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Mercedes-Benz CLA -Class 2014 Review

EXPERT RATING
8
Mercedes is making the most of its four cylinder small car platform.
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Mercedes is making the most of its four cylinder small car platform.

Here in Australia, we currently have three different Merc variants built on it: A-Class, B-Class and the CLA four door sedan -- with a fourth, the GLA compact SUV, also on the way. Don't be surprised to see one other body shape on this platform down the track.

ENGINES / TRANSMISSION

The CLA we're testing arrived initially in two forms 1.6-litre 115kW turbo petrol CLA200 front wheel drive and the wicked, all-wheel drive (4matic) 265kW 2.0-litre CLA45 AMG. This car boasts the most powerful production 2.0-litre petrol engine in the world right now. The CLA200 engine is a direct injection turbo-charged four banger with 250Nm capable of achieving 5.7-litres/100km on premium fuel. A 0-100kmh sprint takes 8.5 seconds.

The CLA45AMG mirrors the spec of its stablemate A45AMG five door hatch with a petrol 2.0-litre with direct injection and twin scroll turbo, variable valve timing and lift and a host of other performance boosting bits for an output of 265kW/450Nm. It clocks a 0-100kmh sprint in a scant 4.6 seconds and consumes as little as 7.0-litres/100km at a cost of $86,900.
A front wheel drive 1.8-litre 100kW diesel CLA200CDi follows with a 2.0-litre 165kW turbo petrol front drive CLA250 Sport towards the middle of next year.

PRICE / FEATURES

The CLA range reflects the A-Class hatchback line up in terms of specification and engines/transmissions but the prices are higher. The CLA200 goes for $49,900 but includes a generous amount of luxury kit for the ask like seven speed dual clutch manumatic transmission, nine air bags, 18-inch alloys, bixenon headlights, LED tail lights, sports seats, Becker Map Pilot satnav, multi media interface with large TFT screen, climate control, cruise and plenty more.

The 45 gets a "driver's package" of assistance features, 19-inch wheels, performance exhaust complete with explosive bang in 'Dynamic' mode on up-changes, privacy glass, two wing grille, Recaro /AMG seats, Harman Kardon audio, radar cruise, electric seat adjust and leather among its inventory.

All CLA's including the 45 have Benz BlueMotion technology to save fuel and emissions  engine stop/start for one, low friction engine internals, optimised aerodynamics, brake energy recuperation and other technologies. A range of options and option packs are available across the CLA range - model dependent.

DRIVING

We drove both CLA variants and came away suitably impressed particularly with the fire breathing 45. But we are not fans of the styling which looks foreshortened in profile and over-styled at the back. Rear headroom allows for kids only. But it has the world's lowest aerodynamic drag for a production car rating a 0.23Cd with benefits in fuel efficiency and quiet running.

We reckon the hatch is much better looking and costs less into the bargain. Still, the Benz CLS-esque lines of the CLA will appeal to plenty of buyers as will the price compared with other models in the Benz range.

Both these cars were beautiful to drive, predictable, torquey, responsive, comfortable. The 45 is stunningly quick and composed .loves the corners as much as the straights and has the biggest stoppers we've seen on a car this size away from a race track. Six pistons, 350mm discs. Like the drive select too.

VERDICT

Would we buy a CLA? No, we'd go for the A-Class hatch equivalent every time based on price and styling.

Mercedes-Benz CLA 200
CLA 200: from $49,900
CLA 200 CDI: from $50,400 (due February 2014)
CLA 250 Sport: from $63,400 (due April 2014)
CLA 45 AMG: from $86,900

Mercedes-Benz CLA 200
Price: from $49,900
Warranty: 3 years/100,000km
Capped servicing: No
Resale: N/A
Service interval: 12 months/15,000km
Safety: 5 stars
Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cyl turbo, 115kW/250Nm
Transmission: 7-speed auto; FWD
Thirst: 5.5L/100km
Dimensions: 4.6m (L), 1.4m (H), 2.0 m (W)
Weight: 1395kg
Spare wheel: None

Pricing guides

$41,990
Based on 88 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$25,888
Highest Price
$58,999

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
CLA200 1.6L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $20,400 – 27,720 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class 2014 CLA200 Pricing and Specs
CLA45 AMG 2.0L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $37,100 – 47,960 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class 2014 CLA45 AMG Pricing and Specs
CLA200 CDI 1.8L, Diesel, 7 SP AUTO $19,700 – 27,390 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class 2014 CLA200 CDI Pricing and Specs
CLA200 Edition ONE 1.6L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $22,000 – 29,810 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class 2014 CLA200 Edition ONE Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8
Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.