Mercedes-Benz Concept CLA Class will preview a new generation of cars

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BMW isn’t the only German carmaker that will travel to the Munich Auto Show to preview what its core models will look like in the not-too-distant future. The Mercedes-Benz Concept CLA Class will make its debut at the event to give us an early look at a new family of models.

We’ll need to wait until the show opens its doors to the press on Monday (Sept. 4), to see the Concept CLA Class from every angle, but a dark preview image released by the brand confirms the model looks nothing like the CLA that’s currently in showrooms. It wears a futuristic-looking front end characterized by an oval grille, a light bar, and semi-circle-shaped LED accents with Mercedes-Benz star-like inserts. 

Mercedes-Benz boss Ola Källenius confirmed the Concept CLA Class rides on a new architecture called MMA; the production-bound cars inspired by the design study will use this platform as well. Powertrain specifications haven’t been released, but the company notes power comes from an “ultra-efficient” electric powertrain related to the system that powers the Vision EQXX concept unveiled in January 2022.

That’s significant, because the Vision EQXX covered the 747 miles separating Stuttgart, Germany, and Silverstone, England, on one charge. It’s a concept, bringing it to production as-is isn’t feasible, but the lessons learned during the project will permeate MMA-based cars. “You need to improve every single area. Everything that has a weight needs to become lighter, everything that transfers energy needs to become more efficient, and everything that’s on the outside needs to be as aerodynamic as possible,” Mercedes-Benz told me after I drove the car.

Interior photos haven’t been released, but the Concept CLA Class will inaugurate a new operating system called MB.OS. We’re curious to find out if the Vision EQXX, which featured a dashboard-wide screen and an elegantly minimalist interior, will also influence the cabin layout.

Stay tuned: More details about the Mercedes-Benz Concept CLA Class will emerge in the coming days. As for what’s next, an unverified report from October 2022 claims the first EQXX-inspired, MMA-based car will land in showrooms in 2024 as a CLA-sized electric model.

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