Mercedes’ CLA embodies fine German quality for a distinctly non-German price. We recently drove the CLA250, retailing for just $29,900, and found it fantastic. At today’s New York International Auto Show, Mercedes revealed the CLA45 AMG – a raucous, amped up version of the CLA250 in which we loved.
The CLA250 amasses just 208 hp, but when driving, it feels plenty adequate. The CLA45 AMG, by comparison, boasts 355 hp from its 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, good for 332 lb. ft. of torque with a kick capable of dashing to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. Starting at just $47,450, pocket change by AMG standards, the CLA45 AMG stands poised to create a real problem for its German rivals; we don’t get the BMW 1M in the U.S and the M3 costs well over ten grand more. The CLA45 AMG has few natural adversaries, allowing it to carve its own distinct path.
Whereas the CLA250 comes with a choice of either front-wheel drive or 4MATIC (Mercedes’ version of all-wheel drive), the CLA45 AMG comes standard with 4MATIC. No manual gearbox exists so buyers will have to make do with AMG’s 7-speed dual clutch transmission. That box, in all likelihood, will be more than capable of diminishing the whine reverberating from enthusiasts everywhere.
Visually, AMG’s latest offering displays its usual unique bag of details and carbon fiber tricks. But, when comparing to the CLA250 with the sports appearance pack, it doesn’t differentiate itself as prominently as expected. Still, it remains fabulously aggressive and, given what it packs under the hood, should be as exhilarating as riding shotgun with Buzz Aldrin.
In other Mercedes news, an electric version of the B-Class was unveiled today. With a range of 115 miles stemming from its 134 hp motor and a 0-60 mph time of around 10 seconds, it’s hard focusing on anything other than Mercedes’ latest AMG.