Holy cow! What are we talking here? A front drive three pointed star!

The Mercedes CLA 250 

Mercedes has been making front wheel drive cars in Europe for quite some time. But in good ol, US of A, Merc has stuck with rear wheel drive and sedans, wagons and SUVs. Now that’s going to change with the introduction of the 250 CLA. To the uninitiated, the CLA is a three fifth scale CLS – essentially an oxymoronic four door coupe.

The target customer in a CLA.

A four door front driver Mercedes has soldiered on in the EU in the form of an A or a B class. Based on the B-class front drive hatchback, the CLA is a well thought reaction to the tightening of CAFE regulations. Given its ‘prestige’ status and Americans’ dislike of hatchback body styles left Daimler-Benz with no choice but to graft a trunk onto a B-class. In doing so, it gives starter consumers a lower price point entry into the Mercedes family while it allows the C Class to move upwards – both in size and price.

Now that Mercedes has set a precedent, it won’t take long for BMW and Cadillac to make their own versions of the CLA. BMW made a smaller hatchback with the 1-series but timidly stuck to a rear-driver. Its a no-brainer that the next 1-series will share its underpants with a MINI Cooper.

Seeing Mercedes bite the bullet and bring a front-driver would put a smile on the face of Alec Issigonis, where ever he is – up there in the clouds.


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