For a few years now, Mercedes-Benz and Audi have been the only premium brands in compact premium sedan segment, with the CLA-Class and A3, respectively. Those two cars, while flawed, are nice little premium commuter cars, the sort that provide decent driving dynamics with enough performance and good fuel economy. BMW is late to the segment, with its upcoming 2 Series Gran Coupe still in the works. And while it’s taking its time, its competition is only getting better. Take the new Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class for example.
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Mercedes has just revealed the second generation of its CLA-Class, the smallest car in its US fleet. Since the first-gen’s debut back in 2013, the CLA has been incredibly successful and it stands to reason that this new one will be even more so.
This new car looks better than the previous one, though I still feel as if it looks like it’s melting at the back. Still, it’s a handsome thing overall and far more stylish than anything else in its price range. It looks good from most angles and has a sharp and attractive face, with sporty headlights and a bold grille, with a sharply creased hood sitting atop it.
Inside, it gets even better. The CLA-Class gets the same cabin as the A-Class and it’s tough to beat in the segment. Maybe the new Audi A3 will be a bit nicer looking but this CLA-Class is very attractive inside. Its steering wheel, digital instruments and infotainment screen are basically plucked from an S-Class, giving it a very high-end feel in an affordable car. It also gets those very good looking circular air vents.
The new Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class also gets some fancy new features, such as the brand’s new voice control system, that activates with the phrase “Hey, Mercedes”. It apparently also has the ability to understand who called it and can filter out any other voices in the cabin, so as to not get confused by other people talking. Impressive stuff, especially at its price point.
As far as performance goes, the only engine available here in the US will be the brand’s 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 221 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. That’s good for 0-60 mph in the high five-second to low six-second range. The engine will be paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, which we hope is improved over the previous CLA’s clunky one. A 300 hp AMG CLA35 and 400 hp AMG CLA45 will be on their way as well.
Overall, the new Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class seems like it will be a huge hit here in the ‘States. It packs good looks, a great cabin, slick technology and decent performance into an affordable and efficient package. Customers looking to lease something stylish and economical for their commute won’t be disappointed in the CLA and neither will customer who just want something small, fun and good looking.
When the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe gets here, it’s going to have its work cut out. It’s going to have to contend with this and the upcoming Audi A3. It better be good.