Closer look at SA-bound Merc CLA

Time of article published Mar 8, 2013

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Mercedes-Benz has just released a new set of pictures of its sleek new CLA, while Mercedes-Benz SA has confirmed that the new compact sedan will go on sale in South Africa in early November, after making its debut at the Johannesburg International Motor Show in October.

Dubbed 'baby CLS', the CLA shares its front-wheel drive architecture with the latest A-Class. It's also slightly longer and wider than the C-Class, meaning that the latter could become significantly bigger when it enters its next generation in 2014.

While the local engine line-up will only be announced closer to launch date, it's unlikely to differ much from the European range - which mirrors that of the A-Class.

The petrol range kicks off with CLA 180 and CLA 200 models, which are both powered by a 1.6-litre turbopetrol engine. The CLA 180 is good for 90kW and 200Nm while the 200 is credited with 115kW and 250Nm. According to claims, the two models will reach 100km/h in 9.3 and 8.6 seconds respectively.

Next up is the CLA 250, powered by a 2-litre turbopetrol that's good for 155kW and 300Nm, a 6.7 second 0-100 and 240km/h top speed.

Of course, AMG will also be getting its crafty hands on the CLA, the end result being a stronger 2-litre turbopetrol model pushing 268kW and 450Nm - through all four wheels - and it'll be capable of a 0-100km/h sprint in the region of 4.6 seconds.

At the more economical end of the scale, Mercedes-Benz will offer two diesel models - a 100kW/300Nm A200 CDI and 125kW/350Nm A220 CDI.

While all but the AMG model are front-wheel driven, the chassis is at least from the top drawer, sporting an independent multilink rear axle with three control arms and one trailing arm on each of the rear wheels.

The CLA's interior appears to be a classy place and comes complete with an Anthracite surface finish - although burr walnut, black ash and aluminium trim will be available as options.

Standard features include a new radar-based braking system that warns the driver of obstacles and anticipates braking force when the driver steps on the brake pedal, as well as an infotainment system that's able to fully integrate with a smartphone.

CLA will also offer an entourage of optional driver assistance systems, such as blind spot assist, lane-keeping assist and an auto-parking system that works for both parallel and perpendicular bays.

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