Mercedes gave the CLA a facelift, and it looks awesome

The Mercedes CLA made was first unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show just three years ago, and it was an immediate success with more than 100,000 units sold globally in its first year of production. After just a couple years, we started seeing spy shots of an updated, camouflaged model doing some on-road testing, with the most recent being in December of 2015. Mercedes didn’t waste any time on the facelift and has finally released official information about the restyled compact luxury sedan.

This facelift brought a decent list of updated styling inside and out, including new front and rear bumpers, new wheels, new interior trim pieces, and there is even a new paint option to talk about. On the outside, the CLA takes on Mercedes’ newest design language, which gives this little luxury sedan one of the sportiest looks out there. We originally thought we would see the car in the metal at the Geneva Auto Show, but the debut was slightly delayed and is now scheduled to debut at the New York Auto Show later this month.

The new CLA with hit U.S. dealerships in the third quarter of this year, so you should be able to get your hands on one sometime this summer or early fall at the soonest. While the official debut is still a little over a week away, Mercedes has released some official pictures of the updated CLA, so let’s take a good look at those pictures and see just what Merc did to make the CLA even better than it was.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA.

  • 2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA
  • Year:
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
  • Transmission:
    seven-speed, 7G-DCT
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
  • Torque @ RPM:
  • Displacement:
    2.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    6.6 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    149 mph
  • Price:
    33000 (Est.)
  • car segment:
  • body style:


2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA High Resolution Exterior
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Up front, the headlight assemblies are about the same as the old design, but that is the only thing that didn’t change with the facelift. The hood displays more muscular lines, and the radiator grille is now black with diamond-like highlights with a horizontal louver in the middle. Like other Mercedes models with this design language, that louver and the Mercedes symbol appears to be floating in the center of the grille. Down below the fascia has been completely redesigned, with the corner vents recessed and connected across the width of the fascia. The fascia itself slopes on each side in the middle to make way for the smaller air dam. This is a design that has been carried over from other Mercedes models and definitely adds plenty of flair to the front end.

This is a design that has been carried over from other Mercedes models and definitely adds plenty of flair to the front end.

To the sides, there isn’t a whole lot of change. The upper body line runs from the front fender and gently slopes down toward the rear wheel arch, while the lower body line runs from the center of the front door and slants upward as it gets closer to the rear. It looks like the side view mirrors have been replaced by more refined units as well. We know new, light-alloy wheel designs are available, and the CLA in the most recent photos is riding on what looks to be a set of 18-inch, 13-spoke wheels that really add a bit of style to the car. They are certainly more stylish that the rollers we saw on the test mule back in December.

Mercedes claims that the rear bumper is brand new, but to me, it simply looks more refined than the original styling. The taillight assemblies take on the same shape, but the layout of the lights has changed a bit. The reverse lights have been moved from the bottom of the taillight assemblies to the middle, which should help to distinguish this model from the pre-facelifted CLA. Those little vertical vents on the corner of each rear fascia are still there, but they don’t sink into the fascia as they did pre-facelift. A trim strip in chrome or black (as seen in our current images) is optionally available between the tailpipes. That trim between the tailpipes now sits flush with the rear fascia as well, giving the rear end a wider appearance.

Mercedes didn’t elaborate on the optional wheel designs available, but it did say that six different designs are available. And, while we haven’t gotten an official look at the color, Metallic Lunar Blue is now available as an exterior color. Another option that is now available on the CLA is high-performance LED headlamps. These headlamps have a color temperature that mimics daylight and has a low energy consumption. The low-beams use projection technology, while the high beams use LED reflection technology. The turn signals and daytime running lights are made from multifunction fiber-optic cables. According to Mercedes, no bulbs will have to be changed over the life of the car when the LED headlights are selected as an option. Also, as part of the Premium Package, hands-free access is now an option, allowing the rear luggage compartment to be opened by waving your foot under the rear fascia – a feature seen on a lot of crossovers and SUVs these days.

