The Mercedes Concept CLA Class is far from just an aesthetic experiment by designers. This prototype offers a tangible preview of what to expect from Mercedes’ future entry-level model set to debut at the end of next year.
Strategic Moves in the Auto Industry
While BMW has been showing off its upcoming class, Mercedes has swiftly responded with the CLA Class concept. This prototype heralds not just a single vehicle but an entire vehicle family. Consisting of four models built on Mercedes’ new Benz Modular Architecture (MMA)—a coupé, a shooting brake, and two SUVs—one of which is also a coupé. Contrary to BMW’s strategy, the MMA platform is flexible enough to accommodate combustion engines too.
However, Mercedes has adopted an “electric-first” ethos. Scheduled for a late 2024 release, the CLA electric model is expected to deliver over 750 WLTP-range kilometres while consuming approximately 12 kWh per 100 km. Equipped with 800 Volt technology, the batteries promise quick recharging. As Product Manager Timo Kallenbach puts it, “The car is production-ready and gives a preview of Mercedes’ electric future.”
Efficiency and Performance
Efficiency is at the heart of the new CLA, as demonstrated by its advanced thermal pump and driving assistants. The car is designed to be a ‘Hypermiler,’ offering high-efficiency electric mileage. The thermal pump plays a key role in reducing battery strain during winter and heating the passenger cabin. The vehicle also aims to be Level 3 autonomous driving-ready, although a LIDAR radar, which is relatively expensive, is required for this feature.
Infotainment and Tech Advancements
When it comes to in-car entertainment, the new CLA heralds a new era, much like the A-Class did in 2018 with its first MBUX system. The Mercedes Concept CLA Class will be the debut vehicle for the new MB.OS system. Previously, hardware and software were intertwined, but they’re now decoupled to allow quicker software updates.
Computational Power and User Experience
For all these features to function seamlessly, a robust water-cooled processor is necessary. Prominently displayed in the footwell, this processor enables the integration of cloud computing and artificial intelligence, enhancing user interaction through voice commands and learning from human behaviour.
Interior and Sustainability
The interior, featuring three screens across the dashboard, gives a glimpse into what the production model will offer. Attention to detail extends to the use of sustainable materials like paper for decorative elements and bamboo in the interior.
Green Design and Form Language
“Green steel” is also making an appearance in the bodywork. The Concept CLA Class presents a new phase in Mercedes’ design language, with a distinctive grille filled with stars and tail lights featuring a unique star signature. By presenting the Mercedes Concept CLA Class, the automaker is not just revealing a prototype but is providing a comprehensive preview of a future where innovation and efficiency coalesce into automotive brilliance.