The Cool Compact Four-Door Coupé Benz
by John K. Lindgren
Not the “Baby-Benz” nor C-Class, E-Class or S-Class. This is the CLA. Bold, expressive styling, fully loaded and drives like a sport coupé. There’s never been a “Benz” like this before. Compact-sized luxury four-door sedan par excellence.
A few years ago the new “CLA” Class was launched. A compact coupé sedan. Don’t call it a “Baby-Benz” that was the old E-190. The CLA is the kid brother of the more expensive bigger CLS at four million baht. Pattaya Today Life & Leisure tests Mercedes-Benz CLA 250 AMG Dynamic. Built in Thailand. Price 2,44 million baht.
Premium German car brands use alphanumeric designations Audi has A4, A5, A6, Q2 and R8. BMW comes in series: 1, 3, 4, 5 and 7 Series and X for the SUV’s and M for the high performance Motorsport models. Mercedes-Benz uses “CLASS” i.e. C-Class, E-Class, S-Class and GL for the crossovers. There also a G-Class. “G” (short for Geländewagen, “cross country vehicle”). Comrade Vladimir Putin, the Russian president has one in his fleet, black extra long and armored version of the Mercedes-Benz G 55. In Thailand the G 350 d Sport is available at cool 8,490 million baht.
Aerodynamic, swooping, sporty styling yet oozing with unmistakeable Mercedes-Benz DNA. Completely new architecture. The Americans love the new CLA body design. “It’s awesome Dude!”, they say. It looks like a coupé (kuo-pee) high shoulder line, low roof line and flowing surfaces. No also the frameless windows that give the car the character of a coupé. The hawked eyed nose boasts a single-louvre diamond grille with pins in chrome and a big three pointed star in the center plus integrated LED high performance daytime running lights. The rear more AMG body styling with big dual chrome exhaust pipes and floating LED taillights. The CLA rides on large 18 inch AMG 5-twin-spoke light-alloy wheels.
Dashboard in logical userfriendly layout and high-quality materials with aluminum accents. The highlight is the the retro aviation inspired air vents and the 8-inch media display an iPad looking screen providing information and entertainment. A thick Nappa leather bolstered steering wheel bring the CLA additional sporty character. The cabin comes with high quality leather electric sport seats for passenger as well as driver. Rear seats might be a tad tight for 180 cm tall persons. OK. Just open the large panoramic sliding glass sunroof/moonroof. Voila more space – more light.
CLA 250 is powered by a state-of-the-art 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, good for 211 horsepower and 250 Nm of torque. Three driving modes: Eco, Comfort and Sport. FWD Front Wheel Drive. Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and blisteringly fast paddle shifters on the steering column. Fuel consumption approximately 14 km/l. Comfort mode and the ECO Start/Stop system also saves fuel and reduces carbon dioxide emissions.
Start engine. Choose the gear. “D” for drive and “S’ for sport mode. But where’s the gear lever? On the center console? No! It’s a steering wheel mounted gear selector. Mercedes-Benz innovation. Everything at your fingertips. So easy. Plus more space on the center column.
The 7-speed motor offer loads of torque and kick-down oomph with an intoxicating sonorous engine note. This is a great machine punchy enough to reach expressway, motorway speeds in short order. The sprint from standstill to 100 km/h per hour takes only 6.5 seconds. Power comes on in a smooth, linear fashion as the throttle pedal heads toward the floor. The paddle shifters makes this entry level Mercedes-Benz a blast to drive and front wheel drive provides instant traction. I like front wheel drive cars. This CLA is driver’s car perfect for city and highway driving in Thailand. Case in point. Three passengers and “Cookie” the cat in a cage were riding in comfort during our test drive from Bangkok to Nakhon Sawan.
AMG Aufrecht Melcher Grossaspach is the tuning arm of Mercedes-Benz. The company was founded in 1967 by ex Mercedes-Benz engineer Hans-Werner Aufrecht and his business partner Erhard Melcher in the small German town named Grossaspach. The AMG acronym originates from the two partners’ family names and the town where it all began.
Although its size is compact, diminutive, the CLA has tons of street credibility. AMG styling and performance. Make no mistake this is Mercedes-Benz German engineered automotive luxury.
“Oh, Lord Won’t You Gimme a Mercedes-Benz…”
Mercedes-Benz CLA AMG Dynamic
Price: 2,44 million baht
Engine: 4-cylinder in-line 2.0-liter turbo petrol
Power: 211 hp
Torque: 250 Nm
Transmission: 7-speed automatic
Average fuel consumption: 14 km/l combined
Top Speed: 230 km/h