All told, this facelift has done wonders for the little CLA, and will certainly give consumers something fresh to look at once it hits showrooms.


2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA High Resolution Interior
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Inside, we see even more improvements. Most notably, there is the silver-chrome finish to the trim insert on the dashboard, the steering wheel spokes, door switches and bezel trim, HVAC system controls on the center stack, and the storage compartment in the center console. The round vents are also finished in silver chrome. The most important update in the cabin, however, is the floating eight-inch display that is thinner than before and the revised instrument cluster. The instrument cluster now has new dials and red needles that should make it much easier to read.

New trim elements inside can be had in a sail-look finish, matt black ash wood, or aluminum with honeycomb grain.

New trim elements inside can be had in a sail-look finish, matt black ash wood, or aluminum with honeycomb grain. When equipped with the Sport Package Plus, the car trim comes in black DINAMICA microfiber. The seats can now be optioned in beige or black. In CLA in the official images has been done up with black leather, which also features red stitching. That contrast stitching can also be found on the door trim panels and the steering wheel as well. Furthermore, the seatbelts on the model pictured here are also red, further adding to the red and black color scheme of the interior. The ambient lighting package is still available on the CLA and can be set to one of 12 different colors. For being an entry level luxury sedan, the CLA sure does set the bar for luxury and comfort and, despite being compact, it looks like a comfortable place to be on a road trip.

A Smartphone Integration Package is an option on the CLA that brings Apple CarPlay and Android Auto into the cabin. This allows integration with both iPhone and Android devices and allows voice operated control of each. Certain functions on each device can be controlled using vehicle controls, preventing the need to pick up the phone while driving.


2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA High Resolution Exterior
- image 669630

Here in the U.S., the CLA is only available as the CLA250, which sports a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 211 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Power is routed through a seven-speed, 7G-DCT transmission, and comes standard in front wheel drive. All-wheel drive is available with the optional 4MATIC system. This power output enables the CLA250 to hit 62 mph from a standing start in 6.6 seconds on the way to a top speed of 149 mph.

Here in the U.S., the CLA is only available as the CLA250, which sports a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 211 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque

In other markets, several diesel and gasoline powered options are available. On the diesel front, we have the CLA 180 d BE Edition and the CLA 180 d. It has a 1.5-liter that produces 109 horsepower and 191 pound-feet of torque. In this configuration, 62 mph comes in 11.6 seconds and top speed sits at 118 mph for the BE edition and 127 mph for the 180d. The CLA 200 and 220 d models come with a 2.1-liter diesel that is rated at 136 horsepower and 177 horsepower, respectively. The 200 puts out 221 pound-feet of torque, while the 220 puts out 258 pound-feet. The 200 hits the 62 mph sprint in 9.5 seconds on the way to 136 mph, while the 220 can hit 62 mph in 7.7 seconds on the way to 144 mph.

On the gasoline-powered front, the CLA 180 BE Edition, CLA 180, and CLA 200 all sport a 1.6-liter four cylinder. In the 180 BE Edition and 180, total output is 122 horsepower and 147 pound-feet of torque. Both hit the 62 mph sprint in 9.0 seconds. The BE Edition has a top speed of 118 mph while the CLA 180 can hit 130 mph. Moving up to the CLA220 4MATIC gets you a 2.0-liter that produces 184 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. In this configuration, the car can hit 62 mph in 7.1 seconds on the way to a top speed of 149 mph.


Mercedes has been quiet thus far about pricing of the refreshed CLA. The current model starts out at $32,050 as of the time of this writing. Considering the popularity CLA and the extent of improvement brought with the facelifted model, this price may increase a bit. Don’t be surprised if the CLA goes for $33,000 by the time the refreshed models hits showroom floors.


