The new Mercedes-Benz CLA – State of Art of Being Automotive intelligence can be this beautiful
The new Mercedes-Benz CLA is not only the most emotional vehicle in its class, it is also highly intelligent: From MBUX Interior Assist, which recognises operational demands from gestures and equips the interior with intelligence, through augmented reality for navigation and understanding indirect voice commands. The new CLA offers an array of intelligent driving solutions. The design underlines the coupé character with its stretched form and design elements such as the bonnet with powerdomes or the rear licence plate, which has been moved down. As such, it does justice to its predecessor’s status as a design icon.
With MBUX, Mercedes-Benz has been revolutionising how to operate a car and communicate with it since the launch of the A-Class. “Now we go to the next level with an intelligent interior assistance system for the New Generation Compact Cars. By recognising gestures it facilitates natural operation,” says Johannes Fritz, Co-CEO of Mercedes-Benz South Africa and Executive Director Mercedes-Benz Cars. “This is not the only new feature by which the CLA offers a great deal of automotive intelligence.”
“With the first CLA we had created a totally new segment with a four-door coupé and celebrated huge sales success by selling 750 000 CLA’s globally,” says Johannes Fritz, Co-CEO of Mercedes-Benz South Africa and Executive Director Mercedes-Benz Cars. “The new edition of the CLA has been developed further in an intelligent way and is even more emotional and sportier than its predecessor. Coupled with new operating systems, it sets new benchmarks for the entire class.”
The CLA was first launched in 2013, making it the first compact Mercedes‑Benz on the global market. Over 75 percent of European customers who previously drove a CLA as a coupé chose a Mercedes‑Benz again for their next vehicle. In total, some 750 000 units of the first-generation CLA contributed considerably to the compact car’s success globally.
The new CLA will also be available as an Edition 1, as an optional extra. In terms of both the exterior and interior, this limited edition special model has numerous visual accents which underline its exclusivity.
Design: pure emotion
“As a four-door coupé, the new CLA intrigues with its puristic, seductive design and sets new standards in the design DNA of ‘sensual purity’. It impresses with its perfect proportions reflecting the first design sketch: a long, stretched bonnet, a compact greenhouse, a wide track with exposed wheel arches and our typical GT rear end with a strong distinctive ‘Coke-bottle shoulder’,” says Selvin Govender, Marketing Director for Mercedes-Benz South Africa Cars. “In short – the CLA has the potential to become a modern design icon.”
The combination of the long, stretched entry line above the windows and frameless doors give the CLA its unmistakeable sporty and elegant character. Forming the front end is the striking front section which is raked forwards like a shark nose with a long, stretched bonnet featuring powerdomes.
Flat headlamps together with the low slung bonnet and the diamond radiator grille with central star create the vehicle’s sporty face. The two-piece, narrow tail lamps and the number plate housed in the bumper make the rear of the CLA look especially wide.
With the greenhouse moved back, the sporty looking rear design achieves a balance between elegance and sportiness. Featuring pared-down lines, the precisely modelled side profile provides an interesting interplay of light and shade. Dispensing with the upper shaped edge of the side wall permits extremely muscular and athletic shoulder shaping, stretching from the front wheel arch through to the sculptured rear. Flush with the outer edge of the body, the wheels with their flared wheel arches and wide track epitomise dynamism and give the vehicle a sporty presence.
In the interior, all elements are arranged according to the overarching design themes of ‘high tech’ and ‘youthful avant-garde’ – be that the steering wheel, the door handle operating module, the centre console or the seats. As in the A‑Class, the unique interior architecture is shaped in particular by the avantgarde design of the dashboard: The designers completely dispensed with a cowl above the cockpit. As a result, the wing-shaped main body of the dashboard extends from one front door to the other with no visual discontinuity. The widescreen display is completely free-standing. The lower section is visually separated from the main body of the instrument cluster by a ‘trench’, and it appears to float in front of the instrument cluster. The ambient lighting enhances this effect. The air vents in a sporty turbine-look are another highlight.
