Driven: 2020 Mercedes-AMG CLA35
While the Mercedes-Benz A-Class sedan and hatch offer customers a somewhat conventional design offering the CLA leans more towards style and eye-catching attention. We were handed the keys to the latest CLA in 35 AMG guise to see what this little rocket was all about.
Much like the A35 AMG sedan on which this is based the CLA offers compact sedan like qualities but draped in a stylish and eye-catching design. The CLA is a sort of smaller sibling to the equally breathtakingly beautiful CLS. The CLA is a four-door compact coupe that, at least to our eyes looks much better than the German automaker's first attempt.
The new rendition features a sleek design with a somewhat aggressive front end. One can get hypnotized by the CLAs soul-piercing LED headlights which seem be focused on the road ahead. Other elements that we quite like, especially on the AMG model include the sporty rear bumper and the matte grey paint finish on our test car, it looks menacing.
Like the A35, the CLA35 features a futuristic interior with big screens, racing steering wheels, and sporty bucket seats. Where some might find issues at the rear and more specifically with regards to the head room due to the sloping roof-line. While not a big issue for anyone on our team, we felt it worth pointing out. As one can expect, the interior of the CLA35 blends modern Mercedes luxury with a sporty feel. We spent hours inside the cabin and not once did we get tired of it, bored or annoyed. Oh, wait, there is one thing. The odd push for USB type C ports. Can we just stick with conventional USBs for the next five years, please?
As for the driving aspect of the CLA35
It feels much like that offered by the A35 sedan. The car feels eager when in Sport+ mode and then somewhat neutral when in Comfort or Efficiency mode. We felt that Sport+ best suited the character of the car and spent most of our time exploiting the CLAs performance credentials. Powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder the CLA35 delivers an impressive 225kW and 400Nm of torque. It will hit 100km/h from a standstill in just under 5 seconds.
Like the A35, the CLA35 is playful and encourages you to make full use of its power. Things are however kept in check thanks to the brand's clever 4Matic all-wheel-drive system and a host of the latest safety features. The 7G-tronic gearbox is also worth a mention as it deals with shifts quickly. Every swap of the cog results in a loud crack from the large tailpipes, to warn off those who dare take you on.
The CLA35 is a very attractive car, both in terms of design and package. It is fast, fun, loud but can also be normal when needed. It can roll up to a five-star restaurant on Saturday night and hit the racetrack Sunday morning while tackling the day-to-day commute Monday to Friday, but, so can the A35 sedan.