Despite Mercedes-Benz’s plans to introduce a new A-Class compact sedan, the automaker’s other compact sedan, the CLA, won’t be disappearing after the current model’s run its course.
A next-generation CLA has been spotted as a prototype for the first time. The car is due on sale in late 2019, as a 2020 model, meaning it will trail the A-Class sedan by about a year.
Though the prototype is heavily disguised, we can already tell the new CLA will resemble a scaled-down version of the latest CLS. This means we can expect Mercedes’ sportier “Panamericana” grille hidden beneath all of that camouflage gear on the tester’s nose.
Compared to prototypes for the A-Class sedan (shown here), the roof line is lower on the CLA. The C-pillar also tapers back more gracefully, creating a coupe-like profile. But the CLA is very much a sedan, so don’t start calling it a coupe. If you happen to disagree, this article will enlighten you.
Underpinning the car is an updated version of the MFA (Modular Front-drive Architecture) platform used by Mercedes for its current compacts. Referred to as MFA2, the updated platform will bring weight savings plus the capacity for alternative drivetrains. Standard powertrains should be turbocharged inline-4s. There should also be a high-performance inline-4 for the CLA45 model from AMG. It could have as much as 400 hp.
The MFA2-based cars will also benefit from a much more advanced interface. Dubbed MBUX, short for Mercedes-Benz User Experience, the new interface features digital screens for the instrument cluster and infotainment system, much like on the pricier E-Class and S-Class models. However, there’s also touch capability for the infotainment screen and you’ll also be able to use natural speech to control many vehicle functions.
Production of the new CLA for the United States is tipped to take place at a plant in Mexico, while for other countries production could take place in China or Hungary.
It’s still too early to talk pricing but expect the new CLA to come in at roughly the same $33k starting price as the current model. The A-Class sedan is expected to be priced from about $30k, which is where the current CLA started when it was introduced for 2014.
The success of Mercedes’ current-generation compacts, of which more than two million have been sold since the first arrived in 2012, has prompted Mercedes to add three more compacts to its lineup. In addition to this A-Class sedan, we can also look forward to a GLB SUV and an electric offering to be dubbed the EQA.