It may not look it, but the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class is aerodynamic as all get out. How slippery is it? Well, the compact sedan has a drag coefficient of 0.23, which will make it the world's most aerodynamic series production car when it goes on sale in the US this September. By comparison, the most recent body update for the Toyota Prius cut the drag coefficient of that hybrid model to 0.25 from 0.26, while the 2013 Nissan Leaf electric vehicle has a 0.28 drag coefficient, down from 0.29 for the 2012 version. The Tesla Model S? 0.24.

The Mercedes CLA-Class was shown off at Detroit's Westin Book Cadillac Hotel before the start of the Detroit Auto Show, but won't see the light of day on the show floor. Instead, the model is officially being unveiled later this week in at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Berlin.

The CLA-Class will have a 1.8-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder that delivers 208 horsepower. The model is expected to be priced at about $30,000. You can read more about it here.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 36 Comments
      Anderlan
      • 2 Years Ago
      Calling it. SHENANIGANS. This is hard to test because not everyone has a wind tunnel. We need a federal agency to buy a tunnel and test these claims for everyone. We do? Excellent. They are hated by paranoid radicals and are starved of the budget needed to fully utilize that expensive equipment with frequent tests for the public good? ****.
      Giza Plateau
      • 2 Years Ago
      With all the cavities in the facia, the rims, the mirrors, I doubt this claim is true. They didn't want to say the best drag coefficient from a company that is opposed to environmental reason nor the best that isn't a Tesla Model S, so they decided to stretch the truth.
        Marcopolo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Giza Plateau
        Giza Plateau More, and more, suspiciously like a toned down DF !
          Grendal
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Marcopolo
          I wonder what Giza's opinion on aliens is? He has mentioned that he's religious. I also like lightweight and aero cars like Dan did. I just don't think that everyone HAS to drive them like Dan did.
          purrpullberra
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Marcopolo
          The difference is that Giza knows he's(?) wrong but is trying to get some human interaction by belittling progressive ideas and vehicles. Dan was insane and convinced that he alone knew the truth. Neither has views shared by reasonable people.
      SublimeKnight
      • 2 Years Ago
      Beating out the Telsa and still providing airflow to cool an ICE is very impressive.
        KenZ
        • 2 Years Ago
        @SublimeKnight
        Agreed. And the Tesla has a flat underbelly due to the batteries. I wonder if this has underbelly panels, and if so, how they're dumping the heat?
          paulwesterberg
          • 2 Years Ago
          @KenZ
          A smaller more efficient engine requires less cooling to begin with.
          2 wheeled menace
          • 2 Years Ago
          @KenZ
          ^--absolutely! A 1.8 churning along on the highway, even turboed, with a lower load due to lower drag, ( compared to say, a 3.0 v6 pushing the same car with a 0.35cD ) is gonna produce an amount of heat similar to that of a compact car, even with all the rolling resistance.
          Giza Plateau
          • 2 Years Ago
          @KenZ
          People, people, people. Mercedes lied. It is a lie. They said something untrue. They lied. They made a car that has not terrible aerodynamics and they wanted to declare that to the world in a way they felt entitled to and to that end they decided to lie. They didn't want to have to say this is the most aerodynamic car in the world except for those cars that are better like Prius and Tesla Model S. So they lied. They are bad people. Deal with it.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 2 Years Ago
      ""GM has talked tirelessly abut how aerodynamic the Volt is, how its shape was born from the wind tunnel, and how important aerodynamics are for the car to achieve its 40 miles all electric range. Yet for all that talk, the company has never released any official figure for the vehicle’s coefficient of drag (CD). This is the numerical measurement that indicates how slippery a car is, and unlikely to be slowed by wind resistance. Bob Boniface who is chief of Voltec design finally provided us the details that were obtained when GM measured the Volt and its competitors on its own wind tunnel. “We had the comparably-equipped 2010 Prius with 17 inch wheels, and the new Insight,” he said. “The Prius came in at .30,” said Boniface. “That was a number that was verified in our tunnel, in Chrysler’s tunnel, and in Ford’s tunnel.” “The Insight was 0.32, and the Volt was .28,” he said. “I’d like to test the Volt in the same tunnel where Toyota got their 0.25 value,” he teased."
