“A Taste of Bigger Things”
In a class that Mercedes largely created when it introduced the CLS, the concept of a four-door coupe is enticing; the look and lines of a coupe but the convenience of 4 doors. Riding on the laurels of its super-successful CLS, Mercedes said why not try and repeat the success with a smaller, more affordable version. I am sure that was the mindset behind creating the CLA when it was introduced as the entry-level Mercedes in 2013.
Now in its second generation, the CLA250 has matured and softened. The lines are smoother, and the sharp edges have been eliminated. However, that unmistakable four-door coupe silhouette is still there. It no longer is the baby Benz. That designation now falls to the A-Class of sedans and hatchbacks. The result is that this version of the CLA250 comes in at an as-tested price of nearly $55,000.00. That’s some significant coin. What does all that get you? For starters, the CLA250 is offered, with the only optioned engine being a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder that produces a respectable 221 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. That power is routed through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. It’s a quiet, respectable drivetrain. However, it tends to underwhelm in comfort mode, becoming more invigorating in sport mode when shifts become sharper and more aggressive. 0-100 km/h time of 6.3 seconds is more than adequate (more aggressive versions available if the heart desires, see the CLA35 or 45). I will let the images speak of the design. You will be hard-pressed to find a more attractive compact sedan in the market.
The interior is class-leading. Utilizing the panoramic instrument and center display with Mercedes’s latest MBUX system. The air vents sport a turbine design combined with a 64-colour LED ambient lighting system, which illuminates those gorgeous vents. The seats are supportive and hint toward a sportier characteristic. The front room is ample for someone six feet and over. However, the sloped rear roofline leaves little headroom for taller occupants, and the rear legroom is limited. Think of this as an occasional four-seater, not full-time.
I am a massive fan of the four-door coupe. Having owned a 2007 CLS, I love the lines of the car and sportier driving dynamics. The CLA250 version 2.0, brings the mini four-door coupe squarely into place. It brings an upper-class feel and design that is lacking in the A-Class hatchback. It has an air and presence that the latter lacks. This in itself will make a CLA250 an ideal junior executive’s choice of entry into the Mercedes family. I am sure this will give way to what Mercedes hopes: when the time comes for the next car, the CLS will be the obvious choice.