New 2023 Mercedes CLA facelift unveiled with updated technology and exterior design

Mercedes has given its the CLA, CLA Shooting Brake and AMG CLA models a mid-life facelift

Last year we saw the Mercedes A-Class receive a facelift and now it's the turn of Mercedes’ compact four-door coupe – the CLA. The revisions extend beyond design tweaks to the exterior with new equipment levels, uprated technology and fresh powertrain offerings. 

The CLA will continue as a rival to the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe, but Mercedes offers a more practical estate version of its car in the shape of the CLA Shooting Brake – which gets the same facelift treatment for 2023. Alongside the standard CLA, the AMG-tuned performance versions – the CLA 45 and CLA 35 have also been given a refresh. 

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In terms of exterior design, it’s a fairly restrained update for the CLA and the Shooting Brake model. The facelifted CLA retains the svelte profile of the outgoing car, with an arcing roofline, sinewy bonnet bulges and a single crease along the flanks. There’s a newly reshaped front bumper and radiator grille, while the rear diffuser has been changed as well. Mercedes has also given the CLA ‘modernised graphics’ within the LED headlight cluster, plus a new signature for the rear lights. 17-inch wheels come as standard but you can spec rims up to 19-inches.  

The CLA benefits from similar interior changes to the ones the A-Class hatchback received in 2022. A seven-inch and 10.25-inch screen setup is standard, however, you can select dual 10.25-inch screens as an option. The infotainment system features the latest generation of the MBUX software, with new display styles of “Classic”, “Sporty” and “Discreet” – each offering different amounts and types of driver information. The USB ports are all now illuminated but if plugging-in isn’t your thing, Mercedes has allowed for wireless smartphone charging on some models, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Not much has changed design-wise inside, although the Mercedes-AMG Performance steering wheel is now standard – featuring a double-spoke design and extra buttons. In AMG Line specification, there are sports seats’ made from the brand’s Artico recycled materials. AMG models get the Performance seats with extra bolstering and a unique selection of colours. 

Mercedes CLA engines and performance

Although Mercedes hasn’t revealed pricing, it has given us powertrain details for the updated CLA. Mild-hybrid power comes to every petrol version of the CLA with a 48-volt motor that adds an extra 13bhp on start-up. Mercedes claims the belt-driven starter generation “noticeably improves customer comfort and experience. For example, it enables low-vibration and low-noise engine starting as well as coasting with the combustion engine switched off.” Seven-speed and eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmissions are standard. 

The range opens with the CLA 180, which offers 134bhp and 230Nm of torque from its mild-hybrid, 1.3-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine. Acceleration stands at 9.4 seconds for 0-62mph (0.2 slower than the hatch) and the top speed is 134mph. Next up is the CLA 200, which uses the same engine as the CLA 180 but tuned to 161bhp and 270Nm of torque. 0-62mph is dealt with in 8.4 seconds and it’ll top out at 142mph. 

The CLA 220 continues with an all-wheel drive 4MATIC drivetrain, utilising a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engine pumping out 188bhp and 300Nm of torque. That’s enough for a 7.3-second 0-62mph time and 147mph top speed. The 221bhp CLA 250 goes from 0-62mph in 6.4 seconds and on to a 155mph top speed. 

Diesel is still an option for CLA buyers with the 114bhp CLA 180 d and 148bhp CLA 200 d, there’s also a 188bhp 220 d. Every diesel option uses the same 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engine, just tuned to different power outputs. Every powertrain from the CLA coupe is available on the Shooting Brake, apart from the 220 4MATIC petrol. 

Plug-in hybrid power has been improved with the facelifted CLA. Mercedes claims the battery offers higher energy content, reaching a maximum 51 miles of electric-only range – an eight-mile improvement. Power output from the electric motor has been upped by 7bhp to 107bhp, but the total power of the CLA 250 e model stays the same at 215bhp. 

Charging speeds for the CLA PHEV have increased with the 7.4kW charging limit upped to 11kW. This means it takes around 25 minutes to recharge the battery from 10-80 per cent, instead of one hour and 45 minutes. 

Click here for our in-depth review of the current generation Mercedes CLA

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