Mercedes-Benz unveils all-electric Concept CLA Class with 750km range at Munich Motor Show
Ultra-efficient all-electric Concept CLA Class, with a claimed range of more than 750km, will come with Superscreen, 250kW charging and 536bhp AMG variant.
Mercedes-Benz has unveiled the new all-electric Concept CLA Class at the Munich Motor Show 2023. The eco-friendly sedan is based on the new Mercedes-Benz Modular Architecture (MMA), and uses a powertrain derived from last year's Vision EQXX concept.
An electric successor to the CLA, this concept is the first of an all-new model lineup of entry luxury cars from Mercedes-Benz. It also boasts of a completely new exterior and interior design philosophy and also debut’s Mercedes’ new operating system.
Based on the new MMA platform, the all-electric CLA will be first to hit production in 2025, and an India launch could be in the same year. Mercedes says the production version will only be ‘lightly altered’ over the concept.
Previews next-gen electric drive technology
Mercedes-Benz says the powertrain on the Concept CLA previews the ‘next-generation electric-drive technology’ for production EVs. Its directly derived from the Vision EQXX, has a claimed range of more than 750km and energy consumption of around 12 kWh/100 kilometres. Mercedes-Benz calls it the ‘one-litre car for the electric age’, in reference to ICE cars that use fewer than one litre of fuel per 100km of travel.
It comprises of 800 V electric architecture that enables 250 kW DC charging, delivering up to 400 kilometres of range in 15 minutes. The battery is available to choose from two different cell chemistries – higher-spec variants feature an anode design with silicon-oxide content while the entry variant makes use of lithium-iron phosphate.
The battery is coupled with a 235hp permanently excited synchronous machine that’s paired with a two-speed transmission. It has a claimed weight of 110kg and energy efficiency of up to 93 percent from battery to wheel in long distance driving.
The MMA platform is an electric-first architecture, but it can also support combustion engine drivetrains. The concept CLA Class is configured for rear-wheel drive, however, the modular design of the powertrain means it is also suitable for all-wheel drive applications.
Additionally, the Concept CLA Class receives bi-directional charging capability, hinting the production version will be able to perform vehicle-to-home (V2H), vehicle-to-grid (V2G) and vehicle-to-appliance (V2A) tasks.
Striking and futuristic-looking new Concept CLA is the first production car from Mercedes-Benz to support an 800-volt electric architecture
As with all concepts, the new Concept CLA looks futuristic and striking. Its low-slung, has a shark nose-like front end and a GT-like rear end with flared wheel arches and a wide track. The front-end is particularly distinctive, characterized by a massive ‘grille’ featuring a lower-set black panel with an illuminated Mercedes emblem at the centre with numerous illuminated and animated stars surrounding it.
Above that is the headlamp cluster – the shape of which resembles a half-cut circle and has the three-pointed star in the centre – that’s connected by an LED light band that even extends over to the front fenders and doors. The front-end is unlike anything we have seen in a Mercedes so far. Along the sides there are frameless doors, a sleek glasshouse, a less exaggerated bow to the lower window line and largely unadorned surfacing.
Further back, the Concept CLA gets a coupé-like roofline in combination with a heavily angled rear screen, giving the new model a sleek profile – this also bears resemblance with the outgoing CLA. The new sedan adopts more pronounced haunches over the rear wheels to give it a more confident stance than outgoing model. At the rear, there is also a short notchback-style boot lid and a full-width wraparound light bar with tube-style LED graphics featuring three-pointed star detailing, just like the front. These bands are made from an innovative material that has a stylish mirrored chrome look when unilluminated.
Inside, the Concept CLA Class adopts a full-width MBUX Superscreen similar to that used by the Vision EQXX. Set to be retained for the production version, it runs Mercedes-Benz's new MB.OS operating system.
Superscreen to be part of all new models
Inside, the Concept CLA Class adopts a full-width MBUX Superscreen similar to that used by the Vision EQXX. Set to be retained for the production version, it runs Mercedes-Benz's new MB.OS operating system. The new chip-to-cloud architecture, which will support Google Maps navigation among other embedded apps, represents a new approach to in-car infotainment for Mercedes-Benz, which says it will be included in all future models starting with the new CLA.
With the Superscreen spanning the entire width of the dashboard, the aesthetics are clearly tech oriented. It has a floating effect and also accentuates the width of the dashboard. One of the coolest things about the interior are its AC vents and its controls – the turbine-like virtual air vents are digitally visualised on the far left and right of the screen while also incorporating a physical control interface. Displayed on the fixed inner ring is the cabin temperature setting. The outer analogue ring emerges from the glass surface and can be turned to adjust the settings.
The elegantly sculpted seats and door upholstery are wrapped in sustainable produced nappa leather in shades of silver and crystal white, while the illuminated blue and violet strips of ambient lighting have been extensively used as highlights. Another highlight is the floating centre arm rest that houses a wireless charger and a cup-holder.
A further new development showcased by the latest Mercedes-Benz concept is the new CLA's Level 3 Lidar-based autonomous driving assistance system. It is not initially planned to appear on the new model, which will initially be limited to Level 2 autonomy, but Mercedes plans to offer regular updates via over-the-air software updates, opening the possibility of allowing owners to purchase Level 3 capability in the future.
Additionally, the Concept CLA Class includes a new Child Presence Detection (CPD) system designed to mitigate the risk of young children being left in the car during warm weather. Using sensors and cameras to detect breathing patterns, it is programmed to first warn then ultimately trigger the air conditioning and sound the horn when it detects the presence of a child without an adult.
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