CLA 45 AMG review – X Marks the Spot

Scotsman Robert Louis Stevenson first published Treasure Island in 1883; it is an adventure novel full of Pirates, Swashbuckling Buccaneers, talking parrots, far off lands and high sea high jinks. It’s a tale of Good guys verses Bad, Brotherhood, Loyalty, Greed and Mutiny all shrouded in the quest to find buried treasure. Despite some of the serious undertones and life lessons the original story regales, subsequent movies, plays and pantomimes have created new forms of vocabulary and allowed actors to ham up their roles to almost legendary proportions. As I stared at vents that were spread across the dash of the CLA45 AMG Shooting brake, buried treasure was all I could think about.

Despite being a reasonably big car; from the exterior the CLA45 looks all hunkered down and squat, seemingly ready for anything. It has coupe look styling on a Shooting brake shell which side on looks more like an extended sportsback – pick the bones out of that. Lift the tailgate and you get heaps of floor space however it’s not that tall back there, the car’s sleek styling tapering the roof down towards the rear cuts off some of the storage space, but in my opinion it’s well worth the sacrifice.

cla-45-amg-3The interior is; as I have more or less come to expect in the latest Mercedes vehicles – excellent. The AMG Performance sports seats in Black/red cut leather are rigid but not uncomfortable, can be moved and adjusted to your every whim and at full setting the heating setting really cooks your rump. The designo red seatbelts hold you firm and the red stitching throughout the cabin completes the racy look. The sports steering wheel feels comfortable; but I found the microfaser leather trim around the 3 and 9 position to be a little slippery, maybe it just needs wearing in. An 8” colour TFT display monitor controls everything from navigation and phone to car ambience and sound and while we’re on the subject of sound; the Harman Kardon stereo belts out tunes at an ear bleeding level  – without distortion, it’s well worth doing depending on your choice in music (believe me; people outside WILL hear) especially with the huge glass roof/sunroof open.

cla-45-amg-2The tiny AMG embossed gear stick looks more like an ornament than a device to control the AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed gearbox below. When attached to the CLA45’s 2L/4cylinder turbocharged engine it performs brilliantly, even at the notoriously bad (for me) low rev area. If at all interested, combined the advertised fuel economy is 7.2L/100k’s and is a number that I feel is totally achievable – I managed to get 7.9/100km’s on a long out of town run – sorry about trying something different to report on – won’t happen again.

On to the fun stuff. The 2L turbo engine kicks out a delicious 265kW of power and 450Nm of torque and putting your foot flat to the floor the turbo dumps on every gear change making a sound like cannon fire, it’s so unbecoming of a shooting brake which double the hilarity. 0-100 is achieved in a nearly unbelievable 4.7 seconds and being a 4MATIC All Wheel Drive makes this car an absolute demon in the curves. As if this wasn’t enough (and it should be) the AMG performance exhaust gives off a variety of notes that garners attention from both inside and outside the car – particularly on high revs.

It can stop too – thankfully. The CLA45 AMG has a very large brake pedal which in turn connects to some very large disk brakes that fit snuggly behind its 19” matt black alloys.

cla-45-amg-4As I said in the beginning, staring at the circular air vents in the dashboard I couldn’t help but think of Stevenson’s novel, all five of them have big X’s across their centre’s and highlighted in a sporty red surround, so ‘X’ well and truly marks the spot. Behind them all sits the CLA45 AMG Shooting brake – a real piece of driving treasure.

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