Engineers were able to test the viability of the new vehicle through simulations before the first measurements of the physical models were carried out in the wind tunnel. This was possible due to greater computing capacity, more experience working with simulation tools, and a greater understanding of how to efficiently use them in the development process.
A key advantage of the simulation process is that it is easy to determine exact proportions, and the effects that changes in form will have on flow, without having to make changes to the physical model.
This optimization was done in close collaboration with the designers. The results are particularly evident on the rear apron, radiator grille, the fog lamp recesses (the relief-like diamond-shaped pattern, which was reduced to the edge on the CLA for aerodynamic reasons) and the height of the diffuser. Totally new for the MY20 CLA are wheel-arch spoilers that feature fins running longitudinally. They help air to flow around the wheels with minimal drag. Aerodynamic refining was also performed on the wheels and tires – both for the regular wheel-tire combinations and for the “aero wheels”, which have been completely redesigned to achieve the best possible aerodynamic values.
Intelligent Drive: functions from the S-Class
The new CLA features the very latest in driving assistance systems with cooperative driver support, and provides the highest level of active safety in its segment with many functions adopted from the S‑Class. For the first time, the CLA is able to drive semi-autonomously in certain situations. To do so, it keeps a close eye on the traffic situations with improved camera and radar systems that allow it to see up to 500 metres ahead. The CLA also incorporates map and navigation data into driver assistance functions. For example, Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC as part of the optional Intelligent Drive Package is able to provide route-based support to the driver in numerous situations, and to predictively and conveniently adjust the speed and vehicle proximity when approaching bends, junctions or roundabouts. Also on board are Active Emergency Stop Assist and the intuitively understandable
Active Lane Change Assist.
The new CLA comes with enhanced Active Brake Assist as standard. Depending on the situation, it can either prevent or effectively help to mitigate the consequences of collisions with slower-moving, stopping or stationary vehicles, and crossing pedestrians and cyclists.
Active Lane Keeping Assist included in the Intelligent Drive Package is able to warn the driver by means of pulsed vibrations in the steering wheel when the vehicle is unintentionally drifting out of its lane at speeds between 60 and 200 km/h. If the vehicle passes over a solid line, it can pull the vehicle back into lane by applying the brakes on one side. In the case of a dotted line, such intervention takes place only when there is a danger of collision with a vehicle in the adjacent lane (including danger from oncoming traffic).
PRE-SAFE® PLUS can recognize an imminent rear-end collision. If the danger of a collision persists, the system can firmly apply the brakes of the stationary vehicle, thus lowering the risk of injuries by reducing the forward jolt caused by an impact from the rear.
MULTIBEAM LED headlamps: better visibility in all conditions
Another example of automotive intelligence and the transfer of technology from the luxury segment to the compact class are the optional MULTIBEAM LED headlamps featured in the new CLA. They allow extremely quick and precise, electronically-controlled adjustment of the headlamps to suit different traffic situations. Each headlamp on the CLA incorporates 18 individually controllable LEDs. The daylight-like light colour of the LEDs is easy on the eyes and improves concentration. The road ahead is precisely and brightly illuminated. LED High Performance headlamps with integrated LED daytime running lamps and full LED tail lamps are standard on the new CLA.
The CLA on display at CES is the CLA 250, which is powered by a four-cylinder petrol engine. It will arrive in Canada in fall 2019, with AMG variants arriving later in the year.
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Further information from Mercedes-Benz is available at media.mercedes-benz.ca.