Mercedes-Benz has a reputation for luxury and comfort, but rarely does one think of a Mercedes as being affordable. The brand hopes to change that--somewhat--with the new CLA Class.
The brand's smallest car in America, the CLA Class is a four-door coupe that puts style at the forefront. Priced to start around $30,000, the CLA also offers a strong value proposition. Style plus value? It's an intriguing mix.
Fortunately, the CLA also promises decent performance, with the base CLA 250 rated at 208 horsepower and 6.7 seconds to 60 mph thanks to a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine driving the front wheels (or optionally, all four wheels). Gas mileage isn't officially rated yet, but it should be good--we expect at least 30 mpg on the highway.
For the more performance-oriented, an AMG version is also in the works. Due in late 2013, the 2014 CLA45 AMG
will start under $50,000, get to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds, and send 360 horsepower through all four wheels. The extra power still comes from a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, but it's an AMG-built and tuned version that offers much greater performance.
While we haven't yet driven the CLA45 AMG (it doesn't technically exist yet), we have spent some time behind the wheel of the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA 250. Ride quality and handling are taut. Steering is direct and quick, but lacks feedback. On the whole, the CLA 250 feels sporty and capable, though we'd like to see multiple engine/transmission/suspension modes for sportier--or more laid-back--driving. Dynamically, the all-wheel-drive version has a slight edge, if only due to its better handling of power.
On the comfort and quality front, the 2014 CLA 250 is quite accommodating--as long as you're in the front seats. Materials are good, with a mix of cloth and MB-Tex faux leather standard and full leather optional. Control layouts are logical and easy to use, and there's lots of room in the trunk. The back seat, however, pays a penalty in both leg and head room, thanks to the CLA's compact dimensions and coupe-like roof. Small rear doors also make entry and exit difficult. Road and wind noise are muted and well-controlled.
For the full detals on the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA Class, including safety, features, and more, read the full review at The Car Connection