2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA
The second-gen model is well on its way to being production readyby Robert Moore, on
Mercedes previewed the CLA-Class with the Concept Style Coupe, then a year later showed up at the Detroit Auto Show with the very first CLA-Class – a new entry-level model and the true baby of the Mercedes lineup. It’s essentially as CLS sized down a bit but features that trending four-door coupe body style that we’ve had to get used to. With that said, the CLA has been around for a while now, and 2020 will be the mark for the second-gen model to hit the market. That means it will debut in 2019, but that doesn’t matter because we’re already getting a good look at it now, and it looks very much like its bigger brother, the CLS. It will ride on the same platform as the new Mercedes A-Class and will even get the same engine lineup – including a pair of over-powered and brawny-for-their-size AMG models.
2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA
2020 Mercedes CLA-Class Exterior Design
- * Will have CLS-inspired cues
- * Four-door coupe design
- * Will get new headlights and taillights
- * Roof looks a bit taller
- * Will have more subdued body lines
- * Fresh wheels
Right from the get-go its easy to see that this is a baby CLS
Right from the get-go its easy to see that this is a baby CLS. It’s got the same pillar configuration, beltline design, and window cutouts from front to rear. Even the rear door glass is curved the same. Despite the padding on the front, it should get a similar forward-slanted hood with several aggressive body lines as well. Compared to the current model, we can expect to see smaller headlights that are closer to the those of the CLS and more AMG-like DNA in the grille and air dam. Granted, the air dam looks small here thanks to the camo; you can rest assured it’s actually quite large for a car of this size. Small air inlets in the corners will likely take on the same louvers found on the CLS, albeit in a smaller form.
Moving to the sides, there’s not a lot to make out, but we can make out a few little things. First, the stationary glass of the rear door is now a bit larger and is more rounded in the rear. This could be an indication of a slightly higher roof and, ultimately, more headroom in inside. The lower body line will run more parallel to the ground while a single body line will likely run from the headlights to the taillights. The side profile will be dulled down a bit but will be complemented nicely by that overly aggressive front end.
The taillights will be much smaller than before and feature a completely different LED layout
Around back, there are some significant changes in play. First, the taillights will be much smaller than before and feature a completely different LED layout. It almost looks as if they will be two-piece units split between the rear quarters and the rear decklid, however, that could be decoy reflective tape as well. The deck lid is less rounded on the bottom than before and will have a flat bottom. The exhaust outlets are larger and more pronounced and will have more of a slanted rectangular look.
With all of this in mind, don’t expect the CLA to be a huge departure from the current model visually. It will bring some new styling cues to the table, but it will be recognizable as a CLA without a second thought.
2020 Mercedes CLA-Class Interior Design
- * Will feature an interior similar to that of the A-Class and CLS
- * Similar seats as the E-class and S-Class
- * Headroom will likely increase marginally
- * Will get the MBUX infotainment system
- * A digital instrument cluster should be optional
|Interior from the 2018 Mercedes A-Class Shown Here.|
There’s no denying that the interior of the current CLS is rather dated compared to Merc’s new interior design philosophy. It’s still got that yesteryear, floating infotainment system, the massive HVAC vents, and the jumbled center stack. All that should change with the second-gen model, though, with it taking the same styling cues the A-Class and CLS did from the E-Class and S-Class. This means the floating infotainment display will be gone; the HVAC vents will get smaller, the center stack will essentially be deleted with a larger panoramic screen taking up space next to the instrument cluster. The remaining buttons will be positioned at the end of the center console as you can see in the image of the CLS interior above. Of course, the CLA-class is Mercedes cheapest and entry-level model so it won’t have all of the fancy goodies found in its bigger siblings but the apple won’t fall far from the tree if you get what I’m saying.
|Rear seat of the 2019 Mercedes CLS-Class shown here.|
A digital instrument cluster could be offered as an option, but the MBUX infotainment system should come as standard equipment since this car will share its architecture with the recently debuted A-Class. Expect to see the seats redesigned to look more like those seen in the image above, especially in the rear. The one big thing here should be increased headroom as it looks like the next-gen CLA has a slightly taller roof. It won’t be much, mind you, but there should be just a little extra. Riding on the A-Class platform I wouldn’t expect there to be any increase in legroom, shoulder room, or hip room, but you’re not buying a CLA-class for space anyway.
