By Matt Davis
Mercedes Makes A Mighty Little Sedan
We got overexcited when the W203 Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan came out in 2001, calling it the “Baby Benz” when it really wasn’t. We knew that, too, but our enthusiasm for a model more like the old 190 of the ’80s was so strong that we were willing to stretch the first-gen C-Class to fit that mold. Today, the C-Class has done what all German premium cars do: grown in size. In this case, grown to satisfy the market intentions of the previous E-Class.
There was the tall A-Class sold from 1998 through 2010, but we never considered that a serious small Benz in the proper spirit, nor was it ever offered in the US. Regardless, we’ve been craving a smaller, premium, sexy sedan all the while.
As you read this, Mercedes-Benz has just unveiled, with great fanfare at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, the production CLA-Class. We saw the car at the Detroit Auto Show in January, and the Concept Style Coupe that led to the CLA was first seen in China at the 2012 Beijing Motor Show. The CLA – a.k.a. “the baby CLS” – is finally here and we’ve driven it.