The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class is a new class for the German automaker. It’s a four-door, coupe-styled vehicle that some are calling a chip off the block, so to speak, of the larger Mercedes CLS that came on the market in 2003. So successful has been the CLS that company brass decided there was a market for a smaller, sporty version and the CLA was born.
The CLA follows the same design as the Concept Style Coupe that Mercedes first introduced several years ago. It carries the coupe designation even though it has four doors and “frameless doors” or no center post. However, to me, a coupe by definition is a two-door automobile and you can’t change the definition simply to fit your design whim.
The CLA comes with a boat load of interesting standard features, including a system called Collision Prevention Assist (CPA). When the system identifies a risk of collision, CPA calculates the precise braking force ideally needed to avoid an accident and makes the best possible use of any distance remaining. At speeds above 4 mph, the radar-based braking system warns of obstacles ahead and applies braking force in concert with the driver. Brake Assist is initiated as soon as the driver steps hard on the brake pedal. Adaptive Braking Assist activates and gives trailing vehicles as much time as possible to also react and avoid another accident.
Mercedes says the new CLA design achieved a new world record in aerodynamics for series production automobiles with a coefficient of drag (Cd) value of 0.23.
Striking features include the hood with its power domes and the diamond-look grille. Three prominent lines give structure to the vehicle from the side — the front structural edge above the fenders flows toward the rear in a dropping line. Another design line runs along the shoulder above the rear axle, while the third feature line extends in a sweeping curve from the front wheel toward the rear.
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 exterior’s sporty appearance carries through to the 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 sporty CLA comes standard with a powerful turbocharged engine generating 208 hp and 258 pound-feet of torque, as well as sport suspension and available 4MATIC all-wheel drive. The MSRP for the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class is $29,900.
Ron Beasley is the automotive editor for Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277, ext. 261, or by addressing email to <LetsTalkCars@aol.com>.