Who said hybrids have to be ugly?
Once the "entry-level" model for the US market, the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class has moved upmarket in its latest generation. With a semi-affordable starting price of $37,645, the CLA along with its sedan sibling, the A-Class, is helping to drive record sales for Mercedes. The CLA is so successful, in fact, it will spawn two different AMG variants including the Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 with 302 horsepower and the racier CLA 45 with 382 horsepower.
But faster AMG versions aren't the only additions coming to the CLA family. Our spy photographers recently spotted a pair of CLA prototypes testing out a new plug-in hybrid drivetrain in Northern Sweden. By combining the CLA's sexy styling and a frugal PHEV drivetrain, Mercedes may have stumbled on a winning formula here.
Both prototypes look pretty similar to the standard CLA, albeit with an extra door for the charging port. Mercedes attempted to cover up the rear badges with black tape, but we could clearly see the name 'CLA 250e' underneath it. The CLA 250e will share its drivetrain with the A250e and B250e, which have already been revealed for the European market.
This drivetrain includes a 1.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder producing 160 hp paired with an electric motor to produce a total output of 215 hp and 332 lb-ft. All of that power goes out through an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. The electrified grunt is enough to rocket the A250e up to 60 mph in about 6.6 seconds, so we expect the CLA250e to be just as quick.
The electric driving range of this drivetrain varies between the A-Class sedan, hatchback, and B-Class, but the CLA should be able to go around 60 to 70 kilometers (37 to 43 miles) on a charge on the WLTP testing cycle. If this drivetrain is offered in the US, we expect the electric range to be much lower on the EPA testing cycle. There is almost no chance Mercedes will decide to offer the more practical CLA Shooting Brake here in the US, with the GLA and GLB SUVs already set to enter the market. The availability of the PHEV drivetrain in the US remains a mystery.