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Mercedes CLA facelift brings new hybrid and infotainment tech

Mercedes has revealed a facelifted version of its swooping CLA, with revised exterior styling and mild-hybrid technology

  • Tweaked headlight and bumper designs
  • Petrol and diesel models get mild-hybrid tech
  • Due on sale later in 2023

Following a recent update to the A-Class hatchback in 2022, the closely-related Mercedes CLA has received a facelift for 2023. This refresh includes an upgraded infotainment system as well as tweaked exterior styling and a range of electrified powertrains.

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As before, the Mercedes CLA is available in both ‘Coupe’ saloon and ‘Shooting Brake’ estate bodystyles. Those with keen eyes will be able to identify the facelifted cars via their revised LED light signatures and wider, more aggressive front bumpers. As well as a star-studded grille taken from the new Mercedes C-Class, there are also a handful of new paint colours available, including the striking Hyper Blue and Spectral Blue, which are exclusive to the CLA lineup. Buyers can specify one of three sets of redesigned alloy wheels, ranging from 17 to 19 inches in diameter.

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On the inside, there are more subtle changes; a redesigned Nappa leather steering wheel boasts touch-sensitive controls and even small screens on high-performance AMG models. While the new CLA’s dual-screen infotainment setup may look familiar to those who have spent time in the old car, these now run Merc’s latest MBUX software. All models get a widescreen 10.25-inch touchscreen as standard as well as a seven-inch digital instrument cluster, which can be upgraded to match the touchscreen in size for an additional cost.

The facelifted CLA debuts Mercedes’ new ‘comfort seat’ which is constructed using recycled materials. Entry-level cars will boast faux-leather and suede upholstery, while mid-spec ‘Progressive’-trim models will have a choice of three colours: Black, Macchiato Beige and Sage Grey. Top-spec AMG-Line cars get an even wider choice of upholstery; there are five interior colours to choose from, with the base car’s faux-leather and suede getup also being available in Bahia Brown in AMG-Line cars.

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As is often the case with premium German cars, buyers can choose from a long list of paid optional extras. The new Burmester sound system is compatible with Dolby Atmos for improved atmospheric sound, while the updated Parking Package provides 360-degree visuals of the car by utilising the CLA’s several external cameras.

While Mercedes continues to expand its fully-electric EQ-badged lineup, its array of petrol and diesel powered models are slowly receiving additional forms of electrification, too – and now it’s the turn of the CLA. All petrol and diesel versions of the Mercedes CLA now benefit from 48-volt mild hybrid assistance; this utilises a small electric motor and battery to take the strain off the combustion engine in order to provide extra power and greater fuel economy.

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Aimed primarily at company car drivers – or those looking for the ultimate in efficiency, for that matter – the CLA 250e plug-in hybrid model has also benefited from the 2023 update. While power remains the same as before at 215bhp, the plug-in CLA’s electric range has increased to a maximum of 50 miles (up from 45 miles). The maximum AC charging speeds are also now up to 11kW (from 7.4kW), while DC charging still tops out at 22kW, allowing for a 10-80% top-up of the battery in around 25 minutes.

All versions of the Mercedes CLA come with either a seven- or eight-speed DCT automatic gearbox. At this stage, it’s unknown which models will be coming to the UK, although it is confirmed that the high-performance CLA 35 and CLA 45 variants will be returning. Aside from racier styling and figure-hugging sport seats, these models differentiate themselves via their fire-breathing 2.0-litre turbocharged four cylinder engines. Despite the CLA 35 now benefiting from mild-hybrid technology, the power outputs of both cars remain the same as before, at 302bhp and 415bhp respectively.

Pricing for the updated Mercedes CLA is yet to be announced, but we can expect a small uptick from the outgoing car’s £35,220 base price – Shooting Brake models are likely to continue to demand a premium of around £1,000. Regardless, this remains more than rivals such as the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe and Audi A3 saloon, though the facelifted CLA’s slinky shape is likely to continue to tempt buyers away from the competition when it eventually goes on sale later in 2023.

Looking to make that jump to electric power? Check out our list of the top 10 best electric cars

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