The CLA was the first all-new vehicle launch from Mercedes this year, and we were captivated by its good looks as soon as we set eyes on it at the media drive in Goa. It really is a beautiful car, and even though it’s based on the A-Class, it shares more styling cues from the CLS. The car’s aesthetic appeal is also the main reason that it became an instant sensation in the global market, and it drew in a lot of first-time Mercedes-Benz customers. Plus, an interesting fact is that Mercedes claims the CLA is the most aerodynamic car in the world – with a Cd value of just 0.23. That means its sleek and sporty look is a ‘design with purpose.’ This is why the CLA almost scored a perfect 5 in terms of design.
The CLA is essentially a 4-door coupe, and that’s how it feels when you enter the cabin – it’s compact, and there isn’t much room for rear seat passengers. When it comes to space and comfort it really doesn’t offer much. However, there’s still a luxurious tone – the driver’s seat is comfortable, and the dash is set up in typical Mercedes-Benz fashion. Though the overall quality and features seem to be sub-par when compared with the rest of the Mercedes range.
The CLA 200 gets a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol unit that belts out 181bhp and 300Nm of torque, and this is the car we had at the BIC. There is also the CLA 200 CDI, which gets a 2.1-litre turbo-diesel with only 134bhp, but with identical torque. Both engines are mated to the 7G-DCT transmission with paddle shifters on the steering wheel. However, the diesel variant doesn’t feel as refined as its petrol sibling, and it’s also not as much fun to drive – and this cost the CLA some points in the Refinement and Drivetrain categories. The CLA 200, however, is pretty spritely off the line and can reach 100km/h in under eight seconds. The acceleration is linear and seamless, and it has great low and mid-range power as well. As far as handling is concerned, we’ve always said that the A-Class platform (on which this is based) makes for some of the best handling front-wheel drive cars in the world – and that certainly holds true for the CLA. It’s sharp and precise – and this helped the CLA achieve a very impressive lap time at the BIC.
The CLA might not be the most comfortable vehicle here, and it might be slightly down on features, but it’s certainly a striking machine. This is a Merc that makes you want to occupy the driver’s seat rather than the rear bench. So, if you enjoy driving and looking good, this could well be the car for you. Just make sure that you choose the petrol over diesel though…