Mercedes-Benz Concept CLA Class unveiled – 750km range, 250kW DC charging, roof-mounted LiDAR

Mercedes-Benz has just unveiled its Concept CLA Class, showing us a close-to-production insight into its next-generation entry-level vehicles. Mercedes-Benz Group AG Board of Management Chairman, Ola Kaellenius said the Concept CLA Class is a preview of the brand’s upcoming all-electric range of entry-level vehicles. The range will comprise a total of four new models, which include a four-door coupé, a shooting brake, and two SUVs.

On the outside, the Mercedes-Benz Concept CLA Class features a dynamic-looking front-end design with strong forward lean. Its A-shaped grille together with the three-point star emblem are both illuminated, giving out strong futuristic vibes.

Speaking of the three-point star, Mercedes-Benz has also implemented it into the Concept CLA Class’ headlights, rear lights, 21-inch wheels, and even its glass roof that lets you see the stars at night. Just in case you prefer even more lighting, there are also light stips above the car’s front and rear wheel arches.

Mercedes-Benz Group AG Chief Design Officer, Gorden Wagener said, “The Concept CLA Class marks the start of a new era. It reinterprets iconic elements of the brand’s rich design heritage to craft a whole new face of Mercedes-Benz. Here, the sporty forward lean of the distinctive shark nose from the 50s and 60s pairs with a new signature graphic for the electric age. The composition enhances the so-called eyebrow of the daytime running light with a stylised star. The star motif repeats as animated light bands in the A-shape grille design. These are defining features of our future look.”

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Powering the Mercedes-Benz Concept CLA Class will be the Mercedes-Benz Electric Drive Unit (MB.EDU). In the case of the Concept CLA Class will be an in-house developed 234 hp (175 kW) electric motor, a 2-speed transmission, and power electronics.

The power electronics include a single processor that controls both the motor and transmission. It also features a silicon carbide inverter for efficient power usage, resulting in the MB.EDU weighing less than 110 kilograms. During long-distance drives, the in-house developed drive unit can deliver up to 93% energy efficiency from battery to wheels, thanks to the meticulous minimisation of losses.

The top-level variant Mercedes-Benz Concept CLA Class is fitted with a battery with a silicon-oxide-based anode design, which is said to be designed for excellent energy density. The entry-level variant on the other hand comes with a Lithium-iron phosphate battery.

Cell modules are held in place using adhesive rather than screws, which the brand says results in a structure that is lighter than a conventional battery configuration. To make the car safer in the case of a crash, the battery has also been made stiffer.

Said to be the new “one-litre car” of the electric era, Mercedes-Benz claims that its Concept CLA Class can deliver over 750 km of WLTP range, with consumption of around 12 kWh/100 km. Being the first Mercedes-Benz to utilise an 800V architecture, the car is enabled to support up to 250 kW DC charging, which can deliver up to 400 km of range in just 15 minutes.

Inside, the Mercedes-Benz Concept CLA Class is equipped with seats upholstered in sustainably produced and processed Nappa leather. There will also be a new Mercedes-Benz Operating System (MB.OS), which will bring a new user interface (UI) and user experience (UX).

Putting the new MB.OS to life will be the MBUX Superscreen which is derived from the display found in the Vision EQXX. The display can also offer real-time graphics powered by the Unity Game Engine. With a longer wheelbase, the Mercedes-Benz Concept CLA Class has also been claimed to offer more knee room, along with increased headroom.

Thanks to the Mercedes-Benz Modular Architecture (MMA) platform and the car’s LiDAR technology, the Concept CLA Class is equipped with SAE Level 2 equivalent of advanced driver assistance system on virtually all types of roads. Mercedes-Benz says that the MB.OS software and its computing power are generally ready for an SAE Level 3 system upgrade.

This is possible for vehicles equipped with a comprehensive sensor set including a LiDAR sensor and redundancies for vital vehicle systems. Mercedes-Benz has also added Child Presence Detection (CPD) which is a safety feature that mitigates risks of young children being accidentally left in vehicles during warm weather, a feature that will prove itself beneficial in Malaysia.

Closer to home, the Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 S 4MATIC+ is currently on sale in Malaysia with a starting price of RM495,888. It features a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine, paired to an eight-speed AMG Speedshift dual-clutch transmission, making 421 hp and 500 Nm.

Feeling excited for Mercedes-Benz’s future “entry-level” models? Share with us your thoughts in the comments!

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