Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG Deals


More grip than you would ever need on a public road combined with theatrical performance makes the CLA 45 AMG a fantastic sports car proposition in the UK. Even more so given the impressive fuel economy.


Over uneven surfaces the CLA 45 AMG can be jarring even in its least aggressive suspension setting. A list price of £42,265 means that with options it can quickly get very expensive, too.


With the new CLA-Class Mercedes has created a relatively affordable, youthful saloon with all the desirability and kudos of the brand’s more mature offerings. Even five years ago the idea of such a car would have been far-fetched, but now it’s reality – and a successful one, too. And there’s an AMG variant.

Anyone who’s really driven a car breathed on by Mercedes’ performance wing will tell you that it’s an experience as terrific as any Porsche, Maserati or Aston Martin can provide. Whether turbocharged or naturally aspirated, the hand-built AMG engines that leave Affalterbach never want for power or aural drama, and yet in keeping with the Mercedes ethos can operate with either savagery or graceful thrust depending on the driver’s preference.

There has never been a four-cylinder AMG model until now, however. Both the hatchback A45 AMG and this, the CLA 45 AMG, feature a turbocharged 2.0-litre inline-four that develops 355hp. It’s a powerplant that offers previously unimaginable fuel economy with no comprise in pace, or, as we can now attest to, that characteristic savagery.

A rakish design, plenty of power, five seats, four-wheel drive, just 165g/km carbon dioxide emissions - the real surprise is that the CLA 45 AMG is as brilliant on the road as it is on paper. That engine in a small, reasonably light four-wheel drive saloon is an inspired combination and brings forth the desire to act like a hooligan, which of course you can do with near-impunity given the safety-net of four-wheel drive. Even in the wet and on winter tires (which hasten the onset of understeer but are otherwise excellent), the CLA 45 AMG is a car you enjoy on British roads far more easily that its V8-engined siblings.

Straight-line performance won’t leave you gasping for air – the 0-60mph sprint takes 4.6 seconds – but on public roads it’s enough. The way the exhaust has been tuned to blip aggressively on upshifts (AMG Performance exhaust, £460) from the seven-speed dual clutch transmission - out of no necessity whatsoever - only adds to the sensation of speed and theatre.

Much like it’s hatchback cousin, the CLA 45 AMG resembles a Lancia Delta Integral for the 21st century when the going gets twisty. While power is usually sent to the front wheels – presumably in the interests of efficiency – when required it can be split 50:50 between the front and rear axles. The car plants its backside on the exit of corners, squatting down while the front tires help scramble it out with a slingshot effect. Between bends the steering can feel overly sensitive, although the same responsiveness means turn is superbly crisp.

The chassis setup is equally aggressive; although in it’s softest setting can mop up the degradation of most British roads reasonably well. It is not, however, what you’d call comfortable by Mercedes’ traditional standards – far from it – and cannot match a Volkswagen Golf GTI for ride quality.

Inside, the CLA – like the rest of the range – is something of a departure from what Mercedes typically offers. There’s a floating infotainment display and a more expansive, colder interior architecture than, say, the C-Class. It’s a younger, more sporting cabin, and the heavily bolstered AMG seats are perfect for the job.

Combined fuel economy for the CLA 45 AMG is rated at 39.9mpg. While that may be a little ambitious, it’s still mightily impressive given that not long ago anything over 30mpg would be excellent for a car with this kind of tot-hatch-cum-supercar performance.

One glaring omission on the standard equipment list is satellite navigation, which is included in the COMAND Online System with Media Interface (£2,100).  That option also comes with USB and iPod connectivity, radio, Speed Limit Assist, and Mercedes’ voice control. Telephone pre-wiring for hands-free will set you back £360, while a Harman Kardon Logic 7 sound system (11-speaker) is a further £680.

As the CLA 45 AMG has carved its own niche – sitting just below traditionally fast saloons but above even the most expensive hot-hatches – finding rivals is difficult. The BMW 335i is notably less expensive, yet doesn’t offer four-wheel drive and isn’t as engaging all-round as the Mercedes. That leaves only limited-edition specials such as the Audi RS3, or even the new MkVII Volkswagen Golf R. The strongest competition for the CLA 45, ultimately, comes from Mercedes’ own stable, in the form of the £4,000-cheaper A 45 AMG.

Comfort                    3 stars

Style                         5 stars

Handling                   5 stars

Depreciation             3 stars

Economy                 4 stars

Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG Interior

AutoeBid deals on the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class

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