The second-generation Mercedes-Benz CLA has received its mid-life update, four years after the model made its debut back in 2019. As before, customers can choose from two body styles – four-door Coupe (C118) or the Shooting Brake (X118) – as well as a wide range of powertrains.

Like the A-Class that got updated last October, the styling changes for the CLA are relatively subtle, with no change to the svelte profile that is its main selling point. Up front, the bumper has been reshaped and is joined by a revised radiator grille that now features tiny Mercedes-Benz stars.

The standard LED High Performance headlamps also sport a new LED daytime running light signature that ends with dotted lines at the base of each cluster. As for the rear, it gets a new diffuser to “sharpen the sporty character,” the German carmaker noted, and the LED taillight also get a new light signature.

All models come standard with 17-inch wheels, but there are options that go up to 19 inches with varying designs. Further personalisation comes in the form of additional paint colours called hyper blue and spectral blue, the former being exclusive to the CLA.

Moving inside, the standard configuration for the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) systems includes a seven-inch and 10.25-inch display. However, buyers can upgrade to dual 10.25-inch displays, and the system now offers newly designed display styles called Classic, Sporty and Discreet.

Additional USB-C ports are also part of the update, and they are now illuminated and have increased charging capacity. If you don’t feel like plugging in, there is now support for wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

With the latest generation of MBUX, the Hey Mercedes voice assistant is now capable of dialogue and learning driver preferences. The system can also deliver an immersive Dolby Atmos audio experience when it is paired with the optional Burmester surround sound system.

Following the latest A-Class, the touchpad on the centre console has been omitted in favour of a bit more storage space. With this, the only forms of interaction with the MBUX system are the steering wheel buttons, the central touchscreen and the voice assistant. Thankfully, there are still physical controls for the climate system.

As for other changes, Mercedes-Benz says the steering wheel is upholstered in Artico man-made leather for first time and cars with the AMG Line package can now be optioned with a heated steering wheel. Recycled materials also feature more heavily inside the cabin, which can be optioned with a variety of trims and finishes.

The equipment packages have also been made simpler following customer feedback, making it easier for customers to configure their vehicles. At the basic level, Highbeam Assist, a reverse camera and the USB package are included, with Parking Package, Mirror Package an Easy-Pack tailgate being standard for the CLA Shooting Brake from the Progressive trim line onwards.

In terms of powertrains, we start with the CLA250e, which is the sole plug-in hybrid option. Upgrades include a more powerful electric motor that gains 7 PS (7 hp or 5 kW) of output to now be rated at 109 PS (107 hp or 80 kW) and 300 Nm of torque.

This is sandwiched between the eight-speed dual-clutch transmission and petrol engine, which is a 1.3 litre turbocharged four-cylinder that serves up 163 PS (161 hp or 120 kW) and 270 Nm for a total system output of 218 PS (215 hp or 160 kW) and 450 Nm.

A 15.6-kWh (gross capacity) lithium-ion battery continues to be used, but it can now support a maximum AC input of 11 kW instead of the previous 7.4 kW. There’s also the option of DC fast charging at 22 kW, which gets the battery from 10-80% state of charge in just 25 minutes. Fully charged, the battery delivers 71-82 km (Coupe) or 68-80 km (Shooting Brake) of electric-only range, which is a minor improvement thanks to the higher usable energy capacity of the battery.

Moving on, all petrol engines with a seven-speed DCT now come with 48-volt mild hybrid system that includes a belt-driven starter-generator capable of delivering a temporary boost of 14 PS (13 hp or 10 kW). A 1.3 litre turbo four-cylinder is used in the CLA180 and CLA200, with outputs of 136 PS (134 hp or 100 kW) and 230 Nm and 163 PS (161 hp or 120 kW) and 270 Nm respectively.

These are joined by the CLA250 4Matic that has a 2.0 litre turbo-four delivering 224 PS (221 hp or 165 kW) and 350 Nm, accompanied by an all-wheel drive system. While the three mentioned petrol engines are available for both the Coupe and Shooting Brake, the former body style can also be had in CLA220 4Matic guise that uses the same 2.0 litre unit mentioned, but tuned to deliver 190 PS (188 hp or 140 kW) and 300 Nm.

Lastly, there are three 2.0 litre four-cylinder turbodiesels that have no electrification whatsoever, and they are the CLA180d that makes 116 PS (114 hp or 85 kW) and 280 Nm, the CLA200d that makes 150 PS (148 hp or 110 kW) and 320 Nm, and the CLA220d that makes 190 PS (188 hp or 140 kW) and 400 Nm – all three come with a seven-speed DCT.

The performances times – 0-100 km/h and top speed – for each powertrain are as follows:

  • CLA250e – 7.6 seconds, 229 km/h (Coupe); 7.7 seconds, 226 km/h (Shooting Brake)
  • CLA180 – 9.4 seconds, 216 km/h (Coupe); 9.6 seconds, 215 km/h (Shooting Brake)
  • CLA200 – 8.4 seconds, 229 km/h (Coupe); 8.6 seconds, 226 km/h (Shooting Brake)
  • CLA220 4Matic – 7.6 seconds, 237 km/h (Coupe)
  • CLA250 4Matic – 6.4 seconds, 250 km/h (Coupe); 6.5 seconds, 250 km/h (Shooting Brake)
  • CLA180d – 10 seconds, 205 km/h (Coupe); 10.1 seconds, 203 km/h (Shooting Brake)
  • CLA200d – 8.5 seconds, 226 km/h (Coupe); 8.6 seconds, 221 km/h (Shooting Brake)
  • CLA220d – 7.3 seconds, 244 km/h (Coupe); 7.4 seconds, 237 km/h (Shooting Brake)