Mercedes Benz AMG CLA 45 Performance

OVERVIEW ;

Who doesn’t dream of driving racing cars on a track? Extreme speeds, blurring surroundings and a screaming gasoline burning engine paired with a crisp shifting transmission. The adrenaline rush while doing this is insane. I know many who swear by it. Apart from the few lucky ones, others are left dreaming about it cause of its impracticality and the humongous amounts of money involved. Sigh! We should stop dreaming about it?Hell No! There is a small solution to this big dream. You might know them as manufacturers of elegant premium cars but then Mercedes-Benz has a lot more to offer than its clichéd image. What an army is to a country, AMG is to Benz as they produce super tuned versions of standard spec models. Similar to kids going weak in a candy shop, we can’t help but be in awe of these cars.Today, we have a car which has a 2-litre engine. Before you can laugh on this petite sounding unit, mind you this one spits out 360hp of power and 450Nm of torque. It takes 4.6 seconds to reach 100 km/h. We are scared if Mercedes Benz has accidentally launched a ‘Street Racer’ a.k.a The CLA45AMG? We investigate

EXTERIORS ;

Mercedes says it originally intended for the CLA45 to resemble the much larger (and far more imposing) CLS 3 AMG, and on balance, the similarities are abundantly obvious. This still holds true as we enter the 2017 model year, even down to the slew of minor exterior styling tweaks rendered for the latest CLA refresh.As far as performance is concerned, Mercedes says the CLA45 now boasts better aerodynamics and a lower coefficient of drag than the outgoing model. Aesthetically speaking, the new model is every bit as aggressive as before, boldly declaring its sporting intensions compared to the lesser CLA trim levels.

In front, there’s a new fascia, which is dominated by a standard radiator grille finished in silver chrome and bisected by Merc’s tri-pointed star. There’s also a new “A-wing design” front bumper with matte titanium grey inserts and high-gloss black canards in the corners.LED headlights are now standard, with projectors for the low beams and reflectors for the high beams. The lights use a color temperature that supposedly matches natural daylight, easing eyestrain for the driver when compared to typical xenon lights. They LEDs also consume less energy than xenon or halogen bulbs. Meanwhile, the turn signals, daytime running lights, and corner lamps all use multi functional fiber-optic cables.

There’s a new bumper in back as well, complemented by a new design for the trunk-mounted AMG lip spoiler and rear diffuser. The exhaust pipes are integrated directly into the bumper. LEDs are once again used in the taillights, which now offer “automatic intensity control,” which reduces glare for following vehicles using three different settings – daytime, nighttime stationary, and nighttime driving..More aggression and downforce can be had with the optional AMG Aerodynamics package, which adds a larger front splitter, additional canards, a new rear spoiler, and black accents for the faux vents in the corners of the rear bumper.

Paint options include Jupiter Red, Cirrus White, Night Black, Cosmos Black, Northern Lights Violet, Polar Silver, Mountain Grey, Orient Brown, and Designo Polar Magno Silver. Joining these is a new metallic hue called Lunar Blue.Styling packages include bits and pieces in high-gloss black with the AMG Night package, plus composites galore with the AMG Exterior Carbon-fiber package. There are two new wheel designs for the alloy rollers. Standard equipment includes 18×8.0-inch ten-spoke pieces in either titanium grey of high-sheen black, or you can opt for the larger 19×8.0-inch cross-spoke pieces in matte black titanium with a high-sheen rim.

INTERIORS ;

The cabin is familar to the A-Class but this being an AMG, it gets sportier add-ons for that go-fast feel. The steering gets Alcantara on it and that does give it an awesome touch. There are aluminium pedals, silver finishing on the dashboard and red contrast sticthing. Unlike the regular CLA, the gear selector lever on the steering has gone missing, you instead get a small and stubby gear knob in the centre, between the seats. The steering wheel gets paddles, which have a solid feel. Weirdly though, the horn does not work when the car is off.

The CLA45 AMG also gets sporty bucket seats from Recaro, with heated function. These offer ample support and are a snug fit. While you sink in them without any issue, the same could be a problem for people with a heavy build. Still, for the average sized guy, these seats are just fantabulous. Adding a dose of sportiness are the seat-belts, they are finished in bright red which does go in sync with the car’s overall character. There is a large sunroof as well and as expected, interior quality is on par with what we have come to expect from Mercedes-Benz.

Not that you would but just in case you do step in the rear, you are in for some disappointment. Just like the A-Class, the CLA isn’t welcoming for a back bencher. While leg and knee room is good, the rear seat is upright and headroom is poor. The sloping coupe like profile does hamper rear seat headroom and most passengers are likely to scrape their head to the roof. Further hampering the rear seat experience are small windows. While the cabin is a nice place to be in for adults at the front and children at the rear, some equipment like a push button start is always expected from an AMG model, this car using a traditional key.

