What’s it all about?
As part of Mercedes-AMG’s compact car offering, the CLA 45 is the company’s stove-hot, ultra-fast, small-sized steroidal sedan. It’s the most potent CLA-Class vehicle you can buy today, pinning you into its lush bucket seats at full noise, with a streetwise look via its sporty body kit and big 19-inch alloy wheels.
The CLA-Class was updated (http://www.motoring.com.au/prices-up-for-upgraded-mercedes-cla-103534/) in August 2016 with equipment upgrades, a subtle new look and a power boost for the AMG CLA 45. The AMG’s wild 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine adding 15kW and 25Nm for a total of 280kW and 475Nm – making it the world’s most potent 2.0-litre production car engine.
With an all-wheel drive setup with enough snatch and grab to accelerate to 100km/h in 4.2sec, but claims to offer fuel consumption of just 7.4L/100km, the stylish sedan can switched between brutal and banal at the touch of a button.
Regular readers will know I’m not the best at achieving low fuel economy figures but my week-long drive resulted in 12.8L/100km, which isn’t bad considering how easily you can point and shoot this machine.
How much will it cost?
Pegged at $92,215, the 2017 Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 is $2715 more than the 2016 model and is quite a stretch from the entry-level CLA’s $52,500. You get a three-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty and plenty of fruit with the car, including semi-automated driving functions (acceleration, braking, steering) via adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assistants.
Some of the other standard features include the AMG Driver’s Package and Performance Seats (feels sporty), AMG Performance Exhaust (sounds sporty), AMG high-performance braking system (stops sportily), plus a Harmon Kardon Logic 7 surround sound audio system with top-shelf infotainment and sat nav.
It’s a beautiful car to sit in and makes you feel like a prince (or princess) with a stylish and utterly opulent fit out. I love the touch-points too. The AMG gear-shifter and steering wheel are luscious, while crimson seat belts and scarlet highlights throughout add a little razzle-dazzle.
There are a few downsides to the cabin. Cheap plastic temperature dials are a hangover from the A-Class’s $30,000 budget car origins, and manual adjustment of the steering wheel is disappointing. The lack of a 360-degree parking camera ain’t great either… with shiny wheels like these, a reverse camera isn’t enough!
Why should I buy it?
In my view it’s not the best value-for-money performance car you can get for nearly $100,000, but it’s exceedingly fast, it’s surprisingly loud (though there are “quiet” modes) and hugely entertaining across a range of scenarios. The way it snarls and barks when you’re giving it heaps is awfully immersive and turns heads quicker than zombie flash mob.
It blitzes the traffic light duels and straight-line sprints with intensity, its seven-speed dual-clutch paddle-shift gearbox visceral control of engine speeds. It rips up winding coastal roads too, attacking apexes with gusto and rocketing from point-to-point with startling pace.
There is a touch of understeer at the limit and it can be a bit firm on crumbly roads but overall it’s a cracker to drive. The cabin is Tuetonic sportiness at its best and the exterior is stylish too, all of which conspire to make this a satisfying vehicle to look at, touch and drive.
When is it available in Australia?
The car is already on sale locally and for buyers who prefer a wagon there’s the long sausage version too, only it’s a called a Shooting Brake (http://www.motoring.com.au/mercedes-benz-cla-shooting-brake-2015-review-51783/). A high-tech German car with a quintessentially 19th-century moniker? No doubt the British aristocracy will be chuffed!
Despite having a more flexible load space the wagon is same price, $92,215. So unless you have to have the swoopy-coupy look (which is pretty slick) the wagon is the judicious choice.
Mercedes-Benz is working on the next-generation 2.0-litre banzai motor (http://www.motoring.com.au/merc4edes-amg-overhauls-engine-line-up-105436/) for the next A, CLA, and GLA-Class vehicles that will reach 300kW, but these vehicles are unlikely to emerge until 2018 before going on sale around 2019.
Who will it appeal to?
Well people like me I reckon. Active lifestyle, enjoy the beach, going to bars, pretty hip and happening really. In all seriousness, there’s broad-spectrum demographic appeal here, from young executives and IT professionals through to mature aged rev heads.
Given the almost six figure price tag buyers are likely to be either successful business people and/or criminals who want something small enough to get around town but with enough mumbo to eat up open road miles too.
Realistically it can accommodate four adult passengers, but there’s seating for five. It’s got a certain level of pragmatism and although rear-seat head and leg-room is tight for taller sorts, the boot is surprisingly deep for a car of this size.
Not that I’m suggesting putting bodies in the boot… But they would fit. Anyway, the AMG has a very useful 470 litres is just 10 shy of the bigger BMW 3 Series’ 480-litre boot.
Where does it fit?
If I was standing in a car dealership showroom having a squiz at this car, I’d call it a small sedan with big muscles. According to VFACTS, the group that records Australian new car sales, it’s a “medium-sized car above $60,000”.
Considering you can buy a regular CLA-Class car for under $60,000 and that it’s 22cm shorter than the best-selling medium car in Australia, the Toyota Camry, I think my definition is far more apt.
Then again, Benz calls this car a coupe, which is just as confusing, considering it has four doors and is clearly not a coupe. Nevertheless, it’s an absolutely bottle rocket with lashings of luxury for good measure.