First Review: 2014 Mercedes CLA250
The term “Baby Benz” has been used to describe small Mercedes-Benz vehicles in the past. This time though, don’t call the CLA250 a “Baby” as this is one gorgeous vehicle. Styled similarly after its bigger brother, the CLS, the CLA250 has a 4dr coupe profile with frameless side windows for a dramatic aesthetic effect. The car has a swooping side profile that integrates nicely with its front and rear overhangs. The front grille has a nice design that has an almost 3D effect. The front end, while being visually tall, somehow looks good when combined with the aggressive front bumper with gaping air inlet grilles. The rear bumper and taillights have a very similar look to the CLS, which in our book is a very good move.
The CLA250 will most likely arrive with standard 17″ wheels, with optional 18″ wheels available. All of the wheel designs offered are beautiful and compliment the CLA nicely. With a coefficent of drag at just 0.23, Mercedes claims that this is the most aerodynamic mass production vehicle available for sale. Combined, the styling and design of the CLA is a fresh take on a small vehicle, enabling it to have the presence of a much larger car.
Inside, you will find a racy interior that is inspired from Mercedes-Benz’s more sporting offerings, like the SLK or SL. The air vents are large and round, and the dash has a large surface area with aluminum trim available. The seats are a sports design with aggressive side bolsters that offer a good balance of grip and support. All of the gauges are laid out in typical Mercedes fashion – large, easy-to-read font, center digital display, and silver backed gauge coloring. The steering wheel is sporty with its flat bottom and perforated leather finish. The cockpit is also very quiet thanks to the low coefficent of drag and Mercedes usual attention to seals and weather stripping. There is a large center screen for navigation and other features which we actually like. It has generated some negative reviews from other parties, but in our opinion it is in the ideal location for good visibility. One gripe we have is with the gear selector. We prefer the selector to be in the middle of the console, whereas on the CLA it is a stalk mounted unit.
Power comes courtesy of 2.0L direct injected Turbo inline 4 cylinder engine that produces 258 pound feet of torque and 208 horsepower. That’s good enough to propel the CLA250 from 0-60 MPH in about 6.7 seconds and up to a top speed of 149 MPH. For a base vehicle, that is pretty good performance and inline with other offerings. The seven speed dual clutch transmission is the only unit offered. While is a good unit overall, the shifts could have been smoother and more refined. In no way was it too harsh or bad, but it could use a little polishing. Being front wheel drive was going to hinder its performance in our enthusiast mind, but the handling is quite sharp and responsive. We still feel that rear wheel drive would have benefited the chassis, but we suppose there is still the C Class if you truly desire RWD. There is going to be a AWD option as well for those who live in areas with inclement weather conditions. Expect MPG to be in the 30+ range, due to the direct-injected motor with start/stop function and the dual clutch transmission.
Fully loaded with all options, the CLA250 will not exceed $40,000. That is the true appeal of this car. There is definitely a market for a compact, sporty car – just look at the sports compact car market of the 90s. The CLA revives that spirit and truly makes a case to consider Mercedes if you’re in the market for a more premium compact car. The chassis is certainly sporty, the interior is fresh and modern, the four coupe shape is truly pleasing, and the starting price of $30,000 is certainly a nice touch. All in all, a GREAT vehicle.