A Compact in Coupe Disguise: Mercedes Benz CLA45 AMG

Market for compact sedans has been constantly evolving, and with common entry level cars getting more and luxurious, powerful, bigger and heavier something new needed to be created.  Regardless of the fact that the Japanese have been dominant in compact sedan market for quite some time, Mercedes took the game further and rolled out the very unique CLA

Based on a vastly successful A Class, CLA45 AMG borrows a lot of features from the game changing A45 AMG, which we had a pleasure of taking out on Tokyo streets some time ago.
Despite sharing the wheelbase, engine, transmission, interior layout and many other features  it couldn't be more different from the A45 super-hot-hatch.

Wheelbase has been extended while the roof line lowered, creating a car matching the style that Mercedes Benz defines as a four-door coupe.  The luxurious CLS has always been one of my favorite cars, and after driving the extraordinary CLS63 AMG Shooting Brake, I knew that Mercedes Benz would not stop there and it would be just a matter of time until they take their four door coupe concept even further.

In fact, it didn't take long for Mercedes Benz to exploit the four door coupe idea as they introduced the CLA, which proudly carries all the features characteristic to the entire Mercedes Benz range seamlessly implemented into this small package.

The front fascia has been laid out with most modern Mercedes Benz design bits, almost making it future proof.

Headlights have been designed in the most modern Mercedes Benz fashion.  There is no LED bulb option but elegant white LED position lights give the car quite aggressive look and enhance the powerful HID headlights at night.

The design trends continue towards the rear and are accented by curved pointy LED taillights featuring unique and easily identifiable layout that contributes even more to modern Mercedes Benz design language.

Test car has been fitted with standard 18 inch 5 twin-spoke alloy wheels wrapped in 235/40/R18 Continental tires all around.  19 inch wheels are optional.

the car came with optional carbon package which adds extra aerodynamic components around the car

AMG performance exhaust, which is optional in most countries is installed as standard in Japan and it definitely contributes to the unique character of CLA45.  Quiet at daily cruising, it makes itself very noticeable during gear changing by cracking and burbling on each up or down shifts.

As with any AMG car it has plenty of badges to remind about what's inside.

And there is plenty to brag about, as the engine, which is shared with A45 AMG and GLA45 AMG is a 2 litter straight four producing a whooping 360 HP and 450NM of torque.

Fans of JDM 4WD sedans should feel right at home as the architecture of the motor and its placement are reminiscent of the Lancer Evolution series.

So now that we have the power to match the looks, many may wonder if any of the Mercedes Benz luxuries are still present in this entry level four door coupe.

Behind the frame-less doors there is a very recognizable interior, which as expected laid out identically to the A45 AMG.  The car is equipped with standard (optional for non AMG CLA) navigation system, premium sound, as well as parking and distance sensors.

Driving position has been lowered, while the dash height has been increased to create the coupe-like sitting position. This alone takes a step in the opposite direction of the A45 putting this car into a completely different league.

Even though some of the other features are instantly recognizable,..

...with AMG logos constantly reminding us about the nature of the car,

The extended wheelbase adds is benefit in practicality as there is significantly more space in the back,..

..and the car has noticeably large trunk for its size.

Thus far we have seen that the looks, interior and engine spec combine for one desirable machine, so the question that everybody must be asking at this point is: "how does it drive?"

The size, dynamics, and interior quality combine for what can be refereed to as a multipurpose well put together machine.  Seating position is comfortable and at the same time very focusing.   Ergonomically, there are no compromises as all controls and switches are laid out conveniently and logically.

The four cylinder engine is very responsive and reaches 6200RPM redline very quickly.  With some help from the the ultra smooth and quick double clutch gear box the car can accelerate from 0 to 100kph in under 5 seconds. 

Responsive braking, lightning acceleration, and cornering ability, along with refined ride combine for one special machine.  Just the experience of driving this car puts a huge smile on your face as you begin to realize that there aren't many cars quite like the CLA45 AMG.  It's a small sedan that tries to be an agile compact and luxury coupe at the same time, and it does a decent job being both. 

So there we have it, unique design, luxury features on a compact body, and a little engine that makes it fly like a bat from hell - what more can we ask for?

Cost of Ownership:
The car itself is priced very high, but you get a lot for it and its fuel efficiency and reliability should make it worry free for quite some time.

Lots of space in the back and large trunk make it a perfect sedan for a small family.  I can't wait to see what the shooting brake will be like.

Cabin Comfort
The Exhaust is only noisy during acceleration and gear changes so it would not bother passengers during long cruise.  Ride is firm, but not punishing.  If comfort is a priority I would recommend stock model with 18 inch wheels.

It may look a bit odd from some angles but it has all the features unique to modern Mercedes Benz vehicles.  There is something very prestige and luxurious about this car, despite its compact body.

Fun Factor
Quick acceleration accompanied by cracks and burbles from the exhaust make driving this car very entertaining.

I would like to thank Mercedes Benz Connection Tokyo for letting me drive and photograph their cars.
Mercedes Benz A45 AMG is available from Mercedes Benz Japan starting from 7300000 Yen.

Thank you all for sharing, commenting and following!




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