2019 Mercedes CLA-Class Performance
- * Will ride on the same platform as the new A-Class
- * Will get the same suspension setup (torsion beam suspension for entry-level, four-link for higher trims)
- * Initially offered with two gasoline engines and one diesel
- * Power output anywhere between 116 horsepower and 224 horsepower
- * Six-speed manual transmission available with 1.4-liter
- * Seven-speed DCT exclusive to 2.0-liter models
The CLA-Class will ride on the same platform as the new A-Class, which means that it should get the same suspension setup
The CLA-Class will ride on the same platform as the new A-Class, which means that it should get the same suspension setup, with higher-end models getting a four-link setup in the rear and the lower-end models will get a torsion beam suspension out back. Active damping control should be an available option. As of the time of this writing, the A-Class is offered with a 1.4-cylinder (it replaced the A-Classes 1.6-liter) and a 2.0-liter. There’s also a 1.5-liter diesel. Since the share the same guts, the CLA-Class should be offered with the same engines at launch.
So, the CLA 200 will be offered with the 1.4-liter with 163 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. It can be had with either a seven-speed dual clutch transmission or a six-speed manual. Moving up the CLA250, you will get a 2.0-liter with 224 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. It comes exclusively with the seven-speed DCT, so don’t plan on rowing your own gears in that one. The CLA 180d will make use of that aforementioned diesel mill with just 116 horsepower but 192 pound-feet of torque. There’s no telling what kind of acceleration you can expect, but a sprint time in the low sixes should be expected for the 250 and low eights for the smaller gasoline mill. Naturally, the diesel will be slower, hitting 62 mph in more than 10 seconds.
2020 Mercedes CLA-Class Pricing
We still have a good year before we even see the next-gen CLA without the camo, so pricing at this point is purely speculative. It is, however, the cheapest model wearing a Mercedes badge and is priced, at the time of this writing, at $32,700. Pricing will likely increase a bit, but don’t expect to step into an entry-level model for less than $33,500.
2020 Mercedes CLA-Class Competition
The 3 Series is a bit of a wild card here as you can step into a base-model 3 series for around $35,000, putting it right about in line with where the CLA-Class resides on the pricing scale. The problem is that it’s a sedan through and through. Of course, to me, anything with four doors is a sedan, but if you really want something that matches the CLA’s roofline, you’ll have to go with the 3 Series Gran Turismo at a minimum of $45,050. With that model, you’re limited to either a 2.0-liter with 248 horsepower on tap or a 3.0-liter inline-six with 320 ponies. The latter will set you back nearly $51,000, though, so you better be willing to commit. On the basic sedan front, you can get a 2.0-liter gas engine with 180 ponies, the same engine as a diesel with the same output, or the same engine with 248 horsepower on tap. That model, by the way, starts out at $40,250 while the entry-level model runs at $34,900 or $36,900 if you want AWD. The normal sedan body is also available with that 3.0-liter but will set you back $51,000 as well. Needless to say, the Merc might be the better choice here, but it really comes down to your individual taste.
Read our full speculative review on the 2019 BMW 3 Series.
If you’re an Audi person but stuck at the entry-level price point, you’re basically limited to the Audi A3 Sedan. Unfortunately, Audi doesn’t make a Sportback version of the A3 in the states and the Sportback version in Europe is actually a hatchback, so you’re stuck with the basic sedan styling in Europe too. On that end, it might not be that bad, though, as the entry-level A3 sedan comes in at $31,950. That’s the premium trim and is front-wheel drive. If you want Quattro AWD, and you probably do, you’ll have to pony up a couple thousand extra. Moving up the line, you can go with the Premium Plus trim that adds in lots of technology like phone connectivity, rearview camera, keyless start and entry, and some driver assist systems. It starts at $35,200 in a FWD configuration. The range-topping prestige is the fully-loaded model here, but it’s probably a little out of your price range too, if you’re looking at the CLA in the first place. It starts at $40,700 but it does come with LED exterior lighting, Audi’s virtual cockpit, navigation, adaptive cruise control and a 705-Watt, Bang & Olufsen sound system.
Read our full review on the 2018 Audi A3.
The CLA class stands out by way of exterior styling and price point. You can’t get one of these four-door coupes, as they are called, at this price point from either BMW or Audi – both marques are significantly higher in price. And, to top it off, the CLA is about the be as fresh as they come. Mercedes really holds the corner of the market with this one and, it’s perfect for those who want a CLS but can’t quite shell out that little bit of extra cheddar. Sure, it’s a little smaller, but it’s attractive, and it’ll have enough go. Plus, you can set up to a model with an AMG badge no problem, assuming you can afford it anyway. It will be interesting to see what BMW and Audi can do to counter the next-gen CLA, but I have a feeling we just got a preview of the dominant one right here and now.
Read our full review on the 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA.
Read our full review on the 2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS.
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