Next-Gen Mercedes-Benz CLA Debuts As Sleek Four-Door EV

Mercedes-Benz’s next-generation CLA will be spearheading the automaker’s compact EV charge. 

Perhaps not to be outdone by BMW’s recent preview of what the next 3-series might look like in future with its Vision Neue Klasse concept, Mercedes-Benz has since responded in kind by showing off what the upcoming CLA could be. And much like its Munich counterpart, this recent reveal of the Concept CLA Class has also raised more than a few eyebrows. 

Kicking off with the pertinent details first, this newly previewed concept car is in essence a stylised preview of what the next-generation CLA will be as it makes its production debut next year. The other major piece of information worth highlighting meanwhile will be that this next-gen all-electric compact sedan will be the launching pad for the automaker’s new Mercedes Modular Architecture (MMA) platform, which will subsequently also underpin the upcoming iterations of CLA Shooting Brake as well as EQA and EQB compact crossovers. 

The MMA-based Mercedes models will be the first in the automaker’s lineup to support an 800-volt electric architecture, and thus allowing charging at up to 250 kW on a rapid DC charger. More interesting though on the battery side of things is for two battery types to be made available for use in this platform: a lithium-iron phosphate (LFP) variety for entry-level applications and a high energy-density variety with silicon-oxide anodes for supposedly higher-performance variants. 

Mercedes-Benz has however unfortunately neglected to release any official specifications thus far regarding the actual battery capacity for the upcoming production version’s of CLA, but some rough calculations from its 750 km WLPT-claimed range and its quoted energy consumption of 8.4 km/kWh indicates for a rather large 89.6 kWh battery pack. Power from this battery meanwhile will first be used to drive a single rear-mounted 235 hp electric motor, with higher-powered dual-motor variants (with apparently up to 536 hp in full-fat AMG spec) likely to come in due course post-launch. 

And if some buyers still wish to burn the ol’ jungle juice, Mercedes-Benz will likely also be offering some fuel-burning variants of the CLA. That is as new MMA platform can be made to accommodate both fuel-burning and fully-electric powertrains in either rear- or all-wheel drive configurations, though it does remain to be seen which market will actually still see the internal combustion engine configurations be offered. 

Regardless of which powertrain is chosen, all CLAs will likely be offered with a tech-laden yet apparently sustainably-sourced cabin, to which a dash-spanning Superscreen infotainment system will be its main highlight. Looking perfectly suited in this concept’s  highly stylised version of the production interior, this Vision EQXX-influenced wall-to-wall screen layout actually comprises of 5 individual screens — the digital instrument cluster, central and passenger touchscreens, as well as two smaller screens within the ‘turbine vents’ on either side that are actually climate control dials — and will be running Mercedes’ new liquid-cooled MB.OS operating system. 

Now just finishing up on the outside, the four-door coupe exterior aesthetic of the CLA has been further sleek-ified in this latest iteration for a sportier look. This concept also previews more pronounced rear haunches and massive alloys that will likely give this upcoming model a more confidence and commanding presence over the current generation. But why oh why did Mercedes have to then decided to cap things off with the face of an angry fish and a rump that looks like a man furrowing his unibrow?

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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