With the Beijing debut of the Concept Style Coupe behind it, Mercedes-Benz is busy working on the production version of the car, dubbed the CLA, and we managed to get a few shots of it testing. The CLA will be based on the same MFA architecture that will underpin the new A- and B-Classes of vehicle. The architecture will support all manner of front- and all-wheel drive models, including hatchbacks, coupes, at least one crossover, and at least one four-door model, the CLA. Motivation for the CLA will come from either a gasoline- or diesel-powered engine, some sort of plug-in hybrid, a natural-gas-burning engine, and a possible hydrogen fuel-cell setup. Current gas engines range from a 1.6-liter rated at 112 horsepower to a 2.2-liter, 211 horsepower unit, and the diesels range from a 1.6-liter unit that makes 109 horsepower to a 2.2-liter unit that makes 170. It's also possible that the CLA will spawn a CLA25 AMG model, which would use a 2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged four cylinder that makes 350 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. As for the design, both the spy shots and the Concept Style Coupe from last month's Beijing show a car with a four-door coupe bodystyle heavily influenced by the bigger CLS. That means framelesswindows, a long, sloping roofline, a blunt front end with oversized three-pointed star and inset mesh grille, and curvy, triangular rear taillights. This particular tester wore a pretty large piece of cladding on its trunklid--an homage to the Bangle butt, perhaps--but the Concept Style Coupe suggests the final product will have a smaller, creased lip spoiler out back. Expect to see more about the CLA over the coming year: we expect it'll begin production in about 12 months, which would suggest a summer or fall 2013 release.
Subscribe to the magazine and save up to 84% off the newsstand pricesubscribe