Prototypes of the third-generation Mercedes CLA are already on the road ahead of the close-to-production concept’s official unveiling at the IAA in Munich.
As announced before, the third generation Mercedes CLA will be the first model of the new compact generation to use the new MMA (Modular Mercedes Architecture) platform. As Mercedes will drop the A-Class and B-Class, the other models based on the MMA platform will be the successors of the CLA Shooting Brake, GLA, and GLB. All four models will be part of the Entry Level range. The electric versions of these models will be called EQC, EQC Shooting Brake, EQA, and EQB. So, the EQC is not the electric version of the C-Class but of the CLA.
The MMA platform will replace the conventional front-wheel drive MFA2 (Modular Front Architecture 2) platform which is the evolution of the first generation MFA. The MMA platform uses 800V architecture, has a silicon-carbide inverter, permanent magnet synchronous electric motors with scalable length, oil-cooled (new generation ATS 2.0), and mated with a two-speed gearbox.
The future Mercedes EQC will be available in versions with one motor on the rear axle or with two motors in combination with Li-Ion or LFP (Li-Ion phosphate) batteries. The batteries produced in cooperation with Farasis, CATL, and SILA and assembled by Mercedes will have a capacity of around 100 kWh and Mercedes promises a range of over 700 km.
Mercedes has confirmed that the MMA platform can also accommodate the new generation of 3- and 4-cylinder engines developed by Mercedes and produced in China by Geely in a new, state-of-the-art, high-capacity plant. The new engine family, codenamed M252, will use 48V technology with a starter generator integrated between the engine and the gearbox. Mercedes CEO, Olla Kallenius, did not disclose whether the MMA platform-based models will also have Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) versions.
Some sources say the new generation M252 engine will not be used for propulsion but as a generator in a range extender (REx) propulsion system that will be used in countries where the charging station network is underdeveloped. Geely already uses this propulsion system in the Galaxy L7 SUV and Galaxy L8 limousine.
The interior of the Mercedes CLA will be inspired by the EQXX concept and will have a full-width display on the entire dashboard. Ola Kallenius told British magazine Autocar that a full dashboard display is a must and that in the future all Mercedes models will have such a display.
The future Mercedes CLA will be slightly larger than the current generation and will be around 4,700 mm long with a wheelbase of 2,800 mm (4,690 mm and 2,729 mm in the current generation). The design will be inspired by the Vision EQXX concept with a new shark-nose radiator grille set low in the front bumper. Optionally, the grille will be illuminated. The rear window is steeply raked as on the current generation and the LED taillights will be joined by a light strip as on the EQS.
Production will take place in Europe, in Kecsemet (Hungary) and Rastatt (Germany), in China, and in the US.