by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

REPORT: Merc's future compact 4-door coupe to be called CLA, not CLC

For about one year, whenever we have mentioned the future compact class 4-door coupe model of Mercedes-Benz, we have referred to it as the CLC. The first confirmation of the respective title came in late April 2011 - then, a picture showcasing the forthcoming vehicles to be assembled at the Kecskemet plant was released by Daimler AG. Just recently, during his speech at the opening ceremony of the new Hungarian production facility, Dr. Dieter Zetsche is reported to have clearly stated a new name for the C 117 project: CLA.

Early speculations on the new niche version, dating from 2009 and 2010, were talking about the possible badges such as CLA or BLS. The latter was dropped due to the similarity with the medium-sized limousine from the American constructor Cadillac. Moreso, the CLA sounded unlikely if we follow the entitling rule of the CLS, which is the 4-door coupe of the E-Class range placed below the S-Class. So, the CLC instantly came into focus, even though it was strongly related to the revamped, W 203-based 3-door hatchback variant of the C-Class W 204 generation, which has hardly been a popular model and was phased out early last year at the debut of the new C-Coupe.

Now, the CLA name might sound a but confusing at first, because it does not obey the CLS principle, but we agree the "A" particle makes the car closer to one of the pioneers of the new compact portfolio of Mercedes-Benz: the A-Class. So, from now on, we shall too associate the C 117 with the CLA.

First details on the new CLA-Class should be released during summer, whereas the official public unveiling could take place either at the Mondial de l'Automobile 2012 in Paris (29th September to 14th October) or Los Angeles Auto Show (30th November to 9th December). With an estimated entry price of €28,000 in Germany and underpinned by the new Mercedes Frontwheel Architecture, the CLA will display a complete array of frugal, low-displacement petrol and diesel engines, from 109 hp CLA 180 CDI up to the range-topping 211 hp CLA 250 variant. Next year, the lineup will be further enriched with a hot version from Affalterbach: the CLA 25 AMG is to feature a 350 hp 4-cylinder supercharged engine featuring F1-inspired technology and a permanent sports all-wheel-drive traction system. Production for the CLA starts at Kecskemet during third quarter of 2012, while market launch is scheduled for early 2013.

Image Credits: Autobild

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