Undisguised and unwrapped, the new Mercedes Benz CLA premium compact sedan was recently caught on test. This eagerly awaited CLA four door coupe was revealed for the first time ahead of Detroit Auto Show. Set to attract a target group of those with no intentions of buying a Mercedes vehicle, the CLA will compete with VW Jetta, about to be released Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series saloon. Now, the Concept Style Coupe based Mercedes-Benz CLA production has gotten underway at the Kecskemét Hungary plant alongside the B-Class sports tourer that was recently launched in India.
CLA is developed under code name C117 and is the third model to be based on a new modular front wheel drive platform after the Mercedes Benz B Class second generation and A Class third generation. CLA will be offered with transverse engine and front wheel drive system while select models will also be offered with 4Matic four wheel drive in certain markets. The top of the line CLA45 AMG will be fitted with a turbocharged 2.0 liter four cylinder engine offering 349 bhp. Its diesel counterpart will be the CLA220 CDI which will be powered by a 168 bhp 2.1 liter turbodiesel engine.
CLA will come in with a host of safety systems achieving five star EuroNCAP ratings. Standard systems will include drowsiness detecting Attention Assist and radar based Collision Prevention Assist while a host of airbags will also be provided. Optional safety features will include Distronic Plus while the Adaptive Highbeam Assist and Tracking Package are also offered as per customer’s demands.
Dr. Dieter Zetsche had this to say, “The CLA is based on the Concept Style Coupe, which we introduced last year. The most frequent comment by far was ‘Please put this car into series production.’ That’s precisely what we are doing now.” With respect to the excellent performance of the Kecskemét plant’s team, Zetsche said: “More than 40.000 B-Class vehicles built here prove that you know how to build great cars. You are doing a first-class job here at the plant.” Zetsche also expressed the company’s special thanks to all Hungarian partners in the political, administrative and social areas for the continuous, constructive partnership: “We’re on a good way to reach our common goal – Kecskemét is developing as a center of the Hungarian automotive industry.”
Plant manager Frank Klein said, “The plant’s entire team can’t wait to get the CLA to our customers as perfectly as the B-Class cars we build in Kecskemét. We aim to follow up seamlessly on what we achieved in our first, very successful production year of 2012.” Last year, the Kecskemét plant had reached the first goal to produce more than 40.000 vehicles as planned, thus making an important contribution to the B-Class’ best-ever annual sales (worldwide sales of 145,649 units, more than 11 percent over the previous sales record in 2006).