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    Detroit Auto Show: 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250



    By William Maley

    Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

    January 13, 2013

    Mercedes-Benz has pulled the covers off the brand new CLA250 four-door coupe, which the three-pointed star hopes will bolster its entry-level lineup and bring in younger people.

    The CLA takes the design of the larger CLS and shrinks it down a bit. There’s a gently sloping roofline, flowing character lines along the side, and swept-back taillights. The overall design is also very efficient, getting a drag coefficient of 0.23 (the Toyota Prius has a drag coefficient of 0.25).

    Underneath the coupe-like sheetmetal, the CLA rides on the modular MFA front-wheel drive architecture which also underpins the A-Class and B-Class. Surprisingly, the CLA is very close in measurements to the C-Class. The C-Class has a longer wheelbase, while the CLA is longer overall.

    Power will come from a turbocharged 2.0L inline-four good for 208 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. That is mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and goes down to either the front or optional 4Matic AWD system.

    Inside, the CLA is much like the new A and B-Class. Anthracite trim comes standard, though some wood and aluminum trim are available. A 5.8-inch display is standard with a 7-inch screen with the automaker's Command infotainment system is optional.

    The CLA250 arrives at Mercedes-Benz dealers in September with the 4Matic model arriving sometime in 2014.

    2014 Mercedes Benz CLA250 1
    Album: 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250
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    Source: Mercedes-Benz

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

    Press Release is on Page 2


    The Style Rebel

    MONTVALE, NJ – Mercedes-Benz is expanding its lineup with the all-new 2014 CLA-Class. The new four-door coupe is a style rebel that takes its design cues from the CLS, whose design concept has inspired more than its fair share of imitators since its debut in Detroit in 2003. This brand new vehicle features world-leading aerodynamics, avant-garde coupe design and with 4MATIC all-wheel drive (available Spring 2014). With its frameless doors, the four-door coupe seamlessly carries the design of the Concept Style Coupe into series production. The new model features COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST as a standard feature. At speeds above 4 mph, this radar-based braking system is able to warn the driver of obstacles and to anticipate braking force when the driver steps on the brake pedal. The all-new 2014 CLA250 arrives in U.S. dealerships Fall 2013.

    "The response to the Concept Style Coupe was overwhelming. The most frequent comment by far was 'Please put this car into series production.' That's precisely what we are doing now," notes Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management for Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. "The CLA is a car that does not confuse 'mid-size' with 'mid-quality'. Its sporty design underscores the sporty side of the Mercedes-Benz brand."

    The sporty CLA comes with a powerful turbocharged engine generating 208 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, as well as sport suspension and available 4MATIC all- wheel drive. The technical highlights of this new design icon include a new world record in aerodynamics for series production automobiles (Cd value: 0.23) and a wide range of driver assistance systems, including advanced COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST.

    This radar-based assistance system provides the driver with visual and acoustic warnings of identified obstacles and primes Brake Assist for adaptive braking. Brake Assist is initiated as soon as the driver steps hard on the brake pedal. When the system identifies a risk of collision, COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST calculates the precise braking force ideally needed to avoid an accident and makes the best possible use of any distance remaining. Adaptive Braking Assist activates at speeds of just 4 mph and gives trailing vehicles as much time as possible to also react accordingly and avoid another accident.

    There are four special equipment packages and a series of standalone options for individualizing the striking compact four-door coupe (length/width/height: 182.3/80.0/56.6 inches). In keeping with the digital lifestyle of the CLA's social media-savvy target group, smartphones can also be fully integrated into the vehicle's display and operating system via mbrace2, which is standard equipment.

    Following a brief appearance on the eve of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the CLA will celebrate its official world premiere at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Berlin (January 15 to 18, 2013). The new CLA will arrive at U.S. dealerships in September 2013.

    The style rebel - exterior design

    Its sporty proportions and powerfully dynamic design language featuring the interaction of concave and convex surfaces give this four-door coupe its distinctive look. The CLA carries the avant-garde design of the Concept Style Coupe into series production almost 1:1.

    Striking features include the hood with its power domes and the diamond-look grille. The arrangement of the headlights and LEDs behind the headlamp lens evokes the characteristic "flame effect" for the optional daytime running lights and indicators. This light signature is a key aspect of the car's energetic look and shapes a new, youthful Mercedes face.

