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Mercedes previews AWD 'baby CLS'

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By IOL Motoring Staff

The pictures you see here are totally official, sent by Mercedes-Benz to give us a taste of its new CLA sedan that will hit the scene next year.

While the prototype is still masked by stickering in places, the disguise is light enough to paint a rather clear picture of how Merc's 'baby CLS' is going to look.

The CLA will essentially be a sedan version of the latest A-Class and it'll have a sloping C-pillar to lend it more than just a passing resemblance to its bigger CLS sibling.

But there's yet another significance to these pictures, which show the prototype tackling some slippery conditions. You see, because the CLA is built on the A-Class platform, the common models will have a front-wheel drive configuration - which is not the preferred configuration for enthusiastic drivers. That and those undesirable side effects like torque steer when you have a powerful engine on board.

Mercedes-Benz has a solution to that in the form of its 4Matic all-wheel drive system, which will be fitted to the A45 AMG version of both the CLA and A-Class hatch.

The permanent all-wheel-drive system boasts fully variable torque distribution.

According to Mercedes-Benz, the most innovative components of the new system include the power take-off to the rear axle, integrated in the 7G-DCT dual clutch gearbox, and the rear-axle gear with integrated, electrohydraulically controlled multi-disk clutch.

The system will ensure that, in everyday conditions, the car will run in more efficient front-wheel drive mode but when the driving situation requires all-wheel drive, torque is instantly channelled to the rear axle as deemed appropriate.

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