Plug-in hybrid Mercedes GLA, CLA Coupe and CLA Shooting Brake revealed

Mercedes has revealed three new plug-in hybrids: the CLA 250 e Coupe, CLA 250 e Shooting Brake and GLA 250 e

James Wilson
May 30, 2020

Mercedes has taken the covers off three new plug-in hybrid models - the CLA 250 e Coupe, the CLA 250 e Shooting Brake (which means estate) and the GLA 250 e. UK prices are as yet unconfirmed but Mercedes is claiming an all-electric range of up to 43 miles and CO2 emissions as low as 31g/km.

Some might be wondering why Mercedes is going so hard with its plug-ins and there are a couple of reasons. First up is the fact that from April 2020 company car tax rules heavily favour electrified cars, which represents a huge sales opportunity for the German car giant. Plus potentially substantially tax savings for company car drivers themselves.

Also, Mercedes builds its small cars on the same platform, so the A-Class, CLA and GLA all share underpinnings. Effectively this means once Mercedes has its hybrid format sorted it can put it in whichever small car it fancies.

Since the A-Class and B-Class hybrids are already on sale it was only a matter of time before CLA and GLA variants gained some electric trickery. As a note, Mercedes’ hybrids sit under its EQ umbrella of vehicles, which covers all of its electrified models - including fully electric models.

Read on for charge times, range and more on the 2020 Mercedes GLA, CLA Coupe and CLA Shooting Brake plug-in hybrids...

Quick facts

  • CLA 250 e models on sale from April
  • GLA 250 e models available from May
  • All variants set to produce 218hp
  • Maximum range of 43 miles (CLA 250 e)
  • Up to 24kW charging
  • 15.6kWh lithium-ion battery pack

Mercedes CLA 250 e Coupe + Shooting Brake and GLA 250 e economy and performance

Mercedes is offering its CLA 250 e Coupe, CLA 250 e Shooting Brake and GLA 250 e with just one powertrain - a 1.3-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with supporting electric motor and automatic gearbox. Together they produce 218hp and 450Nm of torque, both of which are quite substantial for a family hatchback.

This is reflected in the 0 to 62mph sprint time which is 6.8 seconds, 6.9 seconds and 7.1 seconds for the Coupe, Shooting Brake and GLA respectively. Top speeds vary slightly depending on model, with the Coupe living up to its sporty styling with the fastest overall top speed of 149mph. The estate CLA weighs in at 146mph and the GLA lower still at 137mph.

Regardless, those wanting to drive around powered by batteries alone are limited to 87mph irrespective of which model they choose. As for economy, well Mercedes is quoting figures for both petrol and electricity usage. To save you from drowning in a world of numbers, we have summarised Mercedes’ claimed figures below.

It is worth keeping in mind these figures are provisional and calculated under the older less realistic NEDC emissions and economy test and not the newer WLTP one. Also, drivers will not achieve anywhere near the claimed numbers unless they regularly plug in to charge the batteries and do a lot of driving around town or on slower roads. Plug-in hybrids typically offer relatively low fuel economy on faster roads, as without regular braking - which helps to add a little otherwise lost energy to the batteries - battery charge depletes quickly.

Model

Mercedes CLA 250 e Coupe

Mercedes CLA 250 e Shooting Brake

Mercedes GLA 250 e

Petrol economy (miles per gallon)

188-201mpg

177-202mpg

157-177mpg

Electric economy (kilowatt-hours per 62 miles)

15.0-15.1

14.8-15.5

15.5-16.1

Carbon dioxide emissions (grams per kilometre)

31-35g/km

33-37g/km

38-42g/km

There is a range in values due to the impact equipment can have on how much fuel a vehicle uses and therefore the emissions it produces. As an example, larger alloy wheels often have a negative impact on economy, as they typically weigh more and consequently require more energy to be turned.

An electric economy value in the mid to low teens is as good as it gets for all-electric cars at the moment. Some larger (and therefore heavier) battery-powered cars use well over 30kWh for every 62 miles travelled. Meanwhile, for those interested in pulling a caravan around, CLA and GLA PHEVs come with a 1,600kg (braked) towing capacity.

Mercedes CLA 250 e Coupe + Shooting Brake and GLA 250 e range and charge times

Every CLA 250 e Coupe, CLA 250 e Shooting Brake and GLA 250 e is set to come with the same 15.6kWh lithium-ion battery pack as seen in the hybrid A- and B-Class models. “kWh” is a common unit of energy in a similar way to “km” is a common unit of distance.

This kind of capacity, Mercedes claims, means the following all-electric ranges:

Model

Mercedes CLA 250 e Coupe

Mercedes CLA 250 e Shooting Brake

Mercedes GLA 250 e

Range (Miles, WLTP)

37-43

36-42

33-38

Similar to the economy figures further up, there is a range in values due to the impact of specifying certain equipment. As for charge times, all models are the same. Using a 7.4kW wall box, which is a relatively common output in the UK, Mercedes claims that the battery can charge from 10 to 100% in one hour and 45 minutes.

