The original Mercedes-Benz CLA, in baseball terms, knocked it out of the park, the compact, coupe-like sedan not only generating a massive sales surge but drawing in the sort of hip young buyers that the German brand long had trouble reaching.
Americans are expected to buy about 22,000 CLA sedans this year, a sharp decline from the model’s 2015 peak, when Mercedes delivered about 30,000 of them. That said, considering the rapid shift from passenger cars to light trucks – including the similarly sized Mercedes GLA crossover – the CLA remains an essential part of the brand’s line-up.
“We’re still bullish on sedans,” Dietmar Exler, CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA, told TheDetroitBureau.com during a Los Angeles Auto Show interview, and the German brand aims to prove that with the upcoming launch of the second-generation CLA.
(Debut of EQC launches Mercedes into long-range, all-electric market. To check it out, Click Here.)
This is the first in what we’re expecting to be a series of teaser images of the next Mercedes CLA, a pic accompanied by just two words, “Coming Soon.” Soon, as in the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that has taken on a much more important role in the automotive world in recent years.
A closer look, aided by a little enhancement from Photoshop to pull details out of the shadows, gives us some idea of what to expect. To start with, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA will retain the basic, coupe-like shape of the original – itself borrowed from the bigger Mercedes CLS that revolutionized sedan design when it debuted back in the 2014 model-year.
The original CLA was the smallest model Mercedes ever introduced in the U.S., effectively filling a spot vacated by the “Baby Benz,” the original C-Class that had grown larger and more lavish with each new iteration. The automaker was also betting that the coupe-like look of the CLA would connect more effectively with American buyers than the similarly sized A-Class that it decided not to bring to the U.S.
This time around, however, the CLA will share showroom space with the latest-generation A-Class launched just five months ago.
The two cars share the same underlying architecture, though the new A-Class sedan is about three inches shorter, albeit ever so slightly taller, than the outgoing CLA. Buyers can opt for a traditional Mercedes grille or a more elegant diamond design on the traditional sedan, both anchored by a large version of the Mercedes tri-star and framed by standard LED running lights and headlamps. We’ll have to wait to get a better look at the new CLA to see which of these faces it adopts – or if it follows the A-Class approach and lets buyers choose.
Another thing we’ll look forward to discovering is how Mercedes has evolved the high-tech, Alexa-like MBUX infotainment interface that was first shown at CES last January – and which made its production debut on the new A-Class. The automaker has been hinting that the voice-controlled system has “evolved,” and will add some new tricks by the time the CLA arrives in showrooms.
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As you’d expect the new CLA will likely load up the high-tech features that hip, young buyers crave, and that should mean a fairly extensive suite of advanced driver assistance systems. Whether it will adopt the semi-autonomous capabilities found on the current E- and S-Class lines remains to be seen, but few would be surprised if it even added more capabilities.
As for more conventional mechanicals, expect the new 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA to start out sharing the same 2.0-liter turbo I-4 found in the A-Class where it punches out 188 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. Subsequent additions to the line should put the CLA 35 in the 300 hp range and the AMG CLA 45 package up over 400 hp.
As with the A-Class, the MFA platform shared with the CLA is front-wheel-drive. We’ll watch to see whether it will be offered with a 4Matic option but that seems all but certain, especially on the upcoming AMG edition.
The next-generation CLA will not only offer more technology but a more lavish overall look and feel, Mercedes insiders have suggested. It will all but certainly also address some of the complaints about the original coupe-like sedan, including ride dynamics. That was especially apparent on the CLA 45.
The automaker made a big thing out of offering the base 2014 CLA at less than $30,000. That’s about where the new A-Class starts. The coupe-like sedan is now up to a base MSRP of around $33,000 and, considering the competition, never mind the massive shift to light trucks, it will likely start in the same range for the 2020 model.
Mercedes will have a lot going on in Las Vegas, including the American debut of the EQC battery-car, as well as an autonomous prototype called the Vision Urbanetic. The automaker’s exhibit at the Las Vegas Convention Center will, it says, “be focusing fully on the outlook on the future of mobility.”
(Daimler planning to invest $20 bil in batteries alone in push to electrify. Click Here for the story.)