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Mercedes-Benz Concept CLA-Class wows at IAA

Futuristic electric compact sedan realises Vision EQXX technology and future styling

4 Sep 2023

MERCEDES-BENZ has unveiled its Concept CLA-Class at the Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung (IAA) in Munich this week, the compact sedan to be offered with two distinct BEV powertrains when it enters production in 2024.


Built on Mercedes-Benz’s MMA modular platform, the Concept CLA-Class boasts aerodynamic styling, a coupe-like sedan profile, numerous sustainable materials, and an estimated electric driving range of up to 750km (WLTP).


As with many concept models, powertrain and specification details are limited. However, Mercedes-Benz says the dual motor electric Concept CLA-Class draws much of its technology from last year’s Vision EQXX Concept, which it claimed would use as little as 10kW/h of energy per 100km while also boasting a lighter, smaller battery pack.


The Concept CLA-Class is characterised by the German brand’s Sensual Purity design language and features full-width LED lighting at each end – replete with three-pointed star DRLs front and rear – a low-set and illuminated 3D grille, and shapely, aerodynamically tuned alloy wheels.


Inside, the EQXX Concept themes are once more evident with a broad Superscreen display with MB-OS operating system, silver and white leather upholstery – tanned with coffee husks, no less – purple accented fabrics made from recycled PET bottles, and other elements constructed from lab-grown silk, bamboo and even paper.


“The Concept CLA-Class marks the start of a new era,” explained Mercedes-Benz chief design officer, Gordon Wagener.


“It reinterprets the iconic elements of the brand’s rich design heritage to craft a whole new face of Mercedes-Benz.


“Here, the sporty forward lean of the distinctive shark nose from the 50s and 60s pairs with a new signature graphic for the electric age. The composition enhances the so-called eyebrow of the daytime running light with a stylised star.


“The star motif repeats as animated light bands in the A-shape grille design. There are defining features of our future look.”


On the powertrain side, Mercedes-Benz says the production version of the Concept CLA-Class will be offered with LFP battery packs in base form and silicone-oxide-based units in higher trim grades. Estimates place the capacity of the latter at approximately 90kWh.


GoAuto understands the vehicle’s 800-volt system is set to offer 250kW DC fast charging capabilities with V2H and V2G capabilities. Each of the models’ dual synchronous motors is likely to output 175kW via a two-speed transmission. It is expected both rear- and all-wheel drive variants will be offered.


It is also understood that sedan, wagon and two SUV variants (think CLA sedan and shooting brake, EQA and EQB) will be produced from the underpinnings shown here, giving Mercedes-Benz a range of models to take on the likes of the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y, as just one example.


The platform is scalable to allow Mercedes-Benz to produce vehicles for even more segments, each offering far better range and performance than the current crop of electric models.


“The Concept CLA-Class is the forerunner for an entirely new all-electric segment of entry-level vehicles at Mercedes-Benz,” said Mercedes-Benz chairman, Ola Kallenius.


“The range will comprise a total of four new models – a four-door coupe, a shooting brake, and two stunning SUVs – each with significantly elevated product substance.


“This new model family is inspired by a generation of car buyers who want that unmistakable Mercedes-Benz feel with more features, even greater comfort and safety, and the most advanced technology. They also seek a sustainable choice that is a cut above the rest.”

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