Review: Mercedes CLA45 AMG
AMG gets its entry-level sedan, the CLA45, to India. TG gets to drive it in the fast lane
The A-Class is the sexiest Mercedes on Indian roads today, but this won’t last very long, as Indian buyers will soon be able to get their hands on a CLA45 AMG. An A-Class sedan? A scaled-down CLS? Whatever you'd like to call it, the CLA45 takes the oomph factor a few notches up for Mercedes in India. Add a fire-breathing AMG engine to those sexy looks, and things just get a lot spicier.
AMG claims that this engine is the most powerful four-pot motor in the world. What that means to you and me is, that the 2.0-litre motor makes an absurd 355bhp and 450Nm torque. All that power would have been a real handful for a car with a simple front wheel-drive setup. So the CLA45 gets a 4MATIC (Merc speak for all-wheel drive) setup.
The engine sounds angry from the word go. It’s not the typical AMG V8 soundtrack that we are so used to, but it sounds nice nonetheless, without being too intrusive. Put the pedal to the metal, and there is notable lag before the power kicks in. It feels like the front and rear tyres wait for a second to discuss how they will share all the power being thrown at them by the mad motor. And boom, you have crossed 100kph even before you can say ‘Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG’.
Mercedes claims the CLA45 can sprint to 100kph in 4.6sec, which we think is pretty impressive. The sprint is not very ceremonious, though. Unlike other AMGs, there’s no wheelspin, and no cloud of white smoke from the rear wheels either.
Keep the pedal pinned down, and the car will easily reach 200kph without breaking a sweat. It'd go even faster than that, but you'd run out of open roads very quickly. Once we were done clearing our scepticism on the motor's performance, it was time to take a few twisties.
Here, the CLA45 does impress you a lot more with its cornering ability. The steering feels direct, and you have to just point it in the direction you want the car to go. Don’t expect the CLA45 to hang its tail out while taking a corner as 4MATIC is constantly monitoring the amount of power being sent to each wheel. If you want a car that is tail-happy, you will be disappointed with the CLA 45. But if you're looking for something that corners with clinical precision, then the CLA45 it is.
The interior is similar to the A-Class, which this CLA is based on. In typical Mercedes fashion, the interior exudes quality. The driver’s seat holds you in place when lateral G-force comes into play. From the red-coloured seatbelts to the brushed aluminium, you get a sense that this car is all about going fast. The only surprising bit is that we could not see any carbon fibre anywhere in the car.
Summing it up, the new 'base' model in AMG's India line-up is an impressive vehicle. It’s not a typical AMG car that we are so familiar with, but a completely new approach by AMG to high-performance machines. It tries to hide its front-wheel drive roots with the 4MATIC system, but we're not really sure if this AWD tech is the best in the business. In our opinion, AMG should have gone with a rear-biased AWD system rather than trying to send equal power to the front and rear wheels. However, with an estimated price tag of Rs 80 lakh and those good looks, we're pretty sure buyers will need no convincing to sign a cheque for this entry-level AMG.
Turbocharged 4cyl, 1,991cc petrol, 355bhp, 450Nm, 1,585kg, 7kpl, Rs 68.50 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)
Looks good, goes fast and makes enough power to put some V6 cars to shame. Also the most affordable AMG that you can buy in India.