The luxury carmaker has a big push into the more affordable end of the market. It has announced the A-Class hatch for Australia from 2013 with prices around $30,000 and this week unveils a pre-production four-door sedan version, called Concept Style Coupe by Mercedes but simply dubbed the CLA.
But Mercedes Australia says we won't see the new sedan until 2014. Based on the A-Class platform, the CLA is a mini-CLS with a low-roof profile, tapered roofline and long overhangs.
Mercedes plans the CLA to share drivetrains with the A-Class but has dropped a clanger by announcing the possibility of an all-wheel drive version with a 156kW four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine.
The head of Mercedes-Benz Cars and chairman of parent company Daimler AG, Dr Dieter Zetsche, says the CLA will become "the model against which sporty vehicles in the executive segment will have to measure themselves in future''.
The CLA has its official world premiere on April 23 at Auto China in Beijing. The show car wears 21-inch wheels with perforated pins on the spokes to follow the diamond-theme of the radiator grille.
It has frameless side windows and no B-pillar. It also has four individual seats with integrated head restraints that are shared with the sports version of the A-Class.