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2013-01-14 10:31

REBEL IN THE MERC SHOWROOM: Sexy, stylish and stunning rear... and the car's not too bad on the eyes either. Mercedes-Benz baby CLS makes its debut at the 2013 Detroit auto show. Will it capture a younger market?

DETROIT, Michigan - Mercedes-Benz has revealed its compact and lower priced CLA coupe at the 2013 North American  International Auto Show.

The CLA's sleek silhouette shows off the vehicle's frameless doors and sporty looks aimed at young car-buyers. The CLA will apparently be front-wheel drive and based on the MFA platform shared by the next-generation A and B-Class.

Mercedes-Benz design chief Gordon Wagener said: "The CLA is a style rebel. The dynamic design idiom is manifested in breath-taking proportions, muscular, flowing contours and sculptural surfaces."

'TRENDY, YOUNG AT HEART'

The German automaker says it is reaching out to a younger market and hopes its new CLA will earn a reputation for being "trendy" and "affordable". Mercedes-Benz sales chief Joachim Schmidt said: "With the new CLA we will open a completely new gateway to the Mercedes brand in the US.

"Our goal is to repeat the success story of the CLS in a new segment."

Measuring 4.6m long, 1.7m wide and 1.4m high, the CLA is built on the automaker's MFA platform. The model has a MacPherson strut front/independent multilink rear suspension setup, which will be lowered by 20mm at the front and 15mm at the rear for Sport models.

Initially a 1.6 four-cylinder petrol will be offered for the CLA180 model. The powerplant has been co-developed with Renault and develops 90kW.

The first diesel unit, the CLA220 CDI, will be a turbocharged 2.1 capable of 125 kW. The AMG version will feature a tuned 2.0 turbopetrol capable of 260 kW.

IMAGE GALLERY

The CLA250 is set to become Mercedes’ "entry level" sports-sedan.

Schmidt added that the CLA was aimed at the "young at heart" who "value trendy and high-class design, quality and refinement and personal expression through authentic brands".

The interior offers a host of equipment and the multimedia console, clearly aimed at young car-buyers, integrates with an iPhone. The car has plenty of safety aids such as collision warning and prevention, driver drowsiness detection and a radar that warns drivers of obstacles even at low speeds - all functions already available on other models.

The CLA will be sold globally in 2013 and Daimler chief Dieter Zetsche said it would be a "great car" for China and could do well in Asia and Europe.

No word yet whether the CLA will be headed for South Africa.

Stay with Wheels24 as we cover the 2013 North American  International Auto Show in January.


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