PERFORMANCE ;

The Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG is a new generation of AMGs. With a 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder, turbocharged engine replacing the ever-popular AMG V8s, the CLA45 packs quite a punch. With 360PS of peak power being developed at a meaty 6000rpm, the CLA45 is no slouch. With the CLA45 AMG getting from 0-100kmph in a blistering 4.2 seconds, one has to truly appreciate the amount of work AMG has put into what is today the ‘most powerful 4-cylinder turbocharged production engine’ in the world.In fact, at 178 horsepower per liter, the Mercedes-Benz CLA45 snatches the title of most power-dense production engine in the world from the iconic Porsche 911 Turbo’s 3.8-litre straight-six. AMG’s secret weapon for this ultra powerful engine is a Borg Warner twin-scroll turbocharger, which has been custom-made for the 2.0-litre AMG ‘M133’ engine. The turbo creates a blistering 26psi of boost, way more than what most performance turbocharged engines the world over are capable of.

Not only is there no turbo lag whatsoever, the CLA45 is possibly one of the best grand tourers we have experienced in a long time. The CLA45 comes with three driving modes: comfort, sport and manual. In comfort mode, the CLA45 is a manageable, everyday saloon car with a bit of extra Tabasco sauce in the melle. Play around with the buttons that put the CLA45 into sport mode though and the car transforms into a completely different beast. Not only does the car feel livelier, the exhaust note too changes for the better. An electronically controlled butterfly valve subtly alters the exhaust note in the sport and manual modes by adjusting the amount of air that flows out the passenger side of the dual exhaust system.

Not only does it help make a deeper and livelier exhaust note, the CLA45 barely sounds like a turbo-four engine. That said, the typical AMG exhaust note, like the one you find in the V8s is sorely missed. The Mercedes-Benz CLA45 does however give out a very fulfilling ‘bbbrrraaappp’ with every full-throttle shift at redline in both sport and manual modes.Mercedes’ new seven-speed dual-clutch SpeedShift automatic does need a little more refining though. Not only are the upshifts and downshifts a little slower than expected, especially in comfort mode, there is a slight lack of crispness in it. Of course, tugging at the beautifully crafted aluminum paddles while in manual or sport mode does seem to solve most of its issues. Although ergonomically desgined, the shifter is located a little too low on the centre console making a little out of place as compared to some of the other AMG powered Mercedes-Benz cars.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

As previously stated, the CLA45 is equipped with the Dynamic Select system, which lets the driver choose between various settings that alter the engine, transmission, and steering for either comfort or sportiness.AMG tuned the four-wheel independent suspension, which uses struts and wishbones in front, and a four-link set-up in the rear. The steering is rack-and-pinion with electromechanical power assist. There’s also three-stage electronic stability control.One very cool feature is the predictive braking technology. Quickly lift off the throttle, and the pads will automatically move closer to the rotors for a more immediate response if needed. The system will also automatically apply friction to the rotors in the rain to clear the surface of water, and it’ll hold the car in place to prevent rollback when starting on a hill.The standard wheel and tire package gets 235/40 R18 rubber, while the larger optional wheels get 235/35 R19 tires.Further options include adaptive suspension, as well as a mechanical limited-slip front differential as part of the Dynamic Plus package.

SAFETY AND FEATURES ;

The automaker has incorporated several sophisticated safety aspects that provide unmatched protection to the occupants. It has an active parking assist with PARKTRONIC that gives excellent assistance to the driver, while maneuvering in tight corners. At the same time, its high end versions also have a 360 degree camera that minimizes the efforts required to park this saloon. It also has a tyre pressure monitoring system, impact protection beams, bi-xenon headlamps, ATTENTION Assist function, adaptive brake with hill start assist, central locking system, neck-pro head restraints and anti-theft device.

This variant has a THERMOTRONIC automatic climate control system including dust and pollen filter, which regulates the air temperature inside. The cabin is incorporated with an advanced Audio 20 CD multimedia system featuring a high resolution display. It has an integrated CD player that supports files like MP3, WMA and AAC. This music system can be operated conveniently with the help of switches located on the steering wheel and on central console. It is blessed with a reversing camera that provides visual aid on central media display with dynamic guidelines. Apart from these, it also has an Active Parking Assist, push button ignition, electrically adjustable front seats including memory function and a sports multifunctional steering wheel with paddle shifters.

VERDICT ;

Mercedes-Benz is on an ////AMG attack. In the past one year, the CLA45 becomes the fifth model from the German automaker’s performance brand to grace our shores. While there are some unpractical bits on the car, the positives far outweigh them. The way the CLA45 AMG gathers speed is truly astonishing, it’s fast in a way which can make your hair stand while keeping your grin intact. The handling is excellent, the steering accurate, the brakes strong and the design pure eye candy. This is not only the most affordable AMG, it’s also the best way to lose your sanity and we simply love it for that.

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