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Mercedes Concept CLA Class teases new entry-level Merc

Mercedes’ latest concept car previews a new entry-level electric saloon, set to push the brand upmarket

Mercedes Concept CLA Class - front

Mercedes has just unveiled the new Concept CLA Class, which previews an all-new baby electric saloon that’s designed to steal sales away from the likes of the BMW i4, Hyundai Ioniq 6, Polestar 2 and Tesla Model 3.

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The Mercedes Concept CLA Class marks a stark departure from the brand’s current design philosophy, though the production model – likely to be named the Mercedes CLA – will spearhead an all-new generation of electric Mercs which are set to drop the ‘EQ’ badging as we approach the 2030 petrol and diesel ban.

Of course, an electric powertrain is no use if the new Mercedes saloon has the aerodynamic properties of a Rubik’s Cube. Therefore, just like the current petrol-powered CLA, Mercedes’ latest concept features a sleek, streamlined shape to help boost efficiency. Perhaps its most distinguishing feature, though, is its ‘three-pointed star’ headlights and tailights; Mercedes already is leaning heavily into incorporating its iconic logo into its car designs, with the Concept CLA Class also featuring a light-up star on the grille, too.

Mercedes Concept CLA Class - interior

The flashy lighting continues on the inside, as the Concept CLA Class gets a cabin dressed to the nines in ambient lighting. Three individual screens populate the dashboard and are all incorporated into one glass panel, just like the much larger Hyperscreen seen in the Mercedes EQE saloon. Merc’s trademark turbine-style climate vents feature screens displaying the current temperature, while Mercedes says its upcoming MB.OS infotainment system will allow for a much higher level of personalisation, thanks to built-in artificial intelligence.

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Underneath its svelte bodywork, the production version of the Concept CLA Class will sit on Mercedes’ all-new MME architecture, which brand boss Ola Källenius explained would also underpin “a total of four new models – a four-door coupé (the CLA Class), a shooting brake and two stunning SUVs”. 

Mercedes Concept CLA Class - rear

Mercedes has already revealed to DrivingElectric how its latest electric-car platform will feature several ‘bionically engineered’ parts, with a big focus on providing “[a] greater range from smaller batteries”. With a target of 800 watt-hours per litre of energy density, Mercedes has stated the MMA platform will allow for a range of up to 466 miles, and we expect the production CLA Class to not only get close to, but perhaps even match this figure.

With several other premium brands such as Jaguar looking to push themselves upmarket in this new electric age, Källenius has already indicated that Mercedes is planning to do the same, saying: “The entry point to the Mercedes brand in the future will be a different one than it is today.” We can therefore expect that the new electric baby Benz will be the new base model in the brand’s range when it arrives sometime in the next couple of years.

Pricing is hard to pinpoint at this stage, but expect the production Mercedes CLA Class to at least match the BMW i4’s starting price of around £50,000.

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Hello there, I’m Tom Jervis and I have the pleasure of being the Content Editor here at DrivingElectric. Before joining the team in 2023, I spent my time reviewing cars and offering car buying tips and advice on DrivingElectric’s sister site, Carbuyer. I also continue to occasionally contribute to the AutoExpress magazine – another of DrivingElectric’s partner brands. In a past life, I worked for the BBC as a journalist and broadcast assistant for regional services in the east of England – constantly trying to find stories that related to cars!

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