With the A-Class sedan now serving as probably the most reasonably priced Mercedes-Benz automobile within the US, the second-gen CLA-Class has an opportunity to go upmarket. The 2020 CLA250 is a bit more targeted on design and sportiness than its predecessor, and as such it will put on a barely larger price ticket. However the largest revelation, after driving the brand new CLA on the roads in and round Munich, Germany, is that it now appears like a premium automobile from behind the wheel.
An entertaining drive
The Mercedes CLA250 encompasses a 2.Zero-liter turbocharged inline-four engine coupled to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The engine is rated for 221 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, and might be had with front-wheel drive as normal or 4Matic all-wheel drive as an choice. It is a good step up from the engine within the A220 sedan, which gives a relatively lackluster 188 hp and 221 lb-ft. In a while, there may also be an AMG mannequin rated for 302 hp.
The two.0T is a potent powertrain, with a lot of torque and supremely easy energy supply all the way in which to redline. The Dynamic Choose change livens up throttle and transmission response fairly a bit when turned to Sport mode, although the paddle shifters by no means ship particularly crisp gearchanges. However the CLA250 is highly effective sufficient to do triple-digit speeds within the left lane of derestricted autobahn sections with out breaking a sweat. And it is responsive sufficient to rapidly dispatch sluggish farm gear on two-lane roads.
The second-gen CLA250 has a a lot wider observe than final yr’s mannequin, by 2.5 inches in entrance and a pair of.2 inches within the again, contributing to extra planted dealing with via bends. My check automobile has the obtainable adaptive suspension and Pirelli P-Zero summer time tires on 19-inch wheels, too, so it rewards brisk driving with crisp turn-in and sharply damped physique motions. (Mercedes officers weren’t capable of verify whether or not P-Zeros can be provided on US-spec automobiles.) Between the succesful chassis and the ability increase over the A220, it is clear the CLA250 delivers on its promise of being the sportier entry-level Mercedes four-door.
The CLA-Class has a wider observe than earlier than, each entrance and rear, to enhance dealing with.
The electrical energy steering is, identical to within the bigger C-Class, delightfully tuned with extraordinarily pure motion. It isn’t very feelsome via the wheel, however its just-right weighting strikes a pleasant stability between city ease and back-road enjoyment. The CLA additionally has a terrific sense of straight-ahead on the freeway, making high-speed autobahn runs (and thus your 75-mile-per-hour Interstate commute) enjoyable.
The extra vital check of the 2020 CLA250, although, is the way it copes with stop-and-go driving and potholed roads, conditions which tended to flummox the outgoing mannequin’s clunky gearbox and crashy suspension. Returning to Munich at rush hour proves the right check, as I take half an hour to drive solely a handful of kilometers via heavy site visitors.
The CLA-Class acquits itself effectively, with the dual-clutch transmission slipping away from a begin easily and the chassis absorbing imperfect bumps and tram-line crossings with little fuss. It is a quiet and cozy automobile, and one which feels fairly settled in city driving. It contributes to an general feeling of refinement and smoothness for the entire automobile. The exception is the transmission, which downshifts noisily and with a clunk when braking to a cease and typically reengages jerkily once you get again on the throttle.
The tech-centric cabin contains twin digital shows, one for the instrument cluster and a second for the infotainment system.
Extra interesting design
As earlier than, the CLA-Class has what Mercedes calls a “four-door coupe” design, with a plunging roofline and frameless home windows. The physique strains are a good bit less complicated than earlier than, with mild curves fairly than aggressive creases, and good proportions for a automobile based mostly on a front-wheel-drive chassis. In comparison with final yr’s mannequin, the CLA250 grows by 1.9 inches in size and a pair of.Zero inches in width.
Notable design adjustments embrace a shark-nose model grille that angles ahead, the relocation of the license-plate holder from the trunklid to the rear bumper and taillights which are larger on the automobile and wider. The rear flip indicators, that are downward-pointing orange LED strips on European automobiles, look a bit odd when considered from a trailing automobile. Personally, I want the extra conventional three-box form of the A-Class sedan, however there is not any disputing the magnificence of the CLA.
