The most affordable models in the Mercedes-Benz lineup are going all-electric with a sleek new design and an incredible new cabin layout. How do we know? We’ve had a close look at the brand’s new Concept CLA Class, recently unveiled at the Munich Auto Show. Reading between the lines, this is an early look at the next-generation 2025 Mercedes-Benz CLA sedan.
Not only that, but this concept car will spawn an entire model line of long-range, affordable Mercedes EVs. Expect to see similar design, tech, specs and interior features across the brand’s full range of entry-level models – the CLA, GLA, A-Class, and maybe GLB – beginning in 2025.
Hot Entry-Level EVs From Mercedes?
A purpose-built EV from Mercedes-Benz that looks this good and comes in at a friendly entry-level price? That’s certainly worth waiting for. Remember that Mercedes launched its modern EV offensive with a barrage of high-end luxury machines, including the S-Class rivalling EQS sedan and the huge EQS SUV. The most affordable of these new EQ models – the EQE sedan – starts at $85,600. Yes, we’re leaving the little EQB SUV out of this group; that’s because it’s not built on a dedicated EV platform like the brand’s high-end electric models
What’s the Driving Range of the Concept CLA Class?
The all-important driving range stat is where the benefits of having a dedicated EV platform really become apparent. The next-gen 2025 Mercedes CLA Class could have massive range if this concept is any indication. The company claims this car can travel more than 750 kilometres on a single charge (per the generous WLTP cycle). 750 km! In a compact car! If they can follow-though on those numbers with a production car, it will be seriously impressive.
For reference, the current EQB SUV offers roughly 350 km of range. You can see why a dedicated platform is so important; when you build a car around its batteries, you can fit in a bigger battery pack, and make the whole car more efficient. The company claims a very frugal energy consumption of just 12 kWh/100 km with a single rear-mounted 235 horsepower motor.
The concept has 800V architecture for ultra-fast recharging. Mercedes says it can gain up to 400 kilometres of range in just 15 minutes of charging. Not only that, but the concept could send power back to the grid or power your house in an emergency, thanks to Vehicle-to-Home (V2H) and Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) bi-directional charging.
Enough Numbers, What About the CLA’s All-New Interior?
Despite the car’s compact proportions, the cabin looks spacious and airy. That’s thanks in large part to the electric architecture, and the fact Mercedes’ design team has paired the cabin down to what really matters. There’s no clutter in here taking up space. A glowing, cantilevered armrest sits between a pair of sculptural front seats.
The new MBUX Superscreen goes from door-to-door, and features a mini-LED display and immersive 3D graphics, first shown in the VISION EQXX concept. The Superscreen is housed in an impressive aluminum unibody enclosure that makes it look like a giant iPhone. The display’s real-time graphics are powered by the Unity Game Engine, which is said to help bring this huge screen to life.
What’s That Glowing “MB.OS” Cube in the Dashboard?
The MB.OS is an in-house operating system developed by Mercedes. The glowing cube under the dashboard is a supercomputer-level water-cooled chip, co-developed with NVIDIA, that houses the new OS. As Mercedes explains, “This powerful partnership will help equip every vehicle built on the MMA platform with a supercomputer. MB.OS uses artificial intelligence and machine learning powered by the latest-generation chips and system-on-chips (SoCs) and is supported by highly advanced sensors and the Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Cloud.”
With this chip, the company wants your car to become, “an entertainment and gaming centre, a productivity zone, a private oasis, even part of a server farm and the energy grid.”
More practically, MB.OS should also allow cars to feel newer, for longer, with more software updates and after-sales upgrades. In geek-speak, Mercedes explains the system like this: “This proprietary chip-to-cloud architecture represents a completely new approach for the company and will be a largely hidden yet defining aspect of all its future vehicles. The core of MB.OS is to decouple hardware and software and to make software development faster and more adaptable.” Sounds good to us, but it’s easier said than done.
The upcoming MMA platform will be the first to fully feature MB.OS. (It has nothing to do with mixed martial arts; MMA stands for Mercedes-Benz Modular Architecture.)
Of course, these impressive specs and features are all theoretical at the moment, since the Concept CLA Class is just that, a concept. We’ll get to see how the real car stacks up in 2025, but it would be very un-Mercedes to overpromise and underdeliver.