One year since the première: MBUX keeps on learning
A powerful computer, brilliant screens and graphics, customisable display, full colour Head-up Display, navigation with augmented reality, software that can learn and “Hey Mercedes” – the keyword for voice control that explodes conventional automotive standards. This is how Mercedes-Benz is revolutionising car operation and communication with it. Now the company is igniting the next level. MBUX Interior Assist facilitates natural operation. The voice control feature now recognises topical answers in a growing number of domains.
“The latest version of voice control for MBUX – the Mercedes-Benz User Experience – can be experienced in the new CLA. For example, the voice assistant ‘Hey Mercedes’ is able to recognise and answer considerably more complex queries,” says Selvin Govender, Marketing Director for Mercedes-Benz South Africa Cars.
MBUX Interior Assist: an even greater experience
By recognising movements MBUX Interior Assist brings added intelligence to the interior. Thanks to innovative technology, MBUX now supports the occupants by making various comfort and MBUX functions even simpler and more intuitive. Interior Assist operates in non-contact mode and functions both in sunlight and in complete darkness.
It enables the adaptation of screen content as soon as a hand approaches the touchscreen in the dashboard or the touchpad on the centre console, for example. Individual elements are highlighted according to the currently active menu. In addition, the system is able to distinguish between the driver’s and front passenger’s wishes and thus knows for whose seat the massage function is to be activated, for example.
There are other functions which can be controlled intuitively, without any need to practise corresponding gestures: In the dark, the reading lamp can be switched on and off by briefly extending a hand towards the rear-view mirror, for example. If the driver reaches over towards the unoccupied front passenger seat in the dark, it will be illuminated automatically. This makes it easier to find any items which may have been deposited on the seat. As soon as the person’s hand leaves this area, the light automatically switches off again.
“Hey Mercedes”: better understanding and even cleverer responses
State-of-the-art of voice control can also be experienced in the CLA. Here too seat recognition has been implemented. The voice assistance only responds to the commands of the person who last said ‘Hey Mercedes’ to activate the system.
Aerodynamics: intelligent solutions intelligently designed
On the way to series production, the aerodynamics of the new CLA underwent a considerably longer phase of optimisation than its predecessor in the form of simulations, before the first measurements of models were carried out in the wind tunnel. This was possible due to greater computing capacity, as well as in particular more experience of working with simulation tools and their best possible and most efficient use in the development process.
A key advantage of the simulation process is that it is easy to determine the exact proportions of the form, and to examine the effects of a change in form on flow at another point which is either before or after in the direction of flow, without it being necessary to make changes to the physical model. The result also sets standards: A Cd value of 0.24.
Work on optimisation was in close collaboration with the designers and was particularly intensive on the rear apron, radiator grille, the fog lamp recesses (the relief-like diamond-shaped pattern of which was reduced to the edge on the CLA for aerodynamic reasons) and the height of the diffuser. Totally new are the wheel-arch spoilers with their fins in the longitudinal direction; they help air to flow around the wheels with minimal losses. Aerodynamic finessing was also performed on the wheels and tyres – both for the regular wheel-tyre combinations and for what are known as aero wheels, which have been completely redesigned to achieve the best possible aerodynamic values and which also look attractive. Integrated as standard at the front of the vehicle is a two-piece shutter system behind the radiator grille, which regulates airflow through the engine compartment. The almost complete underbody panelling encompasses the engine compartment, the main floor, parts of the rear axle and the diffuser.
Intelligent Drive: functions from the S-Class
The CLA has the very latest driving assistance systems with cooperative driver support, and thus provides the highest level of active safety in this segment with functions adopted from the S‑Class. For the first time, the CLA is able to drive semi-autonomously in certain situations. To do this, it keeps a close eye on the traffic situation. Improved camera and radar systems allow it to see up to 500 metres ahead. The CLA also uses map and navigation data for assistance functions. For example, Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC as part of the optional Driving Assistance Package is able to provide route-based support to the driver in numerous situations, and to predictively and conveniently adjust the speed, e.g. when approaching bends, junctions or roundabouts.
