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Back in the 1950s and 1960s, four-door cars with frameless doors and no B pillars were known as "hardtops," as opposed to sedans. The idea was that, with all the windows down, the hardtop gave a much more open feeling than the sedan. Hardtops also lacked the structural rigidity of sedans and quickly developed lots of squeaks and rattles. Engineers -- my father, for example -- hated them.

I would imagine that frameless doors are also cheaper to build, so using them on the CLA may be one way MB is keeping down its costs to hit its sub-$30K base price point.
 
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