Mercedes-Benz is no longer the highest selling luxury car brand in the country. In fact Merc is not even incontention;the battle for the top is between BMW and Audi. Even the global numbers reveal a similar story the three-pointed-star is lagging behind. Their plan is to get back to the top in India by 2016 and their new range based on MFA (Modular Front-wheel Architecture) will spearhead the challenge in this all-German battle.
Mercedes-Benz are perceived as ‘old man’s cars’ due to their conservative styling. Also the BMW and Audi are relatively new and carry a bit more of novelty value. But this has not hurt Merc as much as the fact that they don’t have an entry-level sedan or crossover, like the BMW X1 and the Audi Q3. This is changing with the new MFA platform; the B-Class is the first front-wheel-drive Mercedes car in India and soon we will have another hatchback, entry-level sedan and a compact crossover based on the same architecture.
The new front-wheel-drive sedan christened as the CLA will be launched in India later this year. The 2014 CLA unveiled at the 2013 Detroit Motor Show is Mercs new entry-level sedan that will be positioned below the C-Class. It is basically a sedan version of the A-Class, which will also be launched here in the next few months.
The CLA shares many of its design cues with the A-Class like the floating dots grille, massively sculpted air intakes and chin spoiler that sits rather prominently in the front. Mercedes has really been working hard on giving the car clean sculpted lines and this is very evident on the side and in the back especially the rear bumper and the rather sharp looking boot lid. The company also said that the CLA has a drag coefficient of 0.23 – that is the lowest among any series production vehicle.
The interiors of the CLA are similar to that of the A-Class hatchback. The company has not revealed the features list as yet, the same will be announced at the Geneva Motor Show in March, where the car will make its first public appearance.
The CLA will be offered with three petrol engine options producing 122bhp (CLA 180) 156bhp (CLA 200) and 211bhp (CLA 250)( in the pictures) and one diesel mill which produces 170bhp (CLA 220 CDI). Power will be transmitted to the wheels via a seven-speed dual clutch gearbox and the (optional) 4matic four-wheel drive system. Mercedes will also launch a performance version of the sedan called the CLA 45 AMG. Similar to the A45 AMG, this will also be 335bhp version that will be unveiled at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show.
Mercedes-Benz will launch the CLA in India around September, just before the festive season. The sedan will be assembled in India at their Chakan facility and the prices for the petrol version should start around Rs 25 lakh.