Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG Review
Introduction: Based on new Mercedes A Class hatchback, the CLA 45 AMG is a powerful, beefed up variant of Mercedes CLA Class, which is yet to be launched in India. The CLA 45 AMG was first unveiled back in March 2013, immediately after the A 45 AMG made its debut at 2013 Geneva Motor Show. Both A 45 AMG and CLA 45 AMG are powered by the same 2.0l 4cyl turbocharged engine, which is the most powerful 4 cyl engine in the world today. It is this engine which makes all the difference between a CLA and CLA 45 AMG.
Exteriors: True to its AMG nameplate, CLA 45 AMG features an aggressive body design. Based on MFA (Modular Front-wheel drive Architecture) platform, the front does resemble like the A Class, and so does a bit of the side, but thats about it. Similarity ends there.
In the front you have bi-xenon headlamps with LED DRLs, double slat grille, large three pointed star logo in the centre, large air intakes, and matt titanium grey inserts in front apron. Moving to the side, you will notice sleek, sloping coupe style roof, which adds to the style of CLA 45 AMG. Highlights also includes matt titanium grey inserts in side sill panels, and 5 twin spoke light alloy AMG 18 inch wheels.
Inspired from the new S Class design, rear of CLA 45 AMG looks much bulkier than the front. Some might not like this bulky, melty looking rear, but it is due to this design the CLA 45 AMG is one of the sleekest cars on offer. Mercedes claims CLA 45 AMG has drag coefficient of just 0.23 cd, which is less than Tesla Model S. Also at the rear, you will find AMG sports exhaust system, twin tailpipes on either side, LED tail-lamps, CLA 45 4MATIC badge on one side and ///AMG badge on the other.
Interiors : Compared to its exterior, interior of CLA 45 AMG delivers more of a sporty character. Overall layout is similar to the A Class, but more refined. Dashboard gets leather finish, stitched with red thread, five arrow styled retro air vents, a fixed colour display for navigation and multimedia, matt titanium grey panel on the dash, button controls, AMG gear knob between seats, aluminium sport pedals, AMG floor mats and illuminated door sill panels with “AMG” lettering.
Instrument control gets two dials with titanium grey finish on its rim. The two dials have speedometer and tachometer with small dials for fuel and engine temperature respectively. Between these two dials is an LCD display which gives information like fuel efficiency, speed, DTE, time, temperature, etc. Above this screen, you get a horizontal display, showing the gear the car is currently in, and also indicator to upshift or downshift (if in manual mode).
Then there is a three spoke AMG steering wheel, finished in leather nappa black/Alcantara with red stitching and control buttons. You also get steering mounted shift pedals.
Matching the dashboard design of black and red, are two sporty Recaro seats. These offer good back support and comfortable seating. Also, when going sideways, the seats will keep you planted, thanks to protruding side support. Both front seats get electric controls and heating feature.
Rear seats too have been given a sporty look with same leather and red stitch treatment. Though there are three headrests, seating three at the rear will be uncomfortable. Legroom is decent, headroom is low at the rear and cooling the car happens in an instant. Rear also features AC vents. Red seat-belts and panoramic sliding sunroof adds more character to the interiors.
Engine and Performance: The real beauty of this car is its 4 cylinder 2.0l engine. Delivering 355 hp at 6000 rpm and 450 Nm torque at 2250-5000 rpm, this is the world’s most powerful 4 cylinder engine in production. Coupled with AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed sport transmission and 4MATIC AWD system with 4ETS, the smallest AMG sedan manages to do 0-100 kmph in just 4.6 seconds, and electronically controlled top speed of 250 kmph.
Comfort and Safety Features: Mercedes CLA 45 AMG comes loaded with comfort and safety features. For comfort, you have park assist, reverse camera, memory function for front seats, central lock with openable ORVM and windows from outside, auto climate control, COMAND online, 7 inch colour screen, 10 GB hard drive, surround sound music system, DVD player, and charging port. For your safety, there is tyre pressure monitoring system, speed limit assist, Pre-Safe, seven airbags, ABS, ESP, and attention assist.
How is it to drive the CLA 45 AMG? – At first, it might be intimidating, after all its an AMG. But, once you are in the car, you will realise how easy it is to drive around. The steering wheel adjusts itself as per the speed. At low speeds, it is very light, and as the speed increases, it balances itself, and the feedback it sends to the driver.
You can drive the CLA 45 AMG in three modes, Manual, Sports, and Controlled Efficiency. In manual mode, you get to control gear-shifts. The best part being, it will not upshift or downshift on its own, even when you reach the rpm limit, which is set at 6,800 rpm.
In Sports mode, the upshifts and downshifts take place automatically. Upshifts happen at 6500 rpm. Efficiency mode is for when you are driving in traffic, or are in the mood to save fuel. Even in Efficiency mode, the car is fast, and roar is loud enough.
On the highway, CLA 45 AMG moves like a breeze. Even before you realise the speed limit of that particular highway, you have gone way past that speed. NVH levels are fantastic, you can whisper while cruising at 200 kmph.
The rush you feel inside, when you push the pedal hard, getting pushed back into the seat, listening to the engine roar at its full capacity, is something you would want to do again and again. Even after reaching the said top speed, you know there is much more juice left in the engine, and it can easily keep going further.
We were also fortunate enough to drive the CLA 45 AMG on track, at the Buddh International Circuit earlier this year. It is here where you will notice the sharp handling, quick gear-shifts of this car. From one corner to another, the car will breeze past, without loosing control.
Yes, driving inside the city is nowhere close to driving this beast on an open road or track, but it is here in the city where you will get all the adulation. You will notice that even before you arrive, there are eyeballs waiting for you. Thats because of the sound from AMG heart. And while you are counting the number of eyeballs attracted to your AMT, mind the bumps, cause if you are not careful, you might damage the car real bad.
Being a CBU, the ground clearance is not set for Indian road conditions. Whatever you do, if you there are four people sitting in the car, you will scrape your underbody over 90% of the bumps. The chances of scraping reduce if you are driving alone. Of the three, I would prefer to drive the CLA 45 AMG on track.
Mileage: Speaking about fuel efficiency, in Sports/Manual mode we got a mileage of about 6 kmpl, while in the Efficiency mode, we managed 8 kmpl.
Verdict: Though an AMG, the CLA 45 AMG is meant for everyday use. It is built to offer you best of both worlds. On weekdays, you can go to office, pick-up your kids from school, or whatever you do to stay on the righteous side. But, if you are in the mood to have fun, CLA 45 AMG allows you do that in a split second, at the shift of a gear knob.
Why would you buy CLA 45 AMG
– Fastest car to reach 100 kmph in that price range
Why would you not buy
– Low ground clearance
Images – Ashwin Ram N P