By Otsile Kadiege
At this year’s IAA Mobility 2023, Mercedes-Benz showcased the future CLA with the near-production CLA Class Concept – a concept vehicle that presents the company’s vision to elevate the important vehicle class, based on a long-term portfolio strategy. Designed on the forthcoming Mercedes-Benz Modular Architecture (MMA) platform, the exterior aesthetics of the Concept CLA Class stand for iconic design and dynamic performance. Meanwhile, its interior focuses on the customer experience with exceptional comfort and convenience for an electric and digital future.
On the outside, the CLA Class Concept has a sleek, coupe-like shape with a few design and styling cues borrowed from some of the automaker’s recent concept cars. Highlights include an aggressive-looking front-end with a distinctive seamless “grille” panel and a large illuminated ‘three-pointed star’ badge surrounded by tiny Mercedes-Benz stars. Another highlight is an LED light bar beneath the sculpted bonnet and striking star-shaped LED headlights with a range of animated lighting scenarios.
The sleek glasshouse features chrome applications and striking 21-inch wheels with a distinctive star pattern while the minimalist rear-end mirrors the front design with a LED light bar and star-shaped LED taillights.
High-tech and luxurious interior
Inside, the CLA Class Concept has a unique and eye-catching fusion of analogue and digital. Standout features include the MBUX Hyperscreen comprising three displays spanning the width of the dashboard, next-generation MB.OS (Mercedes-Benz Operating System), a floating centre console, digitised turbine-like air vents, chrome trims and accents, a glass roof with illuminated mini Mercedes-Benz stars, extensive ambient lighting and four bucket seats wrapped with sustainable leather material to name a few.
CLA Class Concept performance
As the first car to be developed on the all-new electric-first Mercedes-Benz MMA platform, the CLA Class Concept points the way for the next-generation electric-drive technology underpinning the series-production model. Mercedes-Benz is targeting a range of more than 750 kilometres (WLTP) and an energy consumption of around 12 kWh/100 kilometres.
The innovative battery system under development for the MMA platform is based on a highly modular architecture whereby customers can choose from two different cell chemistries. The top-level variant features an anode design with silicon-oxide content for excellent energy density. Meanwhile, the entry variant leads the way in the segment with its use of lithium-iron phosphate. The battery itself has a remarkably small overall volume. In a first, its cell modules are held in place using adhesive rather than screws. The resulting structure is not only lighter than a conventional battery configuration; it is also stiffer, which offers benefits in crash safety. Likewise, the 800 V configuration facilitates a high level of electric endurance in a compact package and with lower cooling requirements. The high-voltage configuration also enables high-power 250 kW DC charging, delivering up to 400 kilometres of range in a claimed 15 minutes.
The CLA Class Concept will also feature bidirectional charging – Vehicle-to-Home (V2H) or Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G). One example of V2H is the provision of back-up supply in the event of a power outage, while V2G applications include helping to balance peaks and troughs on the power grid or even the trading of green electricity on the open market. In all situations, the intelligent bidirectional charging system ensures the vehicle has sufficient charge to meet customer needs at specified departure times. Through the option of bidirectional charging at home, Mercedes-Benz is fulfilling the desire of many customers to combine their own individual mobility with a more sustainable way of living.
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