Inspired by diamonds and birds of prey, the CLA design moves Mercedes in a new direction

inspired diamonds birds prey cla design moves mercedes new direction mark fetherston

The all-new Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class is a brilliant looking car. There’s no denying that. Many – myself included – have likened it to a miniature version of the bewitching CLS-Class. While it does look like a smaller CLS, there’s far more to the CLA that just that.

“What I want is that people just look at the car and go, ‘Wow, that’s sexy. I would like to have it’,” explains Mark Fetherston, CLA-Class Exterior Team Leader, in the video below.

Fetherston and his team took the clay model for the CLA and pushed it straight to production. The three-dimensional positive and negative bodylines are as drastic as Mercedes could muster from production-level steel forming.

Then on the lighting – both front and rear – Fetherston and his team added much more flow to the lighting shapes than one might normally expect from the rigid German automaker. Fetherston admits that the CLA design team looked to birds of prey for lighting form influence.

Between the two headlights is the diamond grille that originally debuted on a concept A-Class car in Shanghai. After the resoundingly positive reviews, Mercedes brass insisted Fetherston to include it on the CLA-Class. This meant, however, they had to position each pin by eye.

“People think that when they see the diamond grille, it’s a geometric, computer programmed piece of design. It’s actually not,” Fetherston explains. “There’s nothing like it in the new car market. It’s unique.”

I already admired the looks of the CLA. After having watched this quick explanation of the time and care that went into creating it, however, I am absolutely bowled over by it.

I recently said the Audi A7, S7, and RS 7 are the best looking things in the last 20 years. I am starting to wonder if the CLA isn’t starting to steal the show.


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