Every premium manufacturer is on a push for global sales volume. Most industry observers agree that a majority of future growth is going to come from entry-level small cars. And by entry-level we mean new models to slot in below the existing compact class like the BMW 3-series and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
Mercedes has developed a new platform, called the Mercedes Front Architecture (MFA) that will underpin an array of new models. MFA gets its name due to the fact that it is geared toward front-wheel drive vehicles. The first cars to debut on this platform were the A- and B-Class. When the A-Class launched we really hoped that Mercedes would bring it to the United States, but Mercedes had other plans.
Those other plans consist of the CLA sedan and an upcoming small crossover. The CLA has been spied uncovered before, and now new press shots have leaked out on the internet. The CLA looks like we expected it to – much like the concept and a swoopy sedan version of A-Class. Or in other words, stunning. The CLA shows a strong influence from the CLS, looking very much like a miniature version of that car. We have heard a lot of criticism regarding the CLA’s FWD underpinnings, but sources say Mercedes plans to sell the car with only all-wheel drive.
This is a very promising development that will allow for a rear-wheel drive bias. Many people forget that Mercedes is much more of a volume brand in Germany, selling thousands of models to fleets in addition to having MPVs and cargo vans. Europe won’t freak out about an FWD Mercedes – they already have them. Mercedes will be one of the first to market with the sedan in this segment.
Audi won’t be far behind, as they are readying a first-ever A3 sedan, geared toward the United States market. BMW’s plans aren’t certain; some rumors have suggested they plan to one-up everybody else with a small RWD 1-Series sedan. The automotive press will go nuts over this, as it will very much be in the vein of the original 3-Series. For now though, the CLA is looking pretty good. You can check out photos of it in our gallery below.