    A number of details indicate that the design of the CLA represents a further development of the modern classic Mercedes-Benz CLS. Three prominent lines give structure to the vehicle when viewed from the side - the front structural edge above the fenders flows toward the rear in a characteristic dropping line. Another, more sinewy line spans the shoulder muscle above the rear axle, while the third feature line extends in a sweeping curve from the front wheel toward the rear. Together, these lines lend depth and dynamism to the side profile.

    The design of the rear end emphasizes the width of the CLA, expressing power and athleticism with the interaction of convex and concave surfaces and edges. The gently sloping roof contour and pronounced curve of the rear window retain the CLA's coupe-style character. The athletic look of the rear end comes from the drawn-in C-pillars paired with the shoulder muscle above the rear wheel arches. The tail lights are framed by the muscular shoulder lines extending into the back while the horizontal light layout emphasizes the car's powerful and visually striking breadth.

    A large panorama sunroof is available as a standalone option. It consists of a fixed polycarbonate cover at the front, a glass moving panel and side trim elements to match the glass look. The visual effect is of a glass surface that extends all the way from the front to the rear windshield.

    Premium look-and-feel - the interior

    The exterior's progressive, sporty appearance also carries through to the vehicle interior. Anthracite surface finish is available as the standard trim. Additional trim options include burl walnut wood, black ash wood and aluminum.

    The instrument panel incorporates five air vents. The outer rings of the vents are done in a high-quality galvanized finish, while a galvanized insert controls the direction of airflow. The free-standing display is set in black piano-lacquer trim and edged with a flush-fitting silver frame.

    (Wind) resistance is futile - a new record Cd figure

    With a Cd figure of 0.23, the CLA sets a new benchmark among not only Mercedes models, but also all series-production vehicles. The frontal surface area, Cd x A - which is crucial to aerodynamic resistance – also leads the field at 5.49 sq. ft.

    The good air flow characteristics, which have a major impact on fuel consumption under everyday driving conditions, are the result of extensive aerodynamic optimization. These include a low A-pillar shoulder with adapted A-pillar geometry, aerodynamically optimized exterior mirrors, low-drag wheel trims and serrated wheel spoilers on the front and rear wheel arches.

    Extensive underbody cladding, additional cladding at the center of the rear axle, an aerodynamically optimized muffler and a diffuser improve the flow of air beneath the underbody.

    Smart safety - advanced assistance systems

    An extensive array of standard and optional driver assistance systems in the CLA is available to the driver. Standard features include ATTENTION ASSIST drowsiness detection and radar-based COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST with adaptive Brake Assist, which offers collision protection in the CLA from speeds of just 4 mph.

    The optional Driver Assistance package also offers DISTRONIC, as well as familiar safety systems including Blind Spot Assist and Lane Keeping Assist. PARKTRONIC with Advance Parking Assist enables autonomous parking in parallel and perpendicular parking spaces and is available as a standalone option.

    Precision handling - the chassis and suspension

    The CLA's running gear features McPherson strut suspension at the front and independent multilink suspension at the rear. Three control arms and one trailing arm at each of the rear wheels enable longitudinal and transverse forces to be handled separately. Specific to the CLA is the flexible decoupling of the rear axle sub-frame for improved ride characteristics. The wheel mounts and spring guides are made from aluminum in order to reduce unsprung masses. Standard equipment includes the Mercedes-Benz Sport Suspension for sporty yet comfortable handling.

    The CLA also comes as standard with electromechanical power steering. Compared with conventional systems, this power steering system offers improved driver feedback and makes an important contribution to overall efficiency, as the power steering function draws energy only under active steering. It also facilitates various steering assistance functions activated by the ESP® control unit. These include counter-steering in the event of oversteer, corrective steering when braking on road surfaces with differing levels of grip (split-friction braking), minimization of torque steer and compensation for crosswinds and road gradients.

    Both the front wheel drive and 4MATIC variants of the CLA250 are delivered on 17-inch, 5-spoke, two-tone wheels clad in all-season, run-flat tires. The Sport Package offers 18-inch AMG twin 5-spoke wheels and adds Sport body styling plus perforated front discs.

    High levels of traction and outstanding agility - 4MATIC all-wheel drive

    The Mercedes-Benz CLA250 is also available with a new generation of the 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive system featuring fully variable torque distribution. Like the other 4MATIC variants, this completely new development boasts high levels of traction and outstanding agility combined with excellent safety and energy efficiency.

    The components of the new 4MATIC include the power take-off to the rear axle, which is integrated into the 7-speed Dual Clutch Transmission, and the rear-axle gear set with an integrated electro-hydraulic, multi-disc clutch. This set-up enables fully variable distribution of drive between the front and rear axles. Additional benefits of this design are a lower system weight than that of competitor systems, as well as a high degree of efficiency.

