Do not get too attached to the car you see here – unless you can have it. It’s the new Mercedes-Benz CLA in (we think pretty cool).
Despite being based on the new-gen A-class, ostensibly the firm’s most compact cars, Smart aside, the CLA is actually longer and wider than a C-class. Over the old CLA, the new one is a couple of inches (around 50mm) longer and wider, sitting on wider tracks and a slightly longer wheelbase.
The growth spurt has done more for the car’s looks – its proportions look better than ever while the CD has come down to an impressive 0.23 – than its practicality. There’s more elbow and shoulder room inside, on official figures, but expect room to stretch out in the back and you are likely to be disappointed: the new version offers just 1mm more rear legroom. And while boot width has increased markedly, overall capacity is actually slightly less than before. The message is clear: the CLA puts its signature coupe style above all else.
It’s not difficult to understand why. Since the model’s arrival in 2013 its rakish looks have been its secret for attracting not just younger buyers to the Mercedes fold but also enticing a majority of them into the CLA from rival makes. In the US – where the CLA was the first A-class variant to go on sale – the model has been key in rejuvenating the Mercedes image. Two thirds of all sales have been “conquest sales” to buyers whose age is 10 years younger than the brand’s average, and it has been a similar picture in Europe. When seen against total CLA sales of 750,000 it is easy to understand how important a money-spinner this car has become to Mercedes.