Published on April 1st, 2014 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Mercedes Benz CLA Here To Excite The Market
Mercedes Benz is moving its image to cater to a ‘new’ buyer segment, the young and trendy. First came the all new A-Class with drop dead looks and interesting pricing and then now we have the CLA sedan which is really a CLS sports sedan scalled down to allow a new generation of buyers to walk into Mercedes showrooms and drive away a Benz.
The CLA 200 launched at the Mercedes F1 party last weekend comes with a 156hp engine with sports suspension. The technical highlights of this new design icon include a new world record in aerodynamics for series production automobiles (Cd value: 0.24) and numerous driving assistance systems, including the further-developed COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST.
This radar-based assistance system provides the possibly distracted driver with visual and acoustic warnings of identified obstacles and prepares the adaptive Brake Assist system for precision braking. Braking is initiated as soon as the driver steps emphatically on the brake pedal. When an impending danger of collision is identified, the COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST system calculates the precise braking force ideally needed to avoid an accident and makes the best possible use of any distance remaining. As a new feature, COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST affords protection from typical rear-end collisions in dangerous traffic situations in the CLA from a speed of only 7 km/h (previously: above 30 km/h).
The good air flow characteristics, which are a major contributory factor to the vehicle’s low fuel consumption in everyday conditions, result from numerous aerodynamic optimisation measures. These include a low A-pillar shoulder with adapted A-pillar geometry, aerodynamically optimised exterior mirrors, streamlined rear section, wheels designed for low aerodynamic drag and serrated wheel spoilers on the front and rear wheel arches.
Extensive underbody panelling, additional panelling in the middle area of the rear axle and an aerodynamically optimised rear silencer followed by a diffuser improve the flow of air under the underbody. When it comes to aeroacoustics too, i.e. noise level comfort, the four-door coupé is also at the top of its game.
The style rebel: exterior design
Its breathtakingly sporty proportions and powerfully dynamic design idiom, with its interplay between concave and convex surfaces give this four-door coupé its unmistakable look. The vehicle’s striking features include the bonnet embedded in the front end with power domes and the black pins radiator grille. The light modules and LED daytime running lights behind the headlamp cover glass have been arranged in such a way as to create the characteristic “flare effect” for the daytime driving lights and indicators. This light signet defines the car’s energetic appearance and shapes a new Mercedes face.
Numerous details indicate that on a design level the CLA represents a further development of the modern classic Mercedes-Benz CLS. Three prominent lines give structure to the vehicle when viewed from the side: the front structural edge over the wings flows towards the rear end in a characteristic dropping line. Another, more sinewy line spans the shoulder muscle above the rear axle, while the third feature line extends in a sweeping curve from the front wheel towards the rear. Together, these lines lend depth and dynamism to the side profile.
The width-emphasizing rear end radiates power and athleticism, featuring interplay between convex and concave surfaces and edges. The gently sloping roof contour and the pronounced, hallmark curvature of the rear window provides the CLA with a coupé-style character from the rear, too. The athletic impression from the rear results from the drawn-in C-pillars in conjunction with the shoulder muscle over the rear wheel arch linings. The tail lights are framed by the muscular lines of the shoulders which extend into the rear end, the horizontal orientation of the lights emphasizing the rear’s powerful and aesthetic breadth. The light functions feature an arrow-style arrangement.
“Cool touch” effect: the interior
The exterior’s progressive, sporty appearance is continued inside the vehicle. The interior additionally derives a very special quality feel from the design idiom, the selection of high-quality materials and the available combinations of materials.
The instrument panel incorporates five round vents. The outer rings of the round vents have a high-quality electroplated finish. The airflow direction is governed by a galvanised insert that reveals a meticulous attention to detail. The free-standing display screen features a black piano-lacquer-look front panel.
The CLA is fitted with integral seats in the front and rear, underscoring its sporty character. The rear bench seat emphasises the outer seats (2+1‑seater). Coloured contrasting stitching is available, according to the selected interior appointment options. A fibre-optic cable in the opening between head restraint and backrest is optionally available as part of the ambient lighting.
Smart safety: advanced assistance systems
Numerous driving assistance systems offer support in the CLA and reduce the driver’s workload. Standard-fit features for the coupé include ATTENTION ASSIST drowsiness detection and radar-based COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST with adaptive Brake Assist, which now helps to protect the CLA from collisions from a speed of only 7 km/h (previously: above 30 km/h). Active Parking Assist enables automatic parking in lengthways and crossways parking spaces.
Designed for dynamism: the chassis and suspension
The chassis of the CLA features a McPherson front axle and an independent multilink rear suspension, featuring three control arms and one trailing arm per wheel. This means that longitudinal and lateral dynamics are virtually independent of one another. A CLA-specific feature is the flexible decoupling of the rear axle carrier, which benefits ride comfort. Wheel carriers and spring links are made of aluminium, in order to reduce unsprung masses. Two chassis and suspension set-ups are available: the comfort suspension and the optional sports suspension for sporty yet comfortable handling. The latter entails lowering of the body by 15 mm (front) and 10 mm (rear).
Irrespective of the selected chassis, all CLA variants come with the Direct Steer system. This electromechanical power steering offers improved feedback to the driver in comparison to conventional systems and makes an important contribution towards overall efficiency, as the steering assist function only requires energy when the steering wheel is actually turned. Additionally it enables various steering assistance functions which are activated by the ESP® control unit. These include counter-steering in case of over-steering, corrective steering when braking on road surfaces offering different levels of grip (split-friction braking), mitigation of the extent to which the front-wheel drive influences the steering and compensation for crosswind and road gradients.
All set for the future: powerful and efficient drive
The petrol engine with a displacement of 1.6 covers an output spectrum of 156 hp in the CLA 200. The engine features the ECO start/stop function as standard. It is combined with the 7G-DCT dual clutch automatic transmission, which reconciles comfort and sportiness in inimitable fashion.
An overview of the CLA 200 petrol, direct injection model:
|Output||kW (hp)||115 (156)|
|Fuel consumption, combined||l/100 km||5.2 – 5.5|
|CO2 emissions1||g/km||122 – 129|
|Acceleration0 – 100 km/h||s||8.5|