    All set for the future – a powerful and efficient drive

    The CLA250 and CLA250 4MATIC both feature Mercedes-Benz's 2.0-liter four- cylinder gasoline engine with 208 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. It comes with the ECO stop/start function as standard for added gas mileage and is mated to the 7-speed Dual Clutch Transmission for an outstanding combination of sporty performance and comfort.

    "Always on" - multimedia systems

    The latest generation of multimedia systems in the CLA provides a wide array of functions, apps and graphics.

    Like all models in the Mercedes-Benz lineup, the CLA comes with the brand's acclaimed connectivity service mbrace2, providing users with an extensive range of online and concierge services and apps all linking seamlessly to smartphones for use inside and outside the car. By using cloud technology, mbrace2 is always up to date and offers users wide-ranging and flexible access to content.

    The CLA250 and CLA250 4MATIC both include the 5.8-inch display and Bluetooth as standard equipment. The central controller provides an all-access pass to an abundance of advanced technology. This can be upgraded to the 7- inch display with the Multimedia package featuring the COMAND system with hard-drive navigation, voice control, an SD card slot, an in-dash 6-disc CD/DVD changer, a 10GB music register, a rearview camera and SiriusXM Traffic & Weather.

    Premium comfort – additional equipment options

    As well as the Multimedia package and Driver Assistance package, the CLA250 and CLA250 4MATIC are also available with the Premium package for an even higher level of comfort and convenience. Its features include an iPod/MP3 media interface, SiriusXM satellite radio, the harman/kardon LOGIC 7 surround sound system, heated front seats, auto dimming mirrors, integrated garage door opener, dual-zone climate control and a compass.

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    WOW, Talk about a Ugly Cheap looking interior and the exterior is to me an attempt to have a more Art/Science look like the ATS.

    The ATS looks so much better than this freakin ugly car. MB has truly lost their mojo in Design language, but people will buy it because it is an MB. All about the status war with the Joneses.

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    The proportions look odd because it is small and FWD. I think that is what hurt the look of the car, overall the styling themes work, but it is just a bit more overdone than it is on some of their other cars. I hope Mercedes doesn't start making a lot of overly styled cars, they always had timeless designs. Parts of this car look really awkward, the front end especially, and over the front wheels.

    Amazingly low drag coefficient, so kudos for that. I think this car will bring in a new type of buyer to Mercedes, although I myself would never buy one.

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    ^ They're going after the 80% of BMW 1-series buyers (and the 50-some % of 3-series buyers) who wanted FWD. I'm going to bet MB is going to push the fact it's FWD, too.

    Most mercedees styling is bland and/or dated, this is just so generic. The idea that the CLS didn't become the current s-class was a huge misstep, as it looks far more modern that the clunky s-class, and here MB is morphing that particular language on their bottom feeder FWD box. So weird.

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    The new CLS looks fantastic, the current C-class I think has great proportions and a timeless look to it. I like when Mercedes sticks with classy, dignified styling. The 2014 E-class has those huge air ducts below the bumper, it looks terrible. They are trying to make it overly aggressive looking, but that isn't Mercedes. The current E-class front end is better than what they are replacing it with, aside from dumping the 4 headlight look which I hated, that new front end is bad.

    The CLA is borderline too aggressive, but they are going for a younger buyer, so I think they can get away with it here. But the C, E, and S-class need to retain that classic and dignified styling in my opinion.

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    There is nothing "dignified" about the cheap c-class... and here, instead of fixing it, mercedes is dumping development dollars on a FWD sedan to undercut the C. No doubt it's going to take a big bite out of the C's sales for the 'emblem value shoppers', too. But that's what you get when your brand mantra is 'sales whoring'.

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    I think the Passat CC, Volvo, Acura, the Regal, and that segment of lower volume Euro premium cars that live in the $28-35,000 class are in trouble. The CLA may not look as good as other Benzes, but it looks better than any Acura or Volvo and it has the 3-point star on the front, and that badge alone can sway buyers. Too bad it isn't rwd though.

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    Take that emblem off the front and I see a lot of Volvo.

    The rest of it looks like the S and CLS melted together in the dryer, then shrank.

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    This is basically the sedan version of the A-Class, a FWD car that's been around since the nineties. It's not a replacement for the C-Class, or a competitor to the ATS, for that matter. I'd prefer the A-Class myself, but sedans tend to sell better than hatchbacks in the US.

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