2023 Mercedes-Benz CLA debuts with mild facelift, mild-hybrid engine tech

The second-generation Mercedes-Benz CLA has just been given a mid-lifecycle update, four years since the model made its debut at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Just as before, the Mercedes-Benz CLA will be offered in two body styles – a four-door coupe, and a shooting brake. And of course, they are still available in a wide variety of powertrain options, including two fire-breathing AMG variants – 35 and 45 S.

Similar to the recently-updated A-Class, design changes here are minimal. Up front, the grille now gets the diamond pin-style star mesh pattern, while the headlights also get a new daytime-running light signature, featuring a segmented bottom half.

Round the back, the tail lights also get a slight tweak to its light signature, alongside a new diffuser at the bottom. But aside from these, the rest of the exterior remains completely unchanged. Both the coupe and shooting brake variants come with 17-inch wheels as standard, but can be sized up to 19-inches as optional items.

ALSO READ: 2022 Mercedes-Benz A-Class updated with mild facelift and new 48V MHEV engines

It’s also the same story on the inside, where the most obvious change is in the form of a new steering wheel, that first made its debut on the new E-Class back in 2020. For the AMG models, the steering wheel also comes with an additional dial for quick access to your performance settings.

The screens on the dashboard also get newly designed displays in three new styles – Classic, Discreet, and Sporty, but more importantly, the MBUX touchpad controller on the centre console has been completely jettisoned, replaced by a shallow storage cubby for your phone.

The headliner changes on the new 2023 Mercedes-Benz CLA are actually found underneath the bonnet, as nearly all petrol engine options now come with a mild-hybrid system, with the only exceptions being the AMG 45 S, and the CLA 250 e plug-in hybrid.

The 48V system, which utilises an integrated belt-driven starter-generator (RSG) unit, is capable of generating a temporary power boost of up to 14 hp when needed. While actual performance figures are unchanged from before, the RSG also allows for a quieter and smoother engine start-up, as well as a ‘sailing’ feature where the combustion engine is shut off during steady cruising.

ALSO READ: Next-gen E-Class to be last ICE-only car by Mercedes-Benz, set for 2023

The powertrain line-up for the standard CLA-class remains unchanged from before, with a total of four petrol, three diesel, and the aforementioned plug-in hybrid variants on offer.

For us Malaysians, we are perhaps more familiar with the 1.3-litre turbocharged inline-four-powered CLA 200 with 163 hp and 270 Nm, as well as the CLA 250 with a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which makes an unchanged 224 hp and 350 Nm, since they’re both also shared with the A Class. Both of these powertrains are paired to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission as standard.

As for the AMG variants, the Mercedes-Benz CLA 35 is now also equipped with the RSG mild-hybrid tech, and is now paired to an eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox, replacing the previous 7DCT unit. Meanwhile, the CLA 45 variant has now been dropped, leaving the CLA 45 S variant at the top of the range.

As with the regular line-up, performance figures here have remained unchanged – the mild-hybrid-equipped CLA 35 makes 306 hp and 400 Nm, while the angry A 45 S puts out 420 hp and 500 Nm from its 2.0-litre turbocharged inline-four petrol engine.

As part of the launch, Mercedes-Benz will be offering a limited-edition model for the 45 S 4Matic+ variants, dubbed the “AMG Street Style Edition”. The special edition model, pictured here in Mountain Grey Magno paintwork, features unique decals on the outside, plust luorescent orange accents on the interior.

Here in Malaysia, the second-generation Mercedes-Benz CLA was only offered in the four-door coupe AMG 45 S variant, and it’ll most likely stay that way here for the 2023 update here in our market, unfortunately.



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