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The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class should distill the posh trappings of a proper Benz into a competitive entry-level luxury sedan.
Luxury-car quality and status at a relative bargain.
Badge cachet may only go so far against less expensive rivals.
Available CLA-Class Models
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The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class is an all-new model.
Synonymous with elegance, luxury and its corresponding price, Mercedes-Benz isn't an automaker that you think needs to offer a truly affordable luxury car. The forthcoming introduction of the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class suggests otherwise, however. Slotting below the existing C-Class (and above the compact B-Class, likely to debut in the U.S. next year as an electric vehicle), the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA mimics the coupe-style look made popular by the larger CLS sedan.
The front-wheel-drive CLA uses a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 208 horsepower and a hearty 258 pound-feet of torque, numbers that surpass the output of the current base C-Class sedan's 1.8-liter engine. Power transfers through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. A 2.2-liter diesel engine is likely for Europe and an outside possibility for the U.S. market. All-wheel drive is set to be an option for the CLA about six months after the car's launch.
The production four-door looks not unlike a slightly compressed CLS, with narrow windows, a high beltline and a size similar to the current C-Class. More interesting could be the rumors of a wagon-style variant, with a sloping hatchback-style roof that trades interior volume for style and features four doors rather than two. Seventeen-inch wheels come standard on the CLA, but 18-inch AMG wheels are available with the Sport package.
So far it seems this baby Benz will still have plenty of luxury features. Bluetooth is standard, as is a 5.8-inch display serving as the multimedia interface which includes mbrace2, Mercedes' suite of smartphone-integrated apps and services. A 7-inch display, along with a navigation system and a premium audio system are optional. A panorama-style sunroof, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control and safety features including pre-collision braking, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist and parking assist are also available.
The Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class goes on sale in September, starting with the CLA250. Mercedes executives promise the CLA won't be a stripped-down econo-Benz, but in fact a "real Mercedes-Benz." Expect a sticker price of about $30,000, which would put the CLA in the same group as other compact sport-lux models like the Acura ILX, Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series. Check back for a full review of the 2014 CLA-Class, including specs, driving impressions and buying advice as it becomes available.
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