Reviews

2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class Introduction

The stylish Mercedes-Benz CLA is the brand’s smallest sedan, capable of seating two comfortably. The CLA250 achieves good fuel economy while the CLA45AMG delivers very quick acceleration performance. All-wheel drive is available.

Introduced as a 2014 model, the 2016 CLA250 is largely unchanged, apart from a few feature, trim, and option revisions. A new Night Package option is available, and a Dynamic Select drive mode has been added for 2016. Just 750 examples of an Orange special-edition will be offered nationwide.

With its low nose and rear end, the CLA is a brash entry into the premium small-sedan category. Overall shape is similar to the larger CLS, which Mercedes-Benz dubs a four-door coupe rather than a sedan. Inside, too, the CLA resembles a scaled-down copy of a large Mercedes-Benz model.

The CLA250 comes with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, developing 208 horsepower and 254 foot-pounds of torque. A 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission sends that power to the front wheels. Paddle shifters behind the steering wheel paddles engage the manual-shifting provision. Acceleration to 60 mph takes just 6.7 seconds, according to Mercedes-Benz, a quick performance.

The CLA250 offers a choice of 4MATIC all-wheel drive or standard all-wheel drive.

Also available is the expensive, low-volume CLA45 AMG, with a similar 2.0-liter powertrain that’s been strengthened and uprated in every way to generates 350 horsepower and 350 foot-pounds of torque. That’s slightly more power than what the 2015 model offered, helped by higher turbo boost, yielding 0-60 mph acceleration in 4.1 seconds, which is very quick. All-wheel drive is standard on the CLA45 AMG, and its reprogrammed transmission responds far quicker, downshifting less often than previously.

Every CLA250 has a couple of safety features that aren’t typical in mainstream compact models. Collision Prevention Assist warns of obstacles ahead. Attention Assist monitors possible driver fatigue. Options include blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance, parking sensors, and parking assist. Crash-testing has not yet taken place.

Mercedes-Benz wisely decided touchscreens are too distracting, so there’s no touch interface. Smartphones may be connected via a 5.8-inch screen and Mercedes-Benz mBrace2. Three navigation systems are available. One of them includes voice commands, real-time traffic data, and a rearview camera.

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