The CLA-Class is Mercedes-Benz India’s entry-level luxury sedan and also the first vehicle to be launched in 2015 by the German automaker. Representing a relatively new segment which involves young customers aspiring to own a high-end vehicle, the CLA-Class competes with the Audi A3 here in the Indian market.
One of the main selling points of the CLA-Class is the way it looks. Unlike any other Mercedes vehicle at this price point, the CLA manages to look exotic thanks to its coupe-like profile and frameless doors. The front-end sports the diamond finish grille (in select trims), massively sculpted air intakes and a chin spoiler that gives it an aggressive look. The clean sculpted lines on the sides add to the styling of the vehicle. At the back, the impressive design is completed by the neatly carved bumper with a sharp looking boot lid.
The MFA (Mercedes Front-wheel drive Architecture) platform that underpins all front-wheel drive products from Mercedes' portfolio is also seen on this vehicle. Even though the CLA shares the same underpinnings as the A-, B- and the GLA-Class, it has a greater ground clearance, a change the manufacturer has brought in for Indian road conditions.
Inside, the cabin design is reminiscent of the A-Class and the GLA. Expectedly, the interior has a high perceived quality thanks to the contours, choice and combinations of high-grade materials. The cabin design is dominated by the five round air vents that are integrated into the dashboard. The free-standing display for the COMMAND system is finished in piano black.
Standard features on the top-spec Sport trim includes 7 airbags, ABS with EBD, traction control system, engine immobilizer, cruise control, rear view camera, electrically foldable wing mirrors, leather seat upholstery, rain sensing wipers and lots more.
Engine and gearbox
The CLA-Class is available in both petrol and diesel variants right from the launch. The petrol version is powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine that churns out 181bhp of power and 300Nm of torque. The oil-burner is a 2.1-litre, four-cylinder unit that produces 135bhp of power and 300Nm of torque. Both the variants come mated to a seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission with power sent to the front wheels.
Mercedes Benz India is also selling the high-performance CLA 45 AMG which is powered by a 2-litre turbocharged petrol engine developing 355bhp of power and 450Nm of torque. This engine too is mated to the same 7-speed dual clutch automatic gearbox. The CLA 45 gets a sportier body kit, smashing looking alloy wheels and obviously some of the most sought-after tuning that has made AMG famous over the last three decades.
Positioned in the entry-level luxury sedan segment, the CLA-Class competes with the Audi A3. The high-performance CLA 45 AMG, on the other hand and has no real rivals at present in the Indian market. In terms of competition, the Audi S4 is what comes closest to the CLA 45 AMG although the former belongs to a segment higher and is more practical.