German luxury car manufacturer Mercedes-Benz has showcased a new concept vehicle at IAA Mobility 2023 in Munich, Germany. Christened the Concept CLA Class, the vehicle is said to be the forerunner to an all-new electric segment of entry-level vehicles at Mercedes-Benz, consisting of four new models – the Concept CLA Class, the CLA Shooting Brake, the EQA, and the EQB. Moreover, the recently unveiled Concept CLA Class is also the first vehicle to use the new Mercedes-Benz Modular Architecture (MMA) platform, which is an electric-first compact car platform developed for a family of four models but will also support ICE-powered vehicles.
Mercedes-Benz Concept CLA Class: Exterior
On the looks front, the all-electric successor to the CLA borrows design cues from previous CLA generations but is techier. (particularly in the use of lighting). In terms of changes, the difference is evident as you take a closer look at the car's elongated bonnet and a massive grille characterised by a lower-set black panel with an illuminated Mercedes emblem, reminiscent of the Mercedes-AMG SL roadster and GT sports car. In addition, the concept car also features a galaxy of illuminated stars, giving it a jewellery-like appearance.
Other design bits include full-width LED lighting, star-shaped headlamp clusters, a slender glasshouse, flared fenders, frameless doors, a coupe-like roofline blending into the notchback-style boot lid, flared wheel arches, and a full-width wraparound light bar at the rear.
Mercedes-Benz Concept CLA Class: Interior, Features
Similar to the Vision EQXX, the interior of the Mercedes-Benz Concept CLA Class includes sustainable materials and a high-tech MBUX Superscreen, which runs Mercedes-Benz's new MB.OS operating system. The Superscreen infotainment system consists of three separate displays – an instrument cluster and touchscreens in the centre and in front of the passenger seat. Digitally visualised on the far left and right of the screen are Mercedes-signature turbine-like virtual air vents, with integrated physical controls and switches – representing a fusion of analogue and digital.
The silver and white seats are upholstered in Nappa leather. Meanwhile, the cool blue and sensual violet strips of ambient lighting exude exclusivity. Other feature bits include a floating centre armrest housing a cupholder and a wireless charger, bamboo floor mats, satin silver door pulls, etc.
In terms of safety, the Concept CLA Class gets an advanced Child Presence Detection (CPD) system, which is designed to mitigate the risk of young children being accidentally left in a car during warm weather. Besides, the new model will come initially compliant with Level 2 Driving Automation as defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), however, the company could offer OTA updates with the car.
Mercedes-Benz Concept CLA Class: Powertrain, Output
Mercedes-Benz says that the Concept CLA Class points the way for the next-generation electric-drive technology underpinning the series-production model. Directly derived from the Vision EQXX, the powertrain on the Concept CLA comprises an 800V electric architecture and a battery with a choice of two cell chemistries – top-spec variants get an anode design with silicon-oxide content, while the entry-level model makes use of lithium-iron phosphate. The 800V architecture supports 250kW fast DC charging, offering up to 400km in 15 minutes. In the Concept CLA Class, the powertrain is configured for rear-wheel drive technology. However, the MMA platform is suitable for 4x4 vehicle applications.
In terms of output, the new model has a claimed range of more than 750km, and energy consumption of around 12 kWh/100 kilometres (5.2 mi/kWh), making it the 'one-litre car for the electric age'. Although the battery details are scarce, the automaker says that the battery is linked to a 232bhp permanently excited synchronous machine. On offer is a 2-speed gearbox.
The new Mercedes-Benz Concept CLA Class will enter production in 2025. Upon its arrival, the production-ready model is anticipated to stay largely true to the concept version. As far as India goes, the model could see the light of the day in the same year.