A hot little number with a feisty motor | It represents a few firsts as well as a few new "records", both within the industry and in its own class.
The all-new Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG is the current flavour of the month within the automotive media world. It represents a few firsts as well as a few new “records”, both within the industry and in its own class. For instance, it’s the first time Mercedes-Benz has sold a real AMG-car with just four cylinders. The CLA45 is also powered by the most-powerful 4-cylinder engine currently sold in North America. It’s due to all the hype that we felt we must spend some quality time with this 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG and see what the fuss was all about.
First off; let’s talk about this powertrain. Under the hood of the CLA45 AMG is a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, the same type of engine that powers most entry-level luxury cars nowadays. However, this car not only sports an AMG badge, it’s a true AMG car. This 2.0L is boosted to the tune of 355 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 332 lb-ft of torque (available between 2,250 and 5,000 rpm). That’s serious power for a 4-banger. The CLA45 also has Mercedes-Benz’s first true dual-clutch transmission, a 7-speed SpeedShift unit. It shifts pretty well, but lacks the “bang-bang-bang” oomph that Audi’s S-tronic system has. The transmission has three modes; Sport, Eco, and Manual – the latter allowing you to use the wheel-mounted paddle shifters to transition through gears effortlessly. I’m sure you can assume which mode is the enthusiast choice, as there is no manual transmission available on this car (or any other AMG car).
The baby-AMG moves pretty nicely, and the exhaust note is snarly, but at the end of the day there’s no mistaking this for anything more than a 4-cylinder. Other magazines have tested the CLA45 to blast to 100 km/h in 4.1 seconds, which is no easy feat. The huge brakes (the callipers are painted red, might I add!) stop the CLA45 with confidence and ease. Handling around our usual twisty, country roads was superb, and the CLA never left the driver desiring more. This is definitely one of those cars that has to be driven for an extended period to be truly appreciated.
Price point is another place where the CLA45 AMG excels. While the AMG performance line has been known to produce some fire-breathing monsters, they aren’t exactly known for value. The 2014 CLA45 AMG starts at just under $50,000 ($49,800 to be specific), and our test car was optioned up slightly to have a few toys. As-tested, our CLA45AMG hovered right around the $55,000 range. When comparing it to the front-wheel-drive CLA250, the AMG model is actually value-packed. Plus, the AMG comes with 4MATIC all-wheel-drive, which makes it usable year-round.
This new AMG reminds us of a boxer puppy. It’s that aggressive, loud little thing that makes its presence known. It’s also packed with enough technology to keep the everyday commuter market happy. Our car was equipped with navigation, a huge sliding glass sunroof, suede AMG seats, and Mercedes-Benz’s familiar COMAND-based infotainment system. Everything is simple to use and the infotainment system is easy to get used to. The black 19″ wheels are stunning and make the white car stand out, and the LED accents on the headlights are a neat touch.
Most of the CLA45 AMG’s few shortcomings are forgotten when price is taken into consideration. It’s important to take into account that this AMG “coupé” (yes, this thing is basically a CLS that’s a lot smaller and more affordable) is based off the $34,800 CLA250. This particular car may sticker for just over $50 large, but it’s an optioned-up car built to a $35,000 standard. For instance, the hood has an old-fashioned prop rod rather than hydraulic struts. The infotainment screen is a tablet-like contraption that’s affixed to the top of the dashboard, not unlike the excellent new Mazda3.
It seems that the only people who are dissatisfied with the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG are those who went in with absurdly high expectations. This is not a $100,000 AMG car, nor does it want you to think it is. The CLA45 is honest, simple, loud, and comes packed to the brim with charm. Here’s the best part: even after an afternoon of some of our favourite roads, the CLA45 averaged 8.6L/100km in combined driving. On the highway, we got it down to 7.0L/100km; both numbers are unheard of for a car bearing the AMG badge. The Mercedes-Benz CLA45 makes a compelling argument for anyone looking for an entry-level performance car coming from a brand with proven history and heritage, and should not be overlooked.
2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG Gallery