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Electric 2025 Mercedes-Benz CLA previewed by concept – Drive

The Concept CLA Class points to the next-generation CLA sedan due in 2024, with conventional petrol power, or electric models with up to 400kW and a 750km driving range.
Mercedes-Benz has revealed the Concept CLA Class at the Munich motor show in Germany, a little more than a year before the showroom version of the all-new CLA sedan is due to arrive in European showrooms.
With a choice of petrol or electric power, the new CLA will lead Mercedes-Benz’s move to slash its so-called “compact” model range from seven models today, to four – the CLA sedan, CLA Shooting Brake wagon, EQA (GLA) small SUV and EQB (GLB) medium SUV.
It will spell the end of the top-selling A-Class hatchback and sedan range – even though it has outsold the CLA sedan two-to-one in Australia so far this year – as Mercedes-Benz prioritises higher profits per vehicle, rather than outright sales volumes.
The new models will be based on the Mercedes Modular Architecture (MMA) platform – a versatile, dual-purpose structure intended to give the CLA the choice of electric and petrol power, as well as rear- and all-wheel drive, depending on the market in which it is sold.
Mercedes-Benz says it is targeting energy efficiency of 12kWh/100km, for up to 750km of claimed driving range in top-of-the-range, rear-wheel-drive models – thanks to slippery bodywork and new electric motors.
Alongside its “compact” model range-mates, the electric version of the new CLA is due to receive a new in-house developed and produced electric motor.
In the Concept CLA Class, the compact asynchronous unit delivers 175kW to the rear wheels via a two-speed transmission.
Other outputs are planned, including 150kW in a base rear-wheel-drive single-motor electric CLA model and up to 400kW in a dual-motor, all-wheel-drive AMG CLA range-topping model earmarked for launch in 2025.
In a further new development, the German car maker says its third electric sedan is set to offer the choice of lithium iron phosphate (LFP) and lithium-nickel-manganese-cobalt-oxide (NMC) batteries from the beginning of European sales in late 2024 – both featuring new cell chemistry in comparison to the batteries used by electric Mercedes-Benz models today.
The new-generation batteries range in energy capacity between 58kWh and 85kWh, Drive has been told.
The lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery pioneers a new construction technique developed by Mercedes-Benz with its cell modules held in place with adhesive rather than screws for lower weight and more compact packaging.
The new CLA will be the first production car from Mercedes-Benz to support an 800-volt electric architecture – as used by the Porsche Taycan and Hyundai Ioniq 5, among other vehicles – allowing fast charging at up to 250kW.
This enables a 400km extension in driving range for next year’s all-new CLA in 15 minutes, according to Mercedes-Benz.
Additionally, the Concept CLA Class receives bi-directional charging capability, hinting the production version will be able to power external electrical devices – or an entire house in a blackout – with vehicle-to-home (V2H), vehicle-to-grid (V2G) and vehicle-to-load (V2L) tasks.
The electric-car-oriented platform, in-house electric motor and new battery technology – previewed by the Vision EQXX concept car last year – provides the CLA concept and production models with “phenomenal efficiency”, according to Mercedes-Benz.
Mounted within the rear-axle assembly, the electric motor and transmission are integrated into one unit weighing less than 110kg, and feature a silicon carbide inverter claimed to contribute to energy efficiency of up to 93 per cent from battery to wheel at a constant cruising speed, compared to 89 per cent in today’s EQA SUV.. This compares to the 89 per cent efficiency of today’s EQA.
In its most efficient electric form, the new CLA is said to be targeting energy consumption of 12kWh/100km in European WLTP testing, claimed to give it a driving range of up to 750km.
The styling of the new Concept CLA Class provides a lightly-veiled look at the shape and dimensions of the next CLA and its CLA Shooting Brake wagon sibling, due out in 2025.
The exterior builds on the look of today’s model with a more contemporary-looking front end home to a lower-set ‘grille’ featuring an illuminated three-point star.
Newly-shaped headlights are connected by an LED light bar to accentuate the new car’s width, while along the sides there are frameless doors, a less exaggerated bow to the lower window line, and largely unadorned surfacing.
The coupe-inspired roofline of the first two CLA models is retained in combination with a heavily-angled rear window. The new sedan adopts more pronounced haunches over the rear wheels to give it a more confident stance than today’s model.
At the rear, there is a short notchback style boot and new a full-width tail lamp assembly with three-pointed star LED graphics.
Inside, the Concept CLA Class adopts a full-width ‘MBUX Superscreen’ similar to the Vision EQXX concept, with three screens used for the instrument cluster, infotainment touchscreen, and a display for the front passenger.
The system is expected to be retained for the production version, and runs Mercedes-Benz’s new MB.OS operating system with Google Maps navigation among other embedded apps.
Mercedes-Benz says the “chip-to-cloud” infotainment system will be included in all future models starting with the new CLA.
The new CLA concept offers ‘Level 3’ semi-autonomous driving technology – which allows for eyes-off, hands-free driving in certain conditions – but the showroom version is planned to offer ‘Level 2’ assisted driving technology similar to today’s model at launch.
However, Mercedes-Benz says it plans to regularly add new features via over-the-air software updates, opening the possibility of allowing owners to purchase Level 3 capability in the future.
The Concept CLA Class includes a new Child Presence Detection (CPD) system designed to mitigate the risk of young children being left in the car during warm weather.
Using sensors and cameras to detect breathing patterns, it is programmed to first warn then ultimately trigger the air conditioning and sound the horn when it detects the presence of a child in the car without an adult.
European Correspondent
Kable is one of Europe's leading automotive journalists. The Aussie expat lives in Germany and has some of the world's most powerful executives on speed dial.
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Copyright 2023ABN: 84 116 608 158
Copyright 2023ABN: 84 116 608 158
DAP Pricing– Unless otherwise stated, all prices are shown as Manufacturer's Recommended List Price (MRLP) inclusive of GST, exclusive of options and on road costs.


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