      Grendal
      • 2 Years Ago
      Huge Tesla afficionado here as you all know. Remeber that Tesla came up with the .24 using the aero wheels that they ended up dropping. So their number is actually a little higher with their current 19" and 22" wheels. One of the TMC members has been experimenting with their own aero covers (pizza pans) and got a 6.5% increase in range. That's damn impressive. The drawback was an overheating issue for the brakes. Since the brakes are only used rarely it might not be that much of a drawback if you drive smart. Just the fact that the CLA has a gas engine and lack of a smooth underbelly (they didn't say if they put on an underbelly cover) like the Model S and the Leaf should increase drag substantially.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Grendal
        The Mercedes has active shutters in the grill that can be completely closed, and there is a belly pan, as well as a including aerodynamic details to the wheels and wheel arches. http://i.auto-bild.de/ir_img/1/0/2/4/2/4/9/ANZEIGE-Mercedes-A-Klasse-729x486-86df750b52cec5b5.jpg
          Grendal
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          Nice find. Mercedes certainly did an excellent job of streamlining the underbelly. The active shutters need to added to lots of cars. I can see some of the aerodynamic tweaks. I'm not sure those will appeal to a buyer but impressive none the less. Aero wheels should improve the number even more if they added them.
        spannermonkeyuk
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Grendal
        Tesla's 0.24 figure is on their standard 19" wheels, not the aeros.
      2 wheeled menace
      • 2 Years Ago
      WOW. 0.23? i don't care what the frontal area is ( can't be all that bad on a car this size ), that is going to make a huge dent in mid-speed & highway fuel economy. That 1.8L turbo might actually push this big heavy beast well enough. Mega huge texas-sized cowboy hats off to Mercedes. And to everyone else - copy these guys, darnit!!
        EVnerdGene
        • 2 Years Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        2 wheeled, I can't believe you said that. Moving from a .25 Prius to this .23 Mercedes is impressive; but not caring if the frontal area is that of an EV1 or an H2 Hummer ? How about a Freightliner? Yikes. My next question/comment is; how accurate are these Cd measurements? I'd bet no so accurate; and wide variations between facilities.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 2 Years Ago
          @EVnerdGene
          Frontal area of 2.2 square meters, multiplied by Cd of 0.23 = 0.506 For comparison, the Model S is frontal area about 2.35 x 0.24 = 0.564 Anyone else, please feel free to do your own math - it's not my strong point.
          2 wheeled menace
          • 2 Years Ago
          @EVnerdGene
          Frontal area is part of the aerodynamic drag calculation, 4sure. But cars of this size are usually in the 0.30-0.40 cD realm. I forget - is the calculation frontal area times coefficient of drag? What i'm saying is that the low coefficient of drag will make a huge dent in efficiency for a car of this size. I doubt the car is bizarrely wide or tall. In fact it looks like a real chop top kinda affair here.
          paulwesterberg
          • 2 Years Ago
          @EVnerdGene
          Is this the most efficient vehicle ever? No. But at least they are trying to improve things. Even if they are lying about the Cd it shows that they are concerned about aerodynamics. It used to be that all car makers designed with manliness as their first priority(See Via motors new truck). Btw Aptera has a Cd of 0.15 which is shows you the limits of what is possible when you make aerodynamics the first priority.
      LUKAFOTO
      • 2 Years Ago
      5 seater Audi A2 1.2 TDI was 0.25 way back in 2000 - same as old Honda Insight (2 seater).
      A A
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wow. Tuner car of the future.
      Giza Plateau
      • 2 Years Ago
      GM never lies
      Anderlan
      • 2 Years Ago
      If only it were prettier than a Prius...
      Cavaron
      • 2 Years Ago
      CdA is more important as Cd. A small car with higer Cd but less front surface would beat that monster easy in efficency. What could hurt on a smaler car is not enough length - like the smart. To damn short for good aerodynamics.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 2 Years Ago
      It must be remembered that the CLA is based on the A-Class; it's a pretty small car, relative to what we're used to from Mercedes. I will submit this article using Mercedes own materials back in July - it lists the A-Class as having a Cd of 0.27 and a frontal area of 2.2 square meters (CdA less than 0.6 square meters) http://mercedes-benz-blog.blogspot.com/2012/07/new-mercedes-benz-class-aerodynamics.html It seems that Mercedes has found a few ways to further tweak their aerodynamics.
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