Seat Time: 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG

April 16th, 2014 at 11:46am

Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG

Seat Time is a chance for us to share our impressions of vehicles being tested in the Autoline Garage and at media previews from around the globe.

Manufacturer: Daimler AG
Make: Mercedes-Benz
Model: CLA 45 AMG
Model Range: 4-door sedan
Competitors: Cadillac CTS-V, BMW M3, Audi RS3
Trim Levels: CLA 250, CLA 45 AMG
Price Range: Base price: $30,825. Price as tested: $61,590
Made in: Kecskemet, Hungary
Drivetrain: 2.0 l I-4 turbo; 355 hp, 322 lb-ft, 7-speed DCT
EPA Ratings: 23 city/31 highway/26 combined. Observed: 23 mpg.

Read on for John McElroy‘s final impressions of this vehicle

Notable Features:

  • Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMGStop-start system
  • $2,250 performance seats
  • $2,370 multimedia package
  • $1,950 AMG driver’s package
  • $2,300 Premium package (includes heated seats, garage door opener)

Final Impression:

On paper this is an impressive car. On paper, that is. With 355 horsepower on tap from its 2-liter turbocharged engine, this car definitely has plenty of power. And it has the proper kind of design cues to convey that this a true AMG, including sport alloy wheels, bright red calipers, and smart-looking slots, grilles and intakes positioned purposefully around the front and rear fascias. And don’t forget the red seatbelts. Yes, red!

But on another level, this car misses the mark. The exhaust note is kind of farty, not the kind of sound you’d expect from a highly tuned performance machine carrying a pedigree badge. The turbo lag is quite noticeable in everyday kinds of driving situations. Worse, the turbo lag, made more noticeable by the DCT (which lacks a torque converter for better launch acceleration) and by the stop-start system, means it can seem to take forever to get the car going. Not a comforting feeling.

Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG

Inside, the LCD display screen looks like it was added as an afterthought, stuck on top of the middle of the instrument panel. At a time when other luxury makers have their display screens reveal themselves in a dramatic way at startup, this is downright pedestrian.

I also found a blind spot when using the left hand rear view mirror. Even with the mirror turned outwards as far as it would go, to give me the widest viewing angle, I almost merged into a car alongside me on two separate occasions.  A blind spot detection system, or at least a concave bend on the outside edge of the mirror, would solve this.

I expected a lot more from a car with a price tag north of $60,000. If you’re dying to have an AMG Mercedes, this is the cheapest one you can buy. But there are better cars for the money.

One Comment to “Seat Time: 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG”

  1. Jon Says:

    Thanks for insights and you cracked me up with regards to the sound the vehicle made.

    I was originally intrigued by the dual clutch 355 hp sports sedan but now I’m a little less so.

    Thanks for your honest appraisal. I’m sure it’s a great vehicle.

    Specs seemed good