Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA45 review
It’s a modern Mitsubishi Lancer Evo! Well, it isn’t. But the spirit of those early 2000s rally exponents is here in abundance, even if it’s buried under layers of chintz where Japanese sports sedans were plastic (and proud) once you climbed in.
The CLA45 is a completely natural extension of the handsome A45 hatchback, and there’s also a GLA45 crossover on AMG’s price list. So this is another little Mercedes (sort of) derived from the company’s native rear-wheel drive platform, though all hot AMG builds come with four-wheel drive.
And here, as with the A45, it is extremely smart. If you follow the correct sequence of button presses and paddle pulls to activate Drift mode, it’s also a bit wacky.
But it’s a slightly whimsical icing on an otherwise highly professional cake. The spec sheet on this car doesn’t get any less crazy over time. What we have is something the size of a Ford Focus with 415bhp from the factory in its most powerful CLA45 S version, that’s all we have in the UK. Enough to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in four seconds and reach a top speed of 250 km/h; remove the electronic limiter and god knows how crazy it would be before physics slowed it down.
What’s more surprising is that the power is pumped out by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, like the old Evos, but with much less lag at the bottom end. It’s a hugely smart engine with the right tech in our AMG A45 review if you’ve got some time to spare. It’s mated exclusively to an eight-speed automatic transmission with manual paddle shifters.
The CLA45 costs £1900 more than an equivalent A45 and comes with largely identical (although seemingly slightly less frenetic) setup to match its sleeker body shape. It comes in sedan or estate form (ie ‘Coupe’ and ‘Shooting Brake’ in Mercedes parlance), the latter costing an extra £1,000, while a ‘Plus’ is a choice of a grand six. Add in the aero kit you see here, along with adaptive damping, punchier alloys, sleeker seats, and a punchier stereo.
It’ll be a £60,000 four-cylinder saloon before you know it, then. But if the A45 is anything to go by, it has a good chance of living up to its price. And if you run the price of a cheated-out Lancer from two decades ago through an inflation calculator, it ends up in the same ballpark…
What’s the verdict?
It is a converted car. The old CLA45 wasn’t exactly shoddy, but once you got past its unbridled acceleration, it seemed like it didn’t have too many layers left to peel off. This second part has much more depth and sophistication; you’ll play the practical all-weather card when you feel like it, and something much sillier when you’re in a good mood.
Just like the best examples of the Evo and Impreza did fifteen (or more) years ago. Granted, it’s quite different in its demeanor – you’d do well to keep it under £60,000 – and there’s an emphasis on interior comfort and technology that Mitsubishi and Subaru have rarely bothered with. Still, it’s proof that AMG engineers have managed to create a sedan that doesn’t have rear-wheel drive and a big, beefy V8. real fun to drive. And you can have a domain…
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Source : topgear.com