The new CLA comes with enhanced Active Brake Assist as standard. Depending on the situation, it can effectively help to mitigate the consequences of rear-end collisions with slower-moving, stopping or stationary vehicles ahead, and even with crossing pedestrians and cyclists, or to prevent them altogether.
Active Lane Keeping Assist is able to warn the driver by means of pulsed vibrations in the steering wheel when the vehicle is unintentionally drifting out of its lane at speeds between 60 and 200 km/h. If the vehicle passes over a solid line, it can pull the vehicle back into lane by applying the brakes on one side. In the case of a dotted line, such intervention takes place only when there is a danger of collision with a vehicle in the adjacent lane (including danger from oncoming traffic).
PRE-SAFE® PLUS can recognise an imminent rear-end collision. If the danger of a collision persists, the system can also firmly apply the brakes of the stationary vehicle, thus lowering the risk of injuries by reducing the forward jolt caused by an impact from the rear.
MULTIBEAM LED headlamps: better visibility in all conditions
Another example of automotive intelligence and the transfer of technology from the luxury segment to the compact class are the optional MULTIBEAM LED headlamps. They allow extremely quick and precise, electronically controlled adjustment of the headlamps to suit the current traffic situation. Each headlamp on the CLA incorporates 18 individually controllable LEDs. The daylight-like light colour of the LEDs are easy on the eyes and has a positive effect on concentration. The road ahead is precisely and brightly illuminated. LED High Performance headlamps are a further option. As standard, the new CLA is equipped with halogen headlamps with integrated LED daytime driving lamps. The tail lamps are also available with all-LED technology.
The CLA is available in two engine variants – the CLA 200 and the CLA 220d.
The CLA 200 with the M282 engine is powered by a 1.33 litre unit, which generates 120 kW and 250 Nm of torque with a 7G‑DCT dual-clutch transmission. The CLA 220d with the OM654q 4-cylinder diesel engine is powered by a 2.0 litre unit, which generates 140 kW and 400 Nm of torque with an 8G-DCT dual-clutch transmission. New features for both engines include CAMTRONIC for the intake camshaft, and particulate filter as standard.
The modern diesel and petrol engines also set standards in terms of performance, efficiency and emission control. SCR catalytic converters or petrol particulate filters are part of standard equipment. The model-specific cylinder shut-off is a further expression of the high technological standards.
Suspension: agile and comfortable
There is a choice of suspension systems for the CLA, depending on engine variant and driver preference.
The suspension with adjustable damping offers this exciting spectrum. The DYNAMIC SELECT rocker in the centre console selects the program and characteristics: “Eco”, “Comfort” or “Sport”. As though you had two suspensions in one car, refined sportiness.
The AMG suspension is systematically tuned for high cornering speeds with a low tendency to roll. As a result the dynamic potential of your vehicle can take full effect. For you this means more driving pleasure.
The comfort suspension offers you a dynamic overall package. It brings even better road holding. The suspension has been lowered by 15 millimetres and works with specially tuned springs and dampers: it has a much sportier configuration than the standard suspension.
Technical data at a glance
Mercedes-Benz CLA 200
Mercedes-Benz CLA 220d
Fuel consumption –
5.3 – 5.6 I/100 km³
6.5 – 6.7 I/100 km³
CO2 emissions – combined
Retail price (ZAR)
2 The figures shown were obtained in accordance with the prescribed measuring process. They are “NEDC CO2 values” pursuant to Art. 2 No. 1 of Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/1153. The fuel consumption figures have been calculated on the basis of these values. Electrical consumption has been determined on the basis of Directive 692/2008/EC.
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