Using a more powerful 24kW power supply, which will typically be from a commercial charging point, a 10 to 80% battery charging takes around 25 minutes. 24kW is the max charging input for any of Mercedes’ small hybrids.

Mercedes CLA 250 e Coupe + Shooting Brake and GLA 250 e prices and delivery dates

Order books first opened in April for the CLA 250 e Coupe and CLA 250 e Shooting Brake, with those for the GLA 250 e following suit in May.

Deliveries start in early summer - although it would not be too farfetched to expect coronavirus-related delays. UK pricing and exact specifications are as yet unconfirmed, but for reference, the Mercedes A-Class plug-in hybrid starts at around £33,000. That said, in non-hybrid form, CLA and GLA models carry a significant premium over non-hybrid A-Class models.

Mercedes CLA 250 e Coupe + Shooting Brake and GLA 250 e specs, trims and tech

Mercedes hasn’t yet confirmed UK specs, however, we have a pretty good idea of what equipment will be on offer. This is based on the regular petrol and diesel CLA and GLA models plus the trims in which the hybrid A-Class is currently available.

UK motorists can expect only high spec AMG Line and AMG Line Executive trims to be available from launch. Standard equipment should be plentiful, with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, wireless phone charging, reversing camera, a 10.3-inch touchscreen information and media display (as part of the Mercedes-Benz User Experience or MBUX system), auto-dimming rearview and side mirrors, air conditioning (which can be activated remotely to preheat or precool the cabin) and alloy wheels all expected to feature.

MBUX is Mercedes’ widely praised in-car operating system which takes care of everything from music and navigation to displaying key information (such as speed) to the driver. It is available with either two seven-inch displays, two 10.3-inch displays or a mix of the two - although we expect Mercedes’ compact plug-ins to at least come as standard with one 10.3-inch unit.

Mercedes CLA 250 e Coupe, CLA 250 e Shooting Brake and GLA 250 e models will all come with five driving modes - two above their non-hybrid brethren. The three carried over from the rest of the range are commonplace on many new cars, allowing a driver to choose between comfort, economy or sport biased setups. The remaining two, “Electric” and “Battery Level”, are new though.

“Electric” mode means the car will drive under battery power alone as long as there is sufficient charge, while “Battery Level” aims to preserve the current battery level as you drive along, which is useful if some part of your journey involves travelling through areas with emission-based restrictions - at which point you can switch to battery power.

Aside from onboard equipment, some genuinely clever engineering has gone into Mercedes’ latest plug-in hybrid models. For example, the exhaust pipe doesn’t poke out the back of each car it pokes out underneath somewhere in the middle. This helps create more space for the high-voltage electronics. In addition, the electric motor which helps turn the wheels is also used to start the petrol engine, removing the need to have a traditional starter motor. 

Mercedes CLA 250 e Coupe + Shooting Brake and GLA 250 e rivals and alternatives

Being that each of Mercedes’ new plug-in models targets different buyers, their rivals are also different and play out as follows.

Mercedes CLA 250 e Coupe

Since non-hybrid Mercedes CLA Coupe models only have two main rivals - BMW’s 2 Series Gran Coupe and Hyundai’s i30 Fastback - and neither of them is available as a hybrid, the CLA 250 e Coupe is well and truly on its own. That said, the plug-in Mercedes A-Class saloon offers a remarkably similar package…

Mercedes CLA 250 e Shooting Brake

The CLA Shooting Brake is a bit of a niche car, even more so than the CLA Coupe above as it doesn’t have a direct rival. Other manufacturers clearly don’t see the demand for sleek plug-in estate cars.

Look at regular small estates with plug-in technology and the market is on the up - both Skoda and Cupra (a performance off-shoot of Seat) revealed performance-orientated hybrid estates recently.

As Skoda and Cupra are part of the same family of brands as VW, Audi and Seat, it can be expected that plug-in versions of VW, Audi and Seat estates will crop up in the near future.

Mercedes GLA 250 e

Unlike its stablemates above, the Mercedes GLA cannot move for rivals - largely thanks to crossovers being rather popular at the moment. Hyundai, Mazda, Ford, BMW, Audi, Peugeot, Citroen, Renault, Mitsubishi and Nissan all offer models which could appeal to GLA buyers.

Even so, not all are available as a plug-in hybrid - the Kia Niro PHEV and Renault Captur E-Tech are two of the most convincing alternatives. 

There are some all-electric alternatives as well. They include models such as the Hyundai Kona Electric and Peugeot e-2008. Whether these are viable alternatives for those after the Mercedes badge will also greatly depend on individuals' home charging setup and the kind of miles expected to travel each day.

 

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