Mercedes-Benz has revealed a “close-to-production” concept version of its forthcoming next-generation CLA sedan at this year’s Munich motor show.
The Mercedes-Benz Concept CLA Class is an electric sedan set to rival the likes of the Tesla Model 3. It’s based on the new, scalable MMA platform which can also be used to fit vehicles in other segments.
It’s powered by a single rear-mounted electric motor producing 175kW of power, which is mated to a two-speed transmission. Mercedes-Benz says this electric drive unit is “directly” derived from the wild Vision EQXX from last year.
This electric motor is fed by a battery pack with an undisclosed capacity. There is a choice of two different cell chemistries, with the entry variant using lithium iron phosphate (LFP), whereas the top-spec has an anode design with silicon-oxide content for “excellent energy density”.
Mercedes-Benz claims the Concept CLA Class has an “anticipated” range of more than 750km according to WLTP testing, with claimed energy consumption of around 12kWh per 100km. For context, the Tesla Model 3 RWD has a claimed energy consumption of 13.4kWh per 100km.
The Concept CLA Class has an 800V electrical architecture which is claimed to add 400km of range in just 15 minutes of charging.
The electric sedan concept also has bi-directional charging capability, in the form of vehicle-to-home (V2H) and vehicle-to-grid (V2G).
It’s expected there will be internal-combustion (ICE) versions of the next-generation Mercedes-Benz CLA as well, as the MMA platform supports both electric and ICE powertrains.
The Concept CLA Class’s shape is an evolution of the current car, but with a number of elements taken from the Vision EQXX.
At the front there’s a whale shark-like faux grille made up of illuminated star-pattern LED lights, as well as semi-circular headlights with a star-pattern lighting signature. There’s also an LED light band that wraps around the entire front of the car.
The side profile of the Concept CLA Class is quite reminiscent of the current-generation model, though this concept has some wild 21-inch colander-looking wheels. There are also retractable door handles.
Cascading from the roof to the rear is one giant piece of glass that has an illuminated Mercedes-Benz star pattern in it.
The rear is almost a mirror image of the front with semi-circular tail lights with a star-pattern lighting signature, as well as a full-width light bar.
Inside, the Concept CLA is centred around the new MBUX Superscreen full-width dashboard setup.
There are three screens featuring mini-LED technology and 3D graphics from the Vision EQXX.
The screens are flanked by turbine-like virtual air vents for the dual-zone climate control, and as expected of a modern Mercedes-Benz the cabin is awash with ambient lighting.
On the safety front, the Concept CLA Class is said to offer Level 2 partially automated driving thanks to LiDAR-supplemented sensing technology.
It also has a new child presence detection system that’s designed to mitigate the risk of young children being accidentally left in a car during warm weather.
Mercedes-Benz says production of MMA vehicles will initially begin in Rastatt, Germany; Kecsketmét, Germany; and Beijing, China.
At this stage it’s unclear when Mercedes-Benz will reveal the production version of the next-generation CLA, or when production will begin, though prototypes have already been spied testing.