If the idea of four-door coupé sounds like a
contradiction, it’s one that Mercedes-Benz has enjoyed much success with. First
came the E-Class based CLS, offering nearly the same accommodation as the
saloon but with more street appeal. The company then repeated the formula with
the A-Class hatch, creating a neat, coupé-like four door saloon and calling it
the CLA. For 2019, the new CLA puts clear water between it and the A-Class,
with sportier chassis settings to go with the sleek looks.
As standard all models of the CLA come with safety systems like Active Lane Keeping Assist, Speed Limit Assist and Active Brake Assist. The optional Driving Assistant Plus adds semi-autonomy, with Active Blind Spot Assist, Active Braking Assist, Active Steering Assist and even Evasive Steering Assist among many others. PRE-SAFE PLUS can initiate preventive measures, including warning following traffic and locking the brakes on standstill, and the package even includes route-based speed adjustment, automatically cutting the pace before curves, roundabouts and junctions.
Compact it may be, but there’s a clear link to the big brother CLS in the CLA’s design, with an aerodynamic, sleek coupé-like profile tapering to an extended boot line. It’s an appealingly sporty look and while the roofline restricts rear-seat headroom a touch, it’s perfect for kids or shorter occupants – far more so than a coupé 2+2. All UK-spec CLA models (apart from the full AMG CLA 35) will be offered in AMG-Line trim, with 18" 5-twin-spoke AMG alloy wheels and AMG body styling. Inside, there’s a real sense of theatre in those turbine air vents and the impressive 10.25” widescreen central display.
As standard, the CLA comes with the MBUX infotainment system. Control of functions and options can be via the 10.25 touchscreen, a console-mounted trackpad, steering wheel buttons or voice command. As with Siri or Alexa, saying ‘Hey Mercedes’ activates the voice function and it’s far less pedantic than other in-car voice command systems, allowing more intuitive use. The CLA range starts with the AMG-Line, which comes with LED lights, privacy glass, leather sports seats and two-zone climate control along with keyless go, sat-nav and wireless phone charging.
Upgrade to AMG Line Premium and you’ll enjoy a larger instrument display, better audio and 64-colour ambient lighting. Premium Line Plus includes multibeam LED headlamps with Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus as well as a panoramic sunroof. It also includes the Energizing package for the next level in intelligent comfort, adjusting heating, seats, light and music to keep you refreshed and alert.
For the 2019 models, Mercedes-Benz has widened the CLA’s track
by 63mm at the front and 55mm at the rear, making it sharper and more
responsive to drive. All models apart from the all-wheel drive 4MATIC variants
are front-wheel drive and all come with 7G-DCT 7-speed automatic transmission
(8-speed for the diesel CLA 220D).
Petrol-fuelled CLA models include the CLA 180 with 136hp from a 1.3-litre four-cylinder engine, delivering 0-62mph in 9.0 seconds and up to 47.9mpg. The same engine in more powerful 163hp form powers the CLA 200, and this cuts 0.8s off the 0-62mph time while returning the same mpg figures. Beyond that the powertrain jumps to 2.0-litres, in which guise you can enjoy the 190hp CLA 220 and its all-wheel drive twin, the CLA 220 4MATIC. Top performer is the CLA 250 offering 224hp and 0-62mph in 6.3 seconds. Alternatively, Mercedes-Benz also offers a diesel CLA, the CLA 220D. 0-62mph takes just 7.1 seconds with up to 57.7mpg combined (depending on spec).
To get the one small negative out of the way first, the coupé-inspired styling of the CLA and separate boot compartment means it can’t accommodate as much awkward-shaped luggage as its near sibling A-Class, which is a hatchback. But if you can live with that, the CLA looks every inch the premium coupé with the bonus of two rear doors.
|Dimensions||CLA 200 d|
|Vehicle Length||4630 mm|
|Vehicle Width||2032 mm|
|Vehicle Height||1432 mm|
|Unladen Weight (DIN)||1525 kg|
|Engine / Cylinders||2.0-litre/4|
|Engine Capacity||2143 cc|
|Max Torque||300 NM @ 1,400 - 3,000 RPM|
|Max Power||100 kW @ 3,200 - 4,000 RPM|
|Top Speed||137 mph|
|Acceleration 0-62 mph||9.0 sec|
|Combined Cycle||70.6 mpg|
|Urban Cycle||57.7 mpg|