Mercedes-Benz unveiled the Concept CLA-Class electric vehicle in Munich on Sunday, September 3. The current naming conventions and hints of it being “nearing production” indicate that these features may appear in the forthcoming CLA redesign. Manufacturing of the new luxury electric car is set to start in late 2024, hinting at a 2025 release as the Mercedes-Benz CLA in the U.S. market.
Additionally, there are plans for three other models, including a wagon variant that might not make it to our shores and two luxury SUVs that could potentially replace the GLA and GLB.
2025 Mercedes-Benz Concept CLA-Class Preview
The Concept CLA retains its iconic “four-door coupe” shape but with sportier tweaks, like a longer hood and shorter rear deck. Its striking Pomegranate Red paint adds to the appeal. Notably, it features a more pronounced grille inspired by Mercedes-AMG models, adorned with illuminated stars for a jewelry-like touch.
Mercedes’ Sensual Purity design language is evident, with sleek lines and a curved rear end, complemented by flared fenders and chrome accents. The full-width LED tail and headlamps stand out with three-pointed daytime running lights. However, the stepped-nose front, resulting from the grille design, may be the car’s only styling misstep.
The Concept CLA draws inspiration from the Vision EQXX, embracing sustainability and cutting-edge technology. Its interior boasts eco-friendly features, such as Nappa leather made from coffee husks, shimmering purple fabric crafted from recycled PET plastic, and lab-grown silk accents.
Even the floor mats are bamboo-based, while door pulls and armrest trim come from recyclable paper. The iconic Mercedes laurel wreath is embroidered on the seats, adding a playful touch.
The centerpiece of the Mercedes-Benz Concept CLA-Class is the expansive Superscreen infotainment system, spanning the dashboard with three separate displays: an instrument cluster and touchscreens in the center and for the passenger.
These seemingly turbine-like HVAC vents serve as dials for dual-zone climate control, with airflow discreetly emerging from behind the floating Superscreen.
Powering the infotainment is MB.OS, Mercedes’ new operating system, equipped with a liquid-cooled processor for swift performance, sharp visuals, and enhanced functionality, is prominently displayed on the firewall.
Mercedes will introduce this EV in single-motor rear-drive and dual-motor all-wheel drive models, but it’s unclear whether ICE cars will adopt a similar configuration. The Mercedes-Benz Concept CLA-Class showcases a 235-hp rear-mounted motor using MB.EDU technology from the Vision EQXX concept, designed for using minimal rare-earth materials.
Unlike traditional setups, it employs a two-speed transmission for enhanced efficiency across speed ranges, utilizing an 800-volt architecture for greater efficiency. A next-gen heat pump manages powertrain heat and extracts outdoor air heat for cabin comfort, even in winter.
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Performance, Range Charging
Performance-wise, it boasts an estimated 750 km (466 miles) range and ultra-low 12 kWh per 100 km consumption on the WLTP test cycle, roughly equivalent to 400 miles and 150 MPGe in EPA terms. The 800-volt system enables 250 kW DC fast-charging for around 200 miles in 15 minutes. Though the battery size remains undisclosed, it’s likely around 90.0 kWh.
Two battery chemistries will be offered, with silicon-oxide anodes for a longer range in the pricier version and lithium-iron-phosphate for the entry-level, offering a lower kWh rating but still an impressive range, likely around 400 miles.
Level 3 Self-driving Capability
A distinctive design element, a subtle roof hump, may go into production on the next CLA. It houses sensors for future Level 3 automated driving, although this feature won’t be active at launch. With upgradable MB.OS software, the car is poised to become “Level 3-ready” down the line.
Details about the CLA-Class production model are forthcoming. Stripping away a fanciful design, it remains an impressive concept with excellent mechanics, promising efficiency, range, and charging. Specifics like the entry-level battery, AWD power, gas engine options, and pricing will be revealed later, but Mercedes is expanding its EV lineup at lower price points.