Mercedes-Benz revealed its Concept CLA-Class at IAA 2023 in Munich - and it’s not just another showcase electric vehicle. The company introduced an ambitious strategy aimed at redefining what we expect from electric and internal combustion cars alike. Built on the company's Modular Architecture (MMA), the Concept CLA-Class is a peek into the German automaker's electric-first compact car vision.
Let's get right into the car's impressive stats. According to the company, this futuristic electric sedan will offer a robust 466 miles range based on the WLTP cycle. While exact details about its powertrain and battery aren't freely available, Mercedes-Benz hints that the CLA takes cues from the Vision EQXX concept, featuring cutting-edge electric motors and a state-of-the-art Superscreen infotainment system.
The "four-door coupe" shape has been updated with a longer hood and shorter rear deck, giving it a sportier look. All this is highlighted by a dazzling Pomegranate Red paint job. The grille now sports a bottom-feeding design, inspired by the Mercedes-AMG SL roadster and GT sports car. And of course, let's not forget the three-dimensional illuminated stars that adorn the grille, lending the car a jewelry-like glow.
The vehicle's interior has its own list of surprises. Beyond the expected luxury, it features sustainable materials such as Nappa leather tanned with coffee husks and accent fabric made from recycled PET plastic. Even the floor mats are bamboo-based. As for tech, there's the massive dash-spanning Superscreen that comprises three separate displays. It's all powered by MB.OS, Mercedes’ new operating system, boasting a liquid-cooled processor for a faster and smoother user experience.
Now, the numbers. The Concept CLA-Class will feature an 800-volt electrical architecture allowing for 250-kilowatt DC fast charging, which translates to gaining an estimated 248 miles of range in just 15 minutes. The drive unit weighs 243 lb and delivers 235 horsepower. For those who like to do the math, the vehicle’s energy consumption is calculated at 5.2 miles per kWh, which implies a usable battery capacity of about 89.6 kWh.
Mercedes plans to offer two different battery types: a lithium-ion phosphate chemistry for the cost-conscious buyer and a silicon-oxide anode for those wanting higher energy density. Instead of screws, the battery cells are glued into place, saving both weight and materials while enhancing structural integrity.
The MMA platform will soon offer more than just this CLA-Class model. Expect to see two crossovers and a station wagon in the not-too-distant future. And while the price tags for these future models remain under wraps, Mercedes-Benz is giving us all something to look forward to.