In the Indian market the lowest rung of the premium sedan segment has been without major updates since its inception here in 2014. Its dormancy has been fuelled by the rush for SUVs across the spectrum of the luxury market. Now, though, things look active once again as Mercedes-Benz has launched a facelifted version of the CLA sedan. It will take on the likes of the Audi A3 and to see how the car do against each other here is a spec comparo of how both will fare against each other.
Subtle is perhaps the best term I can use to describe both the cars. In that typical German fashion, they are not flashy or chrome loaded but do stand out due to their unique appearance. The CLA however, is a bit more flashy thanks to the new black grille, restyled tail lamps and that swoopy profile. However, for those looking for more sedan styling and less coupe sportiness in terms of exteriors, the A3 is a much better bet.
It embodies Audi’s latest design philosophy and has chrome outlines in all the right places making it a bit more appealing to shiny loving nature of Indian buyers. The A3 does have one more advantage over the CLA which that you can also have it as a convertible which is more expensive and can only be had with a petrol engine.
Both cars are quite similar in terms of dimensions and offer similar levels of space in the cabin. Even the layout of both cars is pretty much the same with all the elements in the same place. However, the Audi does have an upper hand as it has more minimalistic design compared to the CLA. It is also far sportier and has dabs of chrome in all the right places. The CLA may look sportier on the outside but that sloping roofline means headroom at the rear has been compromised as compared to the A3. Where the CLA manages to claw its way back is that it has a 470-litre boot as compared to the A3’s 425-litre trunk. They are even similar with regard to safety but the CLA gets LSD.
The CLA in the 200 guise is offered with a 2.2-litre four-cylinder diesel engine that produces 134bhp/300Nm while the Audi’s 2.0-litre unit produces 141bhp/320Nm. The Mercedes get a seven-speed unit while the Audi has a six-speed unit.
The Audi A3 in the 40TFSI guise makes use of a 1.8-litre mill that produces 178bhp/250Nm while the Mercedes gets a 2.0-litre unit that produces 181bhp/300Nm. Both the Mercedes and the Audi get a seven-speed unit. Where the Audi has a sporty convertible in the form of the A3 Cabriolet, Mercedes has slapped on its AMG badge onto a CLA and called it the CLA45AMG. The boys from Affalterbach have done their magic on the 2.0-litre unit and have tweaked it to produce 355bhp/450Nm. Power is sent to all four wheels via a 4MATIC system and seven-speed sport shift unit. It is expected to be launched at a later date in 2017.
Prices (ex-showroom Delhi)
The Audi A3 has been priced in the range of Rs 27.10 lakh to Rs 35.65 lakh for the top-of-the-line diesel. The cabriolet which is a CBU has been priced at Rs 47.35 lakh.
We believe that this new CLA will not differ much from the current car in terms of price and so should continue in the range of Rs 31.61 lakh to Rs 34.90 lakh. The current CLA45 AMG is priced at Rs 70.90 lakh.