Mercedes Benz CLA45 AMG Review: Street Racer
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.
The CLA45AMG looks like a typical German tourist on Indian roads. It does not get well with the surroundings and always leaves its onlookers with some great level of curiosity. It is not an exaggeration to confirm that the CLA45AMG is the best looking sedan in the entire Benz portfolio.
What makes it so explicitly beautiful? Thanks to AMG, this compact sedan has ‘Racing’ written all over its design. Look at it from any angle and you would find fins and skirts jetting out of the body. It is based on the same platform as the A-Class but the CLA45AMG look way different from the hatch with a unique profile. The grille gets the prominent logo with twin slats. With large air intake scoops and carved splitters, this one can gulp down gallons of air to cool that racing heart under the hood.
It is a compact sedan for sure and with those CLS inspired roof and window lines, one can’t stop praising about its aerodynamic design. This coupe looking sedan also ditches standard framed doors for frameless ones. It gets panoramic sunroof in a glossy black finish. Side skirts, five spoke alloys and red AMG brake callipers give a proper idea of its high performance DNA. To top it up, there is a tiny ‘TURBO AMG’ badge near the front wheel arch. The C-Pillar flows in the most beautiful way all the way to the rear boot lid.
The slant angle of the rear windshield makes it look integrated with the rear profile. The boot lid gets a subtle boot lip spoiler. The most attractive feature about the CLA4AMG has to be its flowing tail lamps. In fact, I find them way more impressive than that on the S-Class. These flame accented lights flow around the rear boot lid. This one also gets new set of Quad square AMG pipes which can be further customised.
This time again Mercedes Benz impressed me with its great thinking behind making the interiors feel so great. Yup, it is familiar to other Benz cars and that is the best part about it. How does an AMG feel from inside?
Let’s begin with the trendy cockpit inspired flat bottom steering wheel which is done in leather and Alcantara. This wheel has an amazing grip and is the best around tight corners. While the up side is its unique sport meeting luxury look, the down side is the shortage of space. Taller passengers would end up spending quality time adjusting the correct position of seats to get inside. Being a low rider, this one is not exactly a slide in and drive car. The Recaro designed seats are quite low. The rear passenger space is manageable. In case, you didn’t notice it’s an AMG car from outside, the badging inside will surely assure you of it. The red seat belts too do the same.
The black and silver colour combination for the interiors make it very impressive and to add to that, the red stitch throughout completes the performance package. The AMG Performance Studio has numerous customization options which can help you transform the inside to have the trim, material and colour of your choice. We highly recommend the carbon fibre package which has an attractive fit and finish.
Everything looks and feels perfect until you see the tablet like screen on the front dashboard. This screen is useful and is very convenient to operate but its position is a bit odd. If only this screen submersed inside the dashboard like that in the A3, the dashboard layout would have looked neat and clean.
The CLA45 AMG is not just a fancy looking car as it offers its own share of practicality. There are cup holders and bottle storage places on the central console and door trims. The boot might not take your golf kit but will surely make sure you have a sufficiently long weekend with enough space for luggage.
AMG cars, as we all know, are all about extreme loud drama. Their V8s and V12s in particular are one of the most insane cars. Their growl, performance and radical untamed behaviour set them apart from the normal pack. Coming to the CLA45AMG, this is for the first time, AMG tried injecting its famous DNA in such a small engine and the results are truly awesome.
How much can it deliver? This four cylinder 2-litre unit is the most powerful small engine to be ever made by AMG. It produces a power of 360hp and a torque of 450Nm. To match these numbers, it also gets a 7-speed Dual Clutch transmission. As officially claimed, this CLA45AMG can reach a speed of 100km/h in 4.6 seconds.
Gently tap the throttle and the angry mill starts to warm up before the tacho needle travels all the way to an extreme position making this sedan feel like no other. The CLA45AMG unlike other rear wheel drive performance cars makes use of 4MATIC drive which sends all the power to all four wheels. But the catch is it is not on all wheel drive mode always. The power input is more focussed on front wheels and the rear set only gets it with an increase in power demand.
Its muffled croaky exhaust note reminds me of Japanese tuner cars. The note is not as loud and flamboyant as its elder brothers but then it still manages to create a unique sound which grows on you. Shift it manual mode and make the needle reach 7000 rpm before shifting to the next gear, the exhaust note gets a tearing effect which is mainly the afterburner sound.
