Most of the time I like to know as little as possible on the vehicle I am to review. I consider it a type of blind date where I get to have that initial meet and greet (with all that wonder, speculation and assumption that comes with it), followed by spending time getting to know all about her/it. Asking questions of the pedigree, handling and of course the heart. Now, normally I am a pretty good judge of engine cc size but for some obscure reason, this time I was way off. The engine felt strong and powerful, responsive with plenty of beans – in short it felt upwards of 3000. However; after checking the information sheet and then double checking the registration to confirm, the CLA 45 AMG coupe is in fact a 2 Litre!
In my defence, there is a lot of evidence to suggest that it has a much bigger powertrain. The car’s look is the first deceiver, the Coupe’s styling has a powerful yet sleek profile. Up front, the foreboding Mercedes-AMG twin blade grille is guarded at each end by its menacing LED headlights and underscored by impressive front apron and A-wing design. Its sloping roofline meets with the boot’s colour coded spoiler lip and the rear door glass comes to a razor sharp point. Its tail end hasn’t been saved from drama either, rear apron, vertical fin diffuser, Turbo badging and twin chrome-plated tail pipes have been added to the AMG performance exhaust. All this and more, sitting on 19” AMG cross-spoke wheels.
The deception continues on the inside too. Red Cut leather AMG performance seats, with racing (designo) red seat belts and air vents. AMG instrument cluster with Race Timer, 8” TFT colour display that (aside from having the usual Sat Nav and COMAND) controls the 12 speaker Harman Kardon surround system. Oh and the AMG drive unit with ‘Race’ the 5th driving mode.
But the bigger deception of all comes when you drive it. I was encouraged to use the Sports+ mode (when I picked the AMG CLA 45 up) and really ‘experience’ her dynamism and sports appeal, so that is exactly what I did. Turning the driving mode dial brought the entire car to life. The steering is more responsive, gear selection through the AMG speedshift 7 speed Auto box is quicker and more decisive, suspension is tightened and ALL the 280kW and 475Nm figures that the 2 litre (yes 2 litre) 4 cylinder turbocharged engine can produce are right there under your foot. 0-100kph takes a reported 4.2 seconds (yes you read that correctly) the exhaust note is gruff under revs and pops under braking. How AMG have managed to squeeze all that out of a 4 pot is impressive at the very least (and evidently threw me off my game).
It’s an All-wheel drive 4MATIC so I knew it was going to handle well, but it seemed light and more agile than I was expecting and such a blast to tear around in. Plus it’s roomy too, plenty of space to fit all my family in, they too could experience the joy and pleasure of heavy cornering, hard acceleration and late braking – for some reason my wife didn’t share my enthusiasm. However, she was impressed (as were the neighbours) as it took pride of place on our driveway.
For a day to day drive it will run on a combined fuel efficiency of 7.4L/100k and transport your home and work life around in prestigious but sporty comfort, but I’m telling you now; that the moment you are away from the prying eyes of the family you will turn that driving mode dial to the Max and thoroughly enjoy the ride.
So, (members of the jury) if you add all the above together you can see my dilemma and understand why I had to double check the cc rating. The Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 Coupe is quite ‘the’ serious piece of kit. It looks, drives and sounds way bigger than it actually is and is a great way to introduce yourself to the AMG family.
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