Sleek entry Benz big on Merc traditions
Some may argue that there’s no room for Mercedes-Benz’ CLA 4-door coupe alongside its quite similar new A-Class Sedan sibling. But this second generation is far sleeker, a little bigger and even more stylish, to allow it to stand alone and leave the sedan to handle the regular rivals in this neck of the woods.
One thing is for sure though – this stylish baby Mercedes packs incredible luxury punch as it straddles modern technology with old-school appeal in a most inviting cabin. It’s all about the cockpit in this car – dominated by a huge, resoundingly clear twin 10.25-inch screen digital display backed by the MBUX ‘Hey Mercedes’ personal assistant; turbine vents add a significant wedge of cool and the mood lighting sets the evening ambience too.
MBUX is a treat – simply utter, “Hey Mercedes” and it’s at your beck and call in a digital concierge that helps you control just about everything in the car without ever taking your hands off the wheel. From adjusting cabin climate to opening the sunroof, it is as useful as it is intuitive… once you’re into it.
The biggest drawback is that not much of that kit as standard, but then the list of cost-option features is seemingly as finite as a bottomless cup of coffee, which means you can spec this thing to your exact requirements. Another CLA advantage is that its boot is considerably bigger than the A Class hatchback, but then it does lose out both the hatch and the sedan when it comes to rear headroom.
One of CLA 220d’s major selling points is its more than healthy engine it delivers a staunch 140kW and 400Nm with excellent midrange that’s well suited to its 8-speed autobox. While it’s quiet and more than willing, the two-litre turbodiesel does get lazy and a bit rowdy as it approaches the redline.
But its quick enough, mind you – 6.9 seconds to 100 is approaching GTI country, while it’s exceptionally frugal 4/4 l/100km claimed combined consumption is quite reflective and keeps us scratching our heads to why diesel is such a no-no these days?
Handling isn’t quite what Bottas may expect, but steering is well-weighted, the front-end is sharp and body control reassuring, while braking is solid, too. Ride quality is compliant, if a touch harsh on rougher surfaces and Sport mode is best left alone unless you really want to send it.
The Mercedes-Benz CLA 220d AMG Line is however far more about style, tradition and elegance, that out of character luxury cabin and its supreme connected-tech experience for a car of this size. Never mind that you can now have that badge and all it stands for at a surprising entry point, something that many buyers will find most attractive.
Not least of all, CLA 220d is more than a fair compromise to trade down to in these most trying of times… - Michele Lupini
Images – Marcella Lupini
ROAD TESTED: Mercedes-Benz CLA220d AMG Line
Engine: 140kW 400Nm 2-litre turbodiesel I4
Drive: 8-speed Automatic FWD
0-60km/h: 3.35 sec
0-100km/h: 6.96 sec
0-160km/h: 17.19 sec
400m: 15.0 sec @ 150km/h
80-120km/h: 4.76 sec
120-160km/h: 7.53 sec
Fuel: 4.4 l/100km
CO2: 117 g/km
Warranty/Service: 5y 100K/2y unl. km
LIST PRICE: R719K