Production of the sleek new Mercedes-Benz CLA began last week at a plant that opened less than a year ago in Kecskemét, Hungary, which also produces the Mercedes-Benz B-Class.
The coupe-styled CLA four-door sedan is based on the Concept Style Coupe, introduced last year at the Beijing auto show. Following a brief invitation-only appearance on the eve of the Detroit auto show, the CLA made its official world premiere at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Berlin in mid-January.
According to Dr. Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the Daimler board of management and head of Mercedes-Benz cars, "The most frequent comment by far (concerning the Concept Style Coupe) was, 'please put this car into series production.' That's precisely what we are doing now."
And – hold the gasps of disbelief – it's the first Mercedes with front-wheel-drive to be sold on this continent. Rear-wheel-drive purists needn't fear, however, for the company's 4Matic AWD system is an available option.
The CLA's styling parallels that of the larger CLS model, the design of which has spawned more than its share of imitators since its debut in 2003.
So sleek is it that the CLA boasts a Cd (Coefficient of Drag) of just 0.23, making it the most aerodynamic current series-production automobile in the world.
In keeping with its sporty demeanour and positioning, the CLA will be available with a high-torque turbo engine and sports suspension, as well as 4Matic.
Its technical highlights include the availability of multiple driving assistance systems including advanced Collision Prevention Assist.
The new CLA is scheduled to arrive at dealerships in Canada in September 2013.