Friday 24 May 2019

Mercedes CLA may be a 'baby', but it hums to a lot of power

Merc CLA
Merc CLA

Eddie Cunningham, Munich

AS no one has contradicted my guesstimate price of the new Mercedes compact CLA 4dr Coupe from Mercedes which gets to Ireland next month, I reckon it's safe to say it will start around €34,000.

The CLA slots between the A-Class (on whose platform it is built) and the C-Class saloon and, with its larger dimensions, is now viewed more as an Audi A4/BMW 3-series competitor.

As I've already outlined its non-driving details I won't repeat them. All that was left to report on, due to a specific embargo, was the driving impressions; the handling and ride.

I've just driven the 200 Coupe (1.3-litre 4cyl petrol, 163hp), the 180d (4cyl, 1.5, 116hp diesel) and the 2-litre 4cyl 250 4MATIC.

While driving characteristics varied somewhat between the three there was sufficient evidence, especially with the small petrol, to believe they've got a right good chassis underpinning this stylish new frame.

Yes, I agree, they'll need it if they are going to pitch it against the lower-end models of the 3-series.

But there is no doubting how well the smaller-engined models handled over a variety of roads out here.

The steering was firmly precise and there was plenty of feedback from the car when cornering or accelerating.

It is far more of a driver's motor now.

The multi-link rear axle did as it was expected: cut noise, vibration and body roll.

By the way, the active adaptive damping system is optional.

A real surprise was how sweetly the smaller petrol engine performed. It may be a 'baby', but it hums to a lot of power. I can see it being something of a favourite.

Irish Independent

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