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Merc CLA a styling rebel


Mercedes-Benz are redefining segments and creating its own with a host of new, stylish models.

The latest to join the fray is Merc’s new four-door coupé, the CLA.   Built on the same platform as the revolutionary new A-Class, the CLA follows the same design idea as the CLS, but is aimed at a more youthful market.

From its frameless doors and flowing lines complemented by its sporty proportions, the CLA makes good use of its aggressive and soft styling cues.

The bonnet, embedded in the front end with power domes and the diamond radiator grille, is distinctly Merc while the light modules and LEDs behind the headlamp cover glass have been arranged in such a way as to create the characteristic ‘flare effect’ for the daytime driving lights and indicators.

The CLA’s styling characteristics might not be to everyone’s liking, but you certainly can’t deny it’s an attention grabber, particularly from the side profile with its shoulder muscles and classic coupé dropping line at the rear.

The cabin is finished in luxury materials and the build quality is first class. Everything is within easy reach and getting comfy behind the wheel doesn’t take much. Admittedly, getting in the rear doesn’t possess the same charm as legroom is limited and headroom even more so.

To complement the car’s effervescent bubbly personality, the luxury German manufacturer offers an extensive engine line-up. Available with 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre petrol powertrains, these engines have power outputs ranging from 90kW in the CLA180 to 115kW in the CLA200. Interestingly, the CLA180 is the most aerodynamic car in the world.

For the frugal commuters among us, the 2.2-litre oil burner fitted in the CLA220 CDI generates 125kW of power and 350Nm of torque. Carbon emissions are a low 109g/km.

The CLA is a supermodel with a conscience as ECO start/stop function is standard across the range. The CLA 180 and CLA 200 engines are mated with a six-speed manual transmission or optional with the 7G-DCT dual-clutch automatic. The CLA 220 CDI comes standard with the 7G-DCT ’box, which reconciles comfort and sportiness in inimitable fashion.   Don’t worry though, Mercedes-Benz did forget to add a rough rocket in this new line-up of fireworks. The CLA45 AMG is the brand’s second model to utilise the AMG 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, following the success of the A45 AMG being a Car of the Year finalist.

Equipped with 265kW of power and 450Nm of torque, this turbo-engine is the world's most powerful four-cylinder engine in series production.

With go to match the show, the CLA45 AMG goes from standstill to 100km/h in 4.6 seconds and has an electroncially limited top end of 250km/h. In such a petite frame, this high-powered engine allows for some seriously fun driving. The responsive steering interacts well and provides good feedback while the performance-oriented AMG 4MATIC all-wheel-drive fitted as standard allows the driver to explore the limits of his ability as the car sticks like bubblegum on hot tar.

Merc claims a fuel -consumption figure of 6.9 litres/100km, perhaps a bit far-fetched for such a demonic sedan. Thankfully, all the hallmark AMG DNA is embodied in the CLA45 and the results are thrills galore. The Speedshift DCT 7-speed sports transmission works a charm and the symphonics that resonate out the pipes when you stomp the loud pedal is music to your ears.

Many may view the CLA as a very niche vehicle, but in a time where individuals want to stand out, this model’s timing is perfect. Unfortunately there is a rather long waiting list - 10 months to be exact.


CLA180             R349 726

CLA200            R373 829

CLA220 CDI     R397 600

CLA45 AMG       R678 607


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