This small little car loves to play around corners. Enter a corner at a great speed and make sure you hold on tight to that flat bottom steering wheel, it holds on to the lines with great confidence even when powered hard. Being a focussed front wheel, there is a bit of understeer especially if you are accelerating on turns which can be ignored for the way this one handles suck tricky manoeuvres.
No just fancy looks but useful too. The aerodynamic design and extremely compact dimensions of the CLA45AMG are a blessing in city and on highways. Be it dodging city traffic in bumper to bumper conditions or a quick stop at an ATM, parking this one is no hassle. On highways, being a light footed car, overtaking happens in no time at all. Just a thumb shift and the 7-speed DCT unit is obedient enough to whip the engine and make it deliver more power. Intermittent shifts happen without any delay.
The 18inch low profile tyres of the CLA45AMG grip the road like claws on tarmac. They are also responsible for a stiff ride and handling. Performance enthusiasts might enjoy this aspect but on a long journey, it can get really uncomfortable. It is quick and agile. The suspensions try hard to make sure the car remains unattached to road undulations. It is a sports car so expecting its suspensions to totally nullify the road conditions by absorbing it all is unfair.
I must reconfirm that this 2 litre engine is unlike any other. Guys at AMG have done a truly impressive job. This one gets a single turbocharger which effectively churns out those mammoth figures without any effort. The transmission which gets three modes – Sport, Comfort and Manual is a joy to operate. Must confess that the manual mode is the most fun to drive mode as it overrides the auto and the driver can squeeze in power till the last engine rev. Shifts are extremely precise and quick.
The only issue with it is driving it on normal roads. Being such a low slung ride, there are high chances of the rear differential scraping those speed breakers. The low profile tyres which are a tarmac hugger on highways feel too delicate to be driven on rough roads.
|Ex-Showroom Price||Rs. 6,850,000|
|Power in bhp / RPM||355 / 6000|
|Torque in Nm / RPM||450 / 2250|
|Wheel base mm||2699|
|Fuel tank capacity L||50L|
|Tyre Spec||235 / 40 R18|
|AMG instrument cluster with RACETIMER||Yes|
|AMG performance exhaust seat in Black RED CUT leather upholstery||Yes|
|AMG performance steering wheel in black nappa leather/Microfaser DINAMICA®||Yes|
|DAB+ digital radio||Yes|
|Floor mats with "AMG" lettering||Yes|
|Harman Kardon®Logic 7® surround sound system including 12 loudspeakers and Dolby Digital 5.1/DTS||Yes|
|Illuminated door sill panels with "AMG" lettering||Yes|
|Key with AMG emblem||Yes|
|Seat belts in designo red||Yes|
|AMG high-performance braking system||Yes|
|AMG performance exhaust seat in Black RED CUT leather upholstery||Yes|
|AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-Speed automatic transmission||Yes|
|AMG sports suspension||Yes|
|AMG Turbo badge on side||Yes|
|AMG twin blade radiator grille||Yes|
|Brake callipers in red with "AMG" lettering||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Variant||45 AMG||3.0 TFSI quattro|
|Ex-Showroom Price||Rs. 6,850,000||Rs. 5,360,000|
|Power in bhp / RPM||355 / 6000||328 / 5500|
|Torque in Nm / RPM||450 / 2250||440 / 2900|
|Wheel base mm||2699||2811|
|Fuel tank capacity L||56||61|
|Tyre Spec||235 / 40 R18||245 / 40 R18|
The line ‘Happiness comes in small packages’ holds its relevance with the CLA45AMG. No one could have ever imagined a 2-litre engine to be this responsive and power packed. Agreed, it does not deliver spine pulling performance but then the figures it generates is second to none in its segment. This compact sedan from Mercedes-Benz produces sprint timings close to a BMW M3 at half its price.
If looks could talk, the45AMG’s design would have screamed of its rich hyper action heritage. With an increased focus on efficiency, there are not many cars which boast of such performance. Even the legendary Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X falls short to match with this baby AMG. Being the most affordable all out performance car, the CLA45AMG should make it an enthusiast’s parking...just make sure you don’t end up picking bets while racing around at night.