NAIAS 2013 Preview: 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class

During the week leading up to the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, The Driving Life will focus on the big news to expect from automakers, including vehicle launches and model updates.

Already set to unveil a “refreshed” E-Class, Mercedes-Benz’s biggest reveal in Detroit will be the production version of its all-new CLA-Class. Currently in production and set to hit showrooms by the middle of this year, the CLA-Class is the smallest vehicle series ever released by Mercedes-Benz in the United States.

Mercedes has not released much information about the CLA-Class, despite the leak of a few pictures. What is known for now is that there will be an AMG model – the CLA45 AMG – equipped with a 330-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine. A seven-speed dual-clutch transmission will also be standard across the models.

There is still some speculation as to whether the 4MATIC all-wheel drive system will be standard on all models, not just the AMG, or an available option. Mercedes-Benz typically uses a front-wheel drive platform on its compacts overseas. However, the expected base model will be the CLA250 and will come equipped with a turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with 211 horsepower.

Mercedes-Benz is definitely going to push the CLA launch hard, which is a direct competitor with the BMW 1 Series and the Audi A3. Be on the lookout for the model’s big launch ad in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLVII on Feb. 3.

Follow The Driving Life for exclusive, live coverage of NAIAS 2013 beginning Monday, Jan. 14.

[Sources: Mercedes-Benz]