Audi A3

2015 Audi A3 Sedan High Resolution Exterior
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We saw the third-generation of the Audi A3 debut back in 2013, which means the A3 is also about to go through a facelift. The A3 has come off as a little less sporty in the design department, but it still holds its own pretty well against the Mercedes CLA. In current form, the A3 is available in three different trim levels – Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige. All three trim levels come standard with a 1.8-liter gasoline-powered mill that produces 170 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque.

From the line, hitting 62 mph takes 7.2 seconds, with top speed coming in at 130 mph. The 2.0-liter gasoline mill that is optional across the lineup produces 220 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, and this is the engine you really want to have. When equipped with the 2.0-liter, the A3 hits 60 mph in 5.8 seconds with top speed still limited to 130 mph. At the of this writing, the Premium trim starts out at $30,900, the Premium Plus $33,600, and the Prestige at $39,750. We don’t expect pricing to change much with the release of the facelifted model.

Read our full review on the Audi A3 here.

BMW 3 Series

2016 BMW 3 Series High Resolution Exterior
- image 629400

The BMW 3 Series just went through a facelift for the 2016 model year, providing it with a sportier exterior and more luxurious appointments inside. Here in the U.S., the 3 Series Sedan is available in three different trim levels: 320i, 320i xDrive, and 328i. All three are powered by a 2.0-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder. In 320 form, the 2.0-liter pumps out 180 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque. This enables the little sedan to hit 60 mph in 7.1 seconds, with top speed coming in at 146 mph. In 328 form, that 2.0-liter has been tuned to deliver 240 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. This enables the sedan to hit 60 mph in 5.8 seconds on the way to a top speed of 155 mph. As of the time of this writing, you can claim a 320i Sedan for $33,150 before options, taxes, and delivery. Stepping up to the 320i xDrive will set you back $35,150, and the range-topping 328i demands $38,350.

Read our full review on the BMW 3 Series here.


2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA High Resolution Exterior
- image 669634

The biggest problem with Mercedes is that, for the most part, it is a status symbol, which means most of its models don’t fit into the average Joe’s budget. When Mercedes brought us the CLA line, it took a significant step forward in making the Mercedes name more affordable. With the standard C-Class starting out at just below $40,000, the CLA and its $32,000 price tag made stepping into the world of Mercedes easier for those on a less-than-excessive income.

To put that into perspective, an extra $5,000 means you can move up from something like Ford Taurus or Chevy Impala in a luxury vehicle like the CLA. $5,000 might seem like a lot to some, but it’s not a steep price to pay if you actually want something more luxurious. On top of that, some of the standard features in the CLA are optional on non-luxury models like the Impala and the Taurus, so in some cases, it might not even cost anything to step up to the CLA. With this new facelift, the CLA is even more sporty and desirable than before, and as far as sales go, I expect it to be even more successful over the next couple years.

  • Leave it
    • Will probably see a slight price hike
    • Audi and BMW bringing the heat
    • No RWD option

Spy Shots

October 6, 2015 - Mercedes CLA facelift begins testing

2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA Exterior Spyshots
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2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA Exterior Spyshots
- image 649400
2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA Exterior Spyshots
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Robert Moore
Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert -
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read full bio
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Press Release

The sporty, expressive design of the CLA is now further honed in a facelift involving new front and rear bumpers as well as new light-alloy wheel designs. The interior also benefits from numerous enhancements, among them new seat covers and trim parts, as well as chrome-plated controls. LED High Performance headlamps, HANDS-FREE ACCESS and further possibilities for integrating smartphones into the control system are all options that serve to enhance safety and comfort. The addition of Active Brake Assist as a standard feature further strengthens the CLA’s credentials as a leader in its class, as does HANDS-FREE ACCESS as an optional convenience feature. The Mercedes-AMG CLA45 now features even more dynamic styling and a further upgraded interior. With a peak performance of 375 hp and maximum torque of 350 lb-ft, it is amongst the most powerful vehicles in its segment.

2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA High Resolution Exterior
- image 669630

The facelifted version of the CLA 4-door Coupe will make its physical debut at the New York International Auto Show on March 23rd. The 2017 CLA will be available in US- dealerships in the third quarter of 2016.

In undertaking the facelift modifications, the Mercedes-Benz designers have subtly honed the distinctive look of the CLA. All models now have a new front bumper with a silver, black or chrome trim strip. The rear bumper is optionally available with a panel incorporating a trim strip in chrome or black (Night Package) between the tailpipes. The tailpipe trim panels themselves are now integrated flush into the bumper. This adds visual width to the vehicle and ensures a superior high-quality appearance thanks to even and narrow gaps where the panels join.

There is a new metallic paint available, Lunar Blue. Most of the available wheels now feature a new design – overall, six different wheels are available to chose from for the CLA250. The CLA previously included the latest generation of assistance and safetysystems that are, in some cases, only now gradually being introduced in the other model series. Among these are Active Brake Assist as standard (known until now as COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS), which is able to trigger autonomous braking as a means of reducing the danger of rear-end collisions, as well as the transmission mode selection function DYNAMIC SELECT. With this system the vehicle characteristics can be adjusted at the touch of a button, as the system modifies the engine, transmission and steering feel. The ambient lighting system, which can be individualized by setting any one of twelve color moods, has been part of the specification since the start.

The interior: slimmer display, new trim parts, chrome-plated controls

The interior also benefits from features such as new seat covers and trim parts, as well as chrome-plated controls. The highlight here is a much slimmer-looking freestanding 8-inch media display with a new-style glass cover, standard equipment in the US. The new-style dials and red needles in the instrument cluster make it easier to read the instruments.

2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA High Resolution Exterior
- image 669631

Meticulous attention to detail is also evident from the silver chrome finish to the controls and to the fascia and switches in the doors for the electrically adjustable seats, as well as from the chrome surround to the stowage compartment in the center console.

New trim elements in sail-look finish, matt black ash wood, black DINAMICA microfiber trim (optional in conjunction with the Sport Package Plus) or aluminum with honeycomb grain, serve to liven up the interior. There is also a revised range of seat covers: for the optionally available Interior Package there is a new leather upholstery option in beige/black.

The equipment features: LED High Performance headlamps as an option

The CLA is optionally available with LED High Performance headlamps with a color temperature that is closer to that of daylight than traditional xenon headlamps. This is more restful to the eyes and therefore provides relief to the driver at night. The 34-watt LED low-beam headlamps also have very low energy consumption – around 60 percent less than xenon and around 70 percent less than halogen.

The low-beam headlamps use LED projection technology, while the main-beam headlamps use LED reflection technology. Direction indicators, daytime running lamps and position lights are in the form of multifunctional fiber-optic cables, which are also used for the ’Coming Home’ function. As all lights use LED technology, there is never a need to change a bulb over the entire service life of the vehicle.

The new optional LED High Performance headlamps are combined with automatic intensity control tail lights, which reduce the dazzling effect for vehicles following. The multi-level functionality regulates the brightness of the brake lights and direction indicators in three stages (Day/Night-time driving/Night-time stationary).

Loading becomes easier with the HANDS-FREE ACCESS option. This system allows the trunk lid or tailgate to be opened without any physical contact; all it takes is a motion of the foot in the area of the rear bumper. HANDS-FREE ACCESS is now included as part of the Premium Package.

2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA High Resolution Exterior
- image 669632

The optionally-available Smartphone Integration Package allows the integration and voice-operated control of iPhones® and Android smartphones via Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ respectively. Selected functions can be operated using vehicle controls, thus allowing safe use even while on the move.

A Rear View Camera is now included in the standard equipment for the United States.

Drive system: Efficient and dynamic

The four-cylinder engine in the CLA250 delivers an output of 208 hp and is paired as standard with the 7G-DCT. It is available in both front-wheel drive or with optional 4MATIC.

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