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Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0
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PROS

  • Extremely fast
  • Brilliant handling
  • Sleek styling
  • Larger boot than A-Class

CONS

  • Expensive to buy
  • Could prove expensive to run
  • Ride quality not great

Verdict

The Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG is the sizzling performance version of the CLA – a four-door saloon based on the A-Class hatchback but styled like the larger CLS.

Confused? Us too, but what’s certain is that this car is no shrinking violet. It’s powerful, distinctive and it sounds pretty special too – not to mention the stable and assured handling. Interestingly, it’s not all that expensive to run either providing you drive with restraint. Fuel economy is a claimed 40.9mpg average IF you can control your right foot, while CO2 emissions of 161g/km mean road tax isn’t going to bankrupt you either.

The CLA 45 AMG shares much of its under-pinnings with the A 45 AMG, but the main differences between the two are the CLA's far larger boot, cost (the CLA is much more expensive) and comfort, since this car is far quieter and has better ride quality which makes it better suited to longer journeys.

High-power petrol engine

The sole engine available has been designed with high performance driving in mind. It has 355bhp to call upon and creates 450Nm of torque, which means a sprint to 62mph takes just 4.6 seconds. Its top speed is electronically limited to 155mph.

Unusually for an AMG model – which would normally have a massive V8 engine under the bonnet – the CLA 45 makes use of a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder powerplant. The main advantage of using a smaller engine is the improved fuel economy and CO2 emissions.

Power to all four wheels

The CLA 45 AMG has a four-wheel drive system which means not only does it have serious power but tons of grip and traction too. Where other AMG models have been known to wheelspin even in dry conditions, this one is likely to be usable in pretty much all conditions.

Power is fed through a seven-speed twin clutch automatic gearbox, which can be controlled manually using the paddle-shifters behind the steering wheel. This gearbox also features a Race Start launch control system, which allows the car to take off at the quickest possible speed from a standstill by holding the revs at a particular level.

You also get a sophisticated three-stage stability control system whereby the driver can decide how much the car electronically intervenes with the driver’s inputs. This includes a 'Curve Dynamic Assist' element that kicks in during hard cornering to imperceptibly brake the inside wheels to deliver more precise cornering.

Distinctive design

Both the interior and exterior have had the AMG treatment so you’re left under no illusion of this car’s sporting intentions.

You’ll also have the option to further customise your car with extra AMG equipment such as a performance exhaust system or an additional styling package.

Like the CLS, the hot CLA forms a new sector of the market. It’s soon to be joined by the Audi S3 saloon as a competitor, but upon launch there isn’t really anything to directly compare it to.

To find out more about this interesting new car, read on for our full and comprehensive Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG review.

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