It is an aerodynamic design, too, with the whole thing of the automobile’s underside coated, other than the exhaust and the entrance wheel wells. Mercedes cites an slippery Zero.23 drag-coefficient determine, proper behind the Zero.22 Cd of the A-Class sedan. The entire automobile’s aerodynamic enhancements save as a lot gas as pulling 220 kilos of mass out of the automobile, Mercedes claims.
A curving roofline and frameless home windows proceed to be key CLA-Class design cues.
Contained in the Mercedes CLA, know-how abounds. You get a 7-inch digital instrument cluster and infotainment system as normal, with twin 10.25-inch shows obtainable as an choice. Both choice has a touchscreen with the brand new MBUX infotainment system that we fairly like in different automobiles.
Along with touching its many buttons and menus on-screen, you’ll be able to navigate by swiping a touchpad on the middle console or a pad on the right-hand facet of the steering wheel. You too can say, “Hey, Mercedes” and use voice instructions to “speak” to the system. There’s additionally an augmented-reality choice for the navigation which overlays road-sign markings and directional arrows over reside video of the view forward once you’re approaching a junction.
Assist for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay comes normal. Like many more recent automobiles, the CLA-Class comes solely with USB Sort-C ports (one up entrance, two within the smallish middle console), so iPhone ($1,000 at Amazon) customers will want an adapter to plug in and cost. Wi-fi charging is obtainable as an choice.
Along with the touchscreen and center-console pad, you’ll be able to function the infotainment system from the little black scroll wheel on the steering wheel.
Different normal inside gear contains push-button begin, dual-zone local weather management, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and cruise management. Heated and cooled seats, a heated steering wheel, 64-color ambient lighting, a head-up show and a Burmester sound system are among the many choices record.
Design-wise, the CLA’s cabin is acquainted, with turbine-style round air vents, a row of climate-control buttons and varied stitched-leather and metallic accents. This can be one of many extra reasonably priced Mercedes automobiles you should purchase, however all these trim items and switches really feel simply as good as every other automobile. However, my check automobile nonetheless has a manually adjusted passenger seat, which feels a bit stingy.
As to the again seat, legroom is simply fantastic however my head touches the headliner if I sit up — that is the draw back of that sloping roofline. If all your folks are NBA gamers, this won’t be the automobile for you. And though the trunk opening is three.9 inches wider than earlier than, its capability is down by Zero.four cubic ft in European measurements. (A US-specific cargo capability determine is not but obtainable.)
The two.Zero-liter turbo-four engine delivers 221 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque.
Higher outfitted, higher worth
Along with the aforementioned inside tech, the 2020 CLA-Class is better-equipped than earlier than in most different methods. For example, you get 18-inch wheels and LED headlights as normal, and the record of driver-assistance choices is in depth. The CLA250 might be optioned with adaptive cruise management that may, optionally, routinely regulate its set pace to new pace limits, as an example, in addition to all of the anticipated options together with lane-keep help, blind-spot monitoring, a 360-degree digital camera, precollision braking with ahead cross-traffic braking and even steering help on the freeway.
Pricing for the 2020 Mercedes CLA250 has but to be set, but it surely ought to slip someplace in between the $33,495 A220 and the $42,395 C300. With a way more beneficiant standard-equipment record than earlier than, buyers should not want so as to add an excessive amount of to that entry value to get all of the options they want or need from a contemporary luxurious automobile, both.
There’s most likely fairly an overlapping Venn diagram between the individuals who may need the A-Class and the CLA-Class. However the latter impresses with its larger strategy to model and driving dynamics, in addition to its improved function set. For patrons occupied with an reasonably priced entry-level sedan, the 2020 Mercedes CLA250 makes